FOREST GROVE, Ore. – Forget Saturday or Sunday afternoon heroics. Linfield saved arguably its most exciting match of the season thus far for a Wednesday night under the lights at Lincoln Park Stadium, where Ellie Schmidt (Jr., Dundee, Ore.) scored the game-winning goal with seven seconds remaining to lead the 20th-ranked Wildcats to a 3-2 victory over Pacific.
Running right up to the end of regulation in what was a back-and-forth battle all evening, the ‘Cats (12-1, 8-1 NWC) earned three corner kicks in 74 seconds. Schmidt cashed in on the third kick sent into the box from Emma Vukic (Soph., Bainbridge Island, Wash.), settling the ball off another player and punching it into the back of the net for the decisive lead.
With the victory, the Wildcats snapped a two-match winless streak at Pacific, their longest at any other conference opponent's home field. Emily Tuffey gave the Boxers (7-4-2, 4-4-1 NWC) an early lead with a first-half goal and Kara Lankey broke a 1-1 tie with a 77th-minute score, but Linfield's potent offense came through with both the tying and game-winning scores over the final 17 minutes of play.
For the match, the Wildcats had far more scoring opportunities than their counterparts, outshooting the Boxers 27-6 and winning the corner kick battle 10-3. Pacific's senior goalkeeper Kayla Davison worked hard between the pipes, making nine stops in all, but suffered her fourth loss of the year.
Tuffey put the Boxers up in the 39th minute after receiving a cross from Lankey near the edge of the box. The junior's first season goal gave the home team a 1-0 lead, and the defense denied Linfield any shot opportunities over the final minutes of the opening period to preserve the lead. It marked just the third time in 2013 the Wildcats headed into the halftime break behind or tied.
Linfield went on the attack to open the second half, but the Boxer defense held until the 57th minute. That's when Marisa Specht (Soph., Eugene, Ore.) emerged from a scrambled box with control of the ball, and pushed a shot past Davison for the match-tying score.
Getting back-to-back-to-back shots from Schmidt, Molly McCool (Fr., Bend, Ore.) and Schmidt once more, the ‘Cats nearly pulled ahead around the 66th minute. But where Linfield failed to capitalize on its shot opportunities, Pacific did not, gaining a 2-1 advantage on Lankey's 10th goal of the season in the 77th minute. The freshman Boxer took it herself on a breakaway and lifted a shot over Taylor Collinsworth (Jr., Bend, Ore.) from 15 yards out.
Emily Fellows (Jr., Portland, Ore.) knotted the score again, this time at 2-2, in the 84th minute on an unassisted drive around two Boxer defenders and a finish from 10 yards into the top left corner of the net.
Possession remained primarily on the Wildcat offensive end over the final 16:45 as Linfield totaled four corner kicks and two shots until the score from Schmidt. The game-winning goal was a career first for the Linfield junior, who ran her season point total to 18 with five goals and a team-leading eight assists.
In addition to scores from Tuffey and Lankey, the Boxers got offense from Deanna Quadrel, who provided two of Pacific's six shot attempts.
‘CAT SCRATCH: Linfield won at Lincoln Park Stadium for the first time since the 2010 season…the previous two matches at Pacific's home field resulted in a 2-1 loss (2012) and a 0-0 tie (2011) for the Wildcats…Schmidt's goal was her fifth of the season and the sixth of her career…Fellows raised her season total to 16 goals while Specht notched her fourth of the year…Collinsworth recorded her fourth win of 2013 in goal.
AHEAD: The Wildcats have two days to rest up before another road match at Willamette. Saturday's contest is scheduled for a noon start.
Delivers corner kick that results in game winner
Director of Sports Information
McMinnville, OR 97128