WALLA WALLA — Whitman College outshot Linfield 16-5 Sunday afternoon but found the back of the net just once, allowing Linfield to escape with a 2-1 men’s Northwest Conference soccer victory.
The tough-luck defeat came on the heels of Saturday’s scoreless double-overtime affair against Willamette and left the Missionaries at 0-1-1 in conference play and 2-4-2 overall.
“We’re a little bit punch drunk right now,” Whitman coach Mike Washington said. “We’ve worked so hard.
“We need to learn to take advantage of the other team’s mistakes and punish them. We completely outplayed them but we didn’t take advantage of the chances we created.”
Whitman’s lone goal came at 51:40 of the second half when senior Leland Matthaeus scored unassisted to tie the score at 1-1. The tie lasted until 71:43 when Linfield’s Domenico Del Prete scored unassisted for what proved to be the winning goal.
Linfield’s Cody Escott scored the game’s first goal late in the first half, also unassisted.
Wildcats goalkeeper Scott Goodman was credited with four saves while Whitman’s Michael Bathurst, a senior from Portland, Ore., turned back four Linfield shots on goal.
“I am happy with our performance overall,” Washington said. “I don’t think that we have been outplayed in any game this season. It would have been nice to have a couple of wins this weekend, but we’re still in the race.”
Washington was upbeat after Saturday’s match.
“It’s one point (in the standings) rather than three,” Washington said of the tie. “But it’s not a loss (zero points), also. So from that perspective, it’s OK.”
The teams battled through 90 regulation minutes and two 10-minute overtime sessions before it was called a draw. Whitman goalkeeper Bathurst was only required to make one save as he notched his second shutout of the season and the 11th of his Missionary career.
Bearcats goalkeeper Brayden Calder turned back four Whitman shots on goal as the Missionaries outshot Willamette 12-7.
Washington called Saturday’s match “hard work” and saw plenty of room for improvement for his team.
“We probably didn’t have as good a rhythm as we have had in the past,” the coach said. “We didn’t generate much offense.
“Willamette played central and forced us to play central,” Washington added. “We needed to play wider, and I think we improved on that as the game went on. But it was a lot of hard work because they made it difficult. They are well organized and forced you into turnovers, and their pressure was very good.”
Whitman is back on the road this weekend with conference matches at Pacific University Saturday in Forest Grove, Ore., and at George Fox Sunday in Newberg, Ore.
“Hopefully a change of venue will be good for us,” Washington said. “You do a lot more bonding on the road instead of at home when everybody goes their own way.”