McMINNVILLE, Ore. – Two Linfield goals stood up down the stretch as the Wildcats opened the year with a 2-1 victory over Bellevue College on a warm late summer night at the Linfield soccer field.
Brian DeGrandmont (Fr., Portland, Ore.) notched his first career collegiate goal in the 35th minute and Domenico Del Prete (Soph., Tigard, Ore.) added what amounted to the game winner midway through the second period.
Defensively, Jorge Rodriguez (Fr., Beaverton, Ore.) and Grant Loriaux (Jr., West Linn, Ore.) split time in the box, with Rodriguez getting the win for Linfield (1-0).
Scoring opportunities were few but tantalizingly close in the opening period. Del Prete, the leading scorer (10 goals) in the Northwest Conference last season, looked to add another tally to his career total just eight minutes into the season, but his shot sailed just wide right.
About 12 minutes passed before Bryant Maxey responded with a great look at the goal for the Bulldogs, but he too failed to put the ball between the pipes.
After several more close calls, the ball finally found the net. With about 10 minutes remaining in the first half, Jake Baker (Jr., McMinnville, Ore.) set up DeGrandmont right in front of the box, allowing the freshman to score from essentially point-blank range.
At halftime, the Wildcats held the advantage in score (1-0), shots (4-1) and corners (2-1).
Both teams switched keepers to start the second period, and Linfield immediately challenged Bellevue’s Freddy Jeronimo. Del Prete drilled a high-trajectory shot toward the goal, but Jeronimo fully extended to knock the ball back over the crossbar.
Del Prete finally broke through in the 70th minute, receiving a pass from Baker on a breakaway and converting from the left side of the box.
Brandon Brooks pulled the Bulldogs to within one when he took a free kick for the Bulldogs in the 81st minute and pinged it off the right post.
The Linfield defense held, however, not allowing a single shot for the remainder of the match.
NEXT: The Wildcats return to the pitch Saturday night for a nonconference matchup against Howard Payne, starting at 8 p.m.
Notches fifth and sixth career assists
Director of Sports Information
McMinnville, OR 97128