Whitman men settle for two-OT tie after Saturday victory

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SALEM, Ore. — One day after its most satisfying victory of the season, the Whitman College men’s soccer team settled for a 1-1 double-overtime tie here Sunday in a Northwest Conference match against Willamette.

After a scoreless first half, the Missionaries drew first blood at 71:07 when Andrew Clark took a pass from Jed Jacobson, redirected the ball in front of the Willamette goal and pumped in the score.

The lead lasted 17 minutes before the Bearcats’ Jess Thompson headed the ball near the left post on a corner kick and tied the game at 1-1. Austin Jacobson was credited with an assist.

And that’s where it remained through the remaining two minutes of regulation play and two 10-minute overtime sessions.

The tie kept Willamette a half a game ahead of Whitman in the battle for fourth place in the conference standings. The Bearcats are 6-5-2 (9-7-2 overall) going into the final weekend of the season and Whitman is 5-5-3 (7-8-4). Willamette entertains Linfield Saturday while the Missionaries close out the season at home against first-place Whitworth.

Whitman won one for the record books Saturday at Linfield by scoring three times over the final 15 minutes to overtake the Wildcats 4-3. Whitman hadn’t scored more than three goals in any of its previous 15 games.

“It was very exciting, and a very nice day,” said Whitman coach Mike Washington.

, who clearly wasn’t referring to the inclement weather conditions.

“It was a nice comeback to a game that we were ahead in much of the way,” the coach said. “It was a game that we controlled a little bit early on. But it was always going to be a high-scoring game because of the weather.”

Poor footing is always advantageous to the offense and detrimental to the defense, Washington explained. And Linfield’s pitch was a mess that just got worse as the game progressed.

“It’s a grass field and there was lots of rain,” Washington said. “There was standing water on several areas of the field. It became very hard for defenders to keep their feet when the offensive players changed directions.”

Still, Washington wasn’t sure enough time remained on the clock when Linfield’s Domenico Del Prete scored his second goal of the game at the 71:09 mark for a 3-1 Wildcats lead.

“The scary part for us was that we haven’t scored that many goals,” Washington said. “I was a little worried when we got down 3-1.”

The determined Missionaries quelled his fears.

Joe Virdon’s scored the first of back-to-back goals, assisted by senior Leland Matthaeus (Redmond, Wash.), at 73:16 and drew Whitman within 3-2. His second goal, with an assist from junior Reid Shaw (Seattle), was scored with 78:24 on the clock and knotted the game at 3-3.

Then, with time running out, Clark, a senior Andrew from Pasco, cleared the defense, directed the ball to Junpei Tsuji, who then penetrated the Wildcats box and booted the game-winner with 88:18 showing.

Linfield never threatened over the final 1:42.

“Three goals in 15 minutes,” Washington said. “That was great desire on the part of our guys to want to win the game. It shows the character of these kids, and I am pleased for them that they got their reward for buckling down. They never gave up, which is really good.”

Cooper Schumacher scored Whitman’s initial goal 16:39 into the game with an assist from Walla Walla sophomore Jose Beleche. The Missionaries maintained that 1-0 lead through the first half and nine minutes into the second half before Del Prete’s first goal drew Linfield even.

Danny Snelgrow, with an assist from Jake Baker, scored at 64:02 to put Linfield on top. And Del Prete’s second unassisted goal gave the Wildcats a more comfortable two-goal advantage at 71:09.

It wasn’t comfortable enough.

Whitman outshot Linfield 21-13 and held a 9-5 advantage in shots on goal. Linfield goalkeeper Grant Loriaux was credited with five saves while Whitman’s Michael Bathurst, a senior from Portland, Ore., stopped a pair on Linfield direct shots.

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