Heartbreak for Women’s soccer in preseason openers

Sara Levering, Staff Writer

The Linfield Wildcats home opener was spoiled in a heartbreaking fashion on Saturday afternoon.

Linfield suffered the loss 0-1.

Northwest dominated possession throughout the entirety of the game, but Linfield had some great opportunities.

The first came when Sami Moellmer, ‘19, was pulled down in the box, setting up a penalty kick by Shelby DeRocher, ‘18, unfortunately sending the ball right into the Northwest goalkeepers arms.

Next, in the second period, Dani Nurmi, ‘17, had a great look, but her shot went a bit too far left of the goal.

Eighty-six minutes into the game, a Northwest player sent the ball through the two posts and right into the net.

Linfield was out-shot 18-8 by Northwest, as well as on corner kicks, Northwest had seven and Linfield with only two. Goalkeeper Sarah Bailey, ‘19, had nine saves on the day.

Bailey believed that these games helped familiarize the team with each other and suggested that everyone is still getting used to each other. With such a young group and a group of newcomers onto the roster, it is an adjustment that takes time.

Moellmer commented, “I think the game had ups and downs and it definitely wasn’t our best.”

Both Bailey and Moellmer agreed on the fact that their offense needs to improve. Specifically, “We get really good chances on goal, but we can never seem to finish them,” said Bailey.

Moellmer echoed, “I think something huge that the team needs to work on right now is our offense, scoring on the chances that we get.”

On a cloudy Sunday evening, the Wildcats were hoping to bounce back against Corban University of Salem, Oregon.

The match once again ended in a heartbreaker, off a double-overtime golden goal ending the game 2-1 in Corban’s favor.

Corban took an early 1-0 lead in the middle of the first half and dominated possession for most of the game out shooting Linfield 25-14. They also earned nine corner kick opportunities in total, in comparison to Linfield’s three.

Linfield gained some momentum when Mary Cait Moriarty, ‘20, sent a high ball to Dani Nurmi, ‘17.

Nurmi connected from 15 yards and sent the ball directly through the center of the net, evening up the score 1-1 with 16 minutes remaining in the first half.

Bailey made some key saves to keep the Wildcats in the game.

The ‘Cats earned a free kick in the second half after Karlee Willcox, ‘17, went down just outside the box. The attempt came from Amidee Colleknon, ‘20, but unfortunately soared above the goal.

In overtime, Corban was relentless and earned themselves five corner kicks, three in an immediate row, but failed to convert.

In the second overtime, a cluster of players convened at the Linfield goal, where a forty-second pinball round ensued, resulting in a near-goal.

Fortunately for Linfield, the ball was ruled not to have crossed the goal line, which would have ended the game.

The Wildcats final opportunity was on a free kick from 20 yards in the 104th minute. Morarity nearly bent the ball inside the left post, but it went wide.

Shelby DeRocher, ‘18, commented on the pinball round, “the ball was bouncing everywhere and Sarah [Bailey] was just trying to punch it out.”

DeRocher said, “there was a lot of good effort, coming back from a loss and wanting a win, we did a great job on not dragging on the fact that we lost [the day prior]. We played a brand new formation, which makes us adaptable to a brand new formation.”

When asked about how the team is coming together, “None of us have played together very long, it’s fun and exciting, these girls are ready to work. It’s difficult, because we’ve only played together for a week and a half,” said DeRocher .

DeRocher implied that the players are still learning about each other. With preseason play, it allows them to “get the kinks out,” and “we’re still trying to figure out where everyone is supposed to play.”

The Linfield Wildcats are 0-4.

Next up, the Wildcats jump into conference play, first against Willamette on September 17th and Lewis & Clark on the 18th, both at noon in McMinnville.