WALLA WALLA, WA— The Whitman Missionaries are turning heads in the Northwest Conference with a 3-0-2 start and a second place spot after five matches played. On Sunday in Oregon the Missionaries edged Linfield 2-1 in overtime to raise their overall record to 5-2-2.
Jeff Halstead was at Sunday’s match and shares a gallery here.
In a pre-season poll of coaches Whitman was voted to finish 7th in the 9-team conference.
On Saturday October 4 the Missionaries host Puget Sound at 12 PM in Walla Walla. The Loggers are 4-0-0 in NWC play and lead Whitman 12 points to 11.
McMINNVILLE, Ore. – (school match report) Brianna Brown’s overtime winner off a free kick lifted Whitman College to a 2-1 Northwest Conference women’s soccer victory over host Linfield College Sunday afternoon. Brown wrapped a shot from about 20 yards out around the Wildcats’ defensive wall and inside the left post in the fifth minute of the extra-time period.
The victory keeps the Missionaries unbeaten in league play with a 3-0-2 mark while pushing their overall record to 5-2-2, nearly half way to the team’s win total (11) from the 2013 season. Linfield drops to 6-2 overall and 3-2 in the conference.
The opening 45 minutes had a distinct Whitman advantage as the visitors didn’t allow a Linfield shot for nearly 32 minutes while breaking out in front on an Alissa Soo goal in the 26th.
A drive by Linnea Soo along the end line from the left corner evolved into a cross to the back post where Naomi Lee was able to corral the ball and return a soft pass back across the goal mouth. Alissa Soo easily headed a shot into the left side of the goal behind Wildcat goalkeeper McKena King who had no choice but to follow the cross to Lee, leaving her out of position to defend the Soo header.
Whitman carried its 1-0 advantage into the halftime break along with a 4-2 lead in shots and 4-1 edge in corner kick opportunities.
Linfield altered the script, though, in the second half, gaining the equalizer off a header by Dani Nurmi in the 70th, then forcing Whitman goalie Haley Case to come up with a stop in the 74th. Each team registered two more shots apiece in regulation following Case’s save, but none of the four made it on frame requiring action from King or Case.
Brown’s opportunity came about after a streaking Alissa Soo was pulled down from behind on a breakaway that would surely have tested Linfield’s King. Brown and Alissa Soo lined up behind the ball about five yards apart but it was Brown that stepped forward, curling her shot around the four-player wall and into the back of the netting for the game-winner.
Both Case and King finished the day with one save each. After nearly 95 minutes of action the shot totals evened up to only a slim 8-6 edge for the Missionaries.
Whitman returns home for it’s next pair of games on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 4 and 5. The University of Puget Sound visits Saturday riding a six-game win streak, with Pacific Lutheran University, on a three-game winning streak, comes to the Whitman Athletic Fields Sunday. Both matches are slated for noon starts.