Linfield Falls to Puget Sound


Makai Shriner clears the ball upfield

MCMINNVILLE, Ore. – Rain fell softly onto the field as the Linfield and Puget Sound men’s soccer teams kicked off last Saturday afternoon. The sounds of scattered jeers and cleats slashing through muddy grass could be heard all the way from Lever Street, outside of the field. 

The PSU Loggers maintained heavy pressure at Linfield’s goal in the early minutes of the first half, but Wildcat defenders were able to hold them off. About 20 minutes in, Linfield goalkeeper Julian Inches dove to make a save, eliciting a shockwave of energy to the rest of his fielders. 

With five minutes left in the first half, Puget Sound midfielder Sean Hamel lined up for a penalty kick. He sent the ball straight into Inches’ hands, who deflected it back into the goal box. PSU rookie forward Ryan Smith got ahold of it and shot it into the back of the net, non contested. 

Goalkeeper, Julian Inches, drives the ball forward

At the end of the first half Puget Sound had the one goal lead over the Wildcats. 

With rays of sun streaking through the storm clouds, Puget Sound and Linfield started off the second half.

Senior elementary education major Aengy Pedrazzini comes to nearly all Linfield soccer games, even on the days when the team has competing times with football. 

“I chose soccer over football because I grew up around it. My dad played, my older brother played, my younger brother plays… I enjoy the soccer culture more, too,” she said. 

Less than a minute into the second half, one of the referees didn’t call a penalty on a PSU player for taking Linfield forward Connor Heintz to the ground. The Wildcat crowd immediately criticized the call, and many people even stood up and shouted from their seats. It seemed to be that call, or lack thereof one, that provoked both crowds’ and team’s high energy level for the rest of the game.

Within just a few minutes, Logger forward Luke Murdock scored two goals against the Wildcats, raising the PSU lead three to zero.

After a change in possession and a few Linfield shots on goal, Wildcat sophomore Ronan Krutzikowsky passed to senior Malachi Stalberg, who scored Linfield’s first and only goal for the game with 13 minutes left in the second half. 

The Cats had the chance to run with Stalberg’s momentum near the end of regulation time, but they didn’t capitalize.  

PSU laid on offensive pressure, with a few more blocked shots by defenders, including one by Linfield defender Luke Marks. 

Six minutes after the Stalberg’s goal for the Cats, Loggers’ Cale Spence buried Linfield’s hope of redemption and scored the final goal of the game, giving PSU the four to one win. 

Puget Sound is ranked fourth in the conference with seven wins, three losses and four ties. Linfield trails at fifth placed with four wins, seven losses and three ties.The top three Northwest Conference Division III soccer teams are, in order, Pacific Lutheran, Whitman and Willamette. 

Linfield’s next opponent is the conference frontrunner. They will take the field against Pacific Lutheran in McMinnville next Sunday at noon. The first 25 students to show up and support the Cats will have a chance to snag a free Dutch Bros tee shirt, according to a source.