Disputed Early Goal and Man-Advantage Help Linfield Defeat Bearcats

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

McMINNVILLE, ORE. -- Linfield College scored a controversial goal in the opening seconds and played 50:25 with a man-advantage, as the Wildcats defeated Willamette University, 5-1, in a Northwest Conference game on Sunday, Oct. 11. Linfield improved to 4-7-1 overall, 3-4 in the NWC. Willamette fell to 3-9 overall, 2-5 in the conference.

The game's first goal was scored just 13 seconds into the match on a shot by Kurtis Wong, assisted by Nick Powers. Willamette argued for a handball on the play, but the goal counted and Linfield had a 1-0 lead.

Linfield increased the margin to 2-0 at 24:26. Nick Powers scored the goal after WU goalie Eben Hellekson (Jr., GK, Honolulu, HI/University Laboratory School) was able to partially punch out a cross from the right side. Victor Campos assisted on the play.

Willamette almost cut the lead in half during the 29th minute. Loftin Langsdorf (Fr., D/MF, Vancouver, WA/Columbia River HS) started the offensive attack by crossing the ball from the right side near the penalty area.

Luke Lagattuta (Sr., MF/D, Albuquerque, NM/Highland HS) was a few yards inside the left edge of the box and about 15 yards out when he headed Langsdorf's pass. Lagattuta's header found Erik Kaufman (So., F, Portland, OR/Grant HS) near the right post. Kaufman headed the ball down and on target, but Linfield goalie Cody Tipton recorded a save at the last moment by swatting the ball away with his hand.

At 39:35, Willamette defender Etienne Galbreath (Fr., Portland, OR/Grant HS) received a red card for dissent. The Bearcats competed with 10 players the rest of the game.

In the first half, Willamette created a 6-5 lead in shots, including a 5-4 edge in shots on goal. Despite playing a man short in the second half, the Bearcats won their share of loose balls and had significant possession in the offensive half of the field.

However, it was more difficult to achieve shots with 10 players. WU received several quality free kicks from long distance by Pete Kline (Jr., D, Cheyenne, WY/Cheyenne Central HS), but the Bearcats weren't able to get on the end of the passes to shoot on net. Lagattuta took three of WU's four corner kicks during the second half, including two well-placed line drives that sailed past the goalkeeper and went through the box.

Linfield added three goals in the second half. Colin Bebee scored at 51:47, Carter Elhabbassi tallied a goal at 66:17 and Gabi Del Rayo scored at 73:07. Two of Linfield's goals were scored on counter-attacks after the Bearcats moved the ball into the attacking third of the field.

Willamette cashed in on one of Kline's quality restarts at 82:45. Lagattuta completed the play with a header from nine yards into the left corner of the goal. Kline's pass came from about 45 yards out.

Linfield outshot Willamette 14-3 in the second half, including 11-1 in shots on goal. Hellekson, who played 70:07 for the Bearcats, registered five saves. Mark Bennett (Sr., GK, Salt Lake City, UT/West HS) earned one save in 16:52. WU defenders also blocked four shots.

Cody Tipton started in goal for Linfield and provided the Wildcats with four saves in 61:57 in the nets. Wes Overland played the final 24:58 in goal and did not record a save. The Wildcats finished with a 7-6 edge in corner kicks.

Langsdorf and Tim Ikehara-Martin (Fr., MF, Vancouver, WA/Heritage HS) of Willamette provided high-energy efforts in the midfield. Both helped Willamette gain control and retain possession, especially in the second half.

After playing 10 of their first 12 games on the road, the Bearcats will close the season with five of seven games at home. WU will play two of the games at Sparks Field next weekend, as they take on Pacific University on Saturday, Oct. 17 and face George Fox University on Sunday, Oct. 18. Both games are slated to begin at 2:30 p.m. (PDT).

Linfield College 5
Willamette University 1
Luke Lagattuta scored a goal and also took five of WU's six corner kicks.

Luke Lagattuta scored a goal and also took five of WU's six corner kicks.