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Bruins’ Home Finale Ends in Draw with WildcatsSalem-News.com Sports
George Fox 2, Linfield 2
(NEWBERG, Oregon) - Northwest Conference scoring leader Emily Fellows of Linfield College tied the game with a goal 30 seconds from the end of regulation, then the Wildcats and the George Fox University Bruins battled through two overtimes to a 2-2 women’s soccer draw Friday afternoon here at the Austin Sports Complex.
Until Fellows struck late, all of the scoring in the game came early. George Fox got on the board a mere 34 seconds into the contest when Sarah Brase crossed from left of the penalty box to the middle, and after a brief scrum, Shannon Olson locked onto the ball and sent it straight in from eight yards out for her second goal of the season.
Nine minutes later, Linfield tied the game as Sara Blake put a corner kick to the far side of the box, and Rennika Doty put it back into the upper right corner for her second goal of the year. The Bruins regained the lead 2-1when Olson sent a through ball down the middle to Melanie Gaither, who dribbled left, then angled the ball back toward the right corner. Linfield keeper Kelsey Hasselblad got a hand on the shot, but not enough to keep it out of the net as Gaither collected her team-leading fifth goal of the season.
After out-shooting the Bruins 8-3 in the first half, the Wildcats peppered the net to a 14-1 advantage in the second half, but the Bruins maintained their tenuous lead with a tightly-packed defense. The Bruins’ one shot in the half came in the 80th minute by Nicole Akiu from the left side of the box that hit the far post and bounced out instead of in, depriving the Bruins of a two-goal lead that would prove costly.
With Linfield constantly on the attack in the last few minutes, the Wildcats dodged a major upset and kept their slim hopes for a conference title momentarily alive when Fellows, who is third in the nation in goals, finally broke through. Julia Vaughan threaded a ball through the Bruin defense from outside the right corner of the box to the middle for Fellows, who turned and sent her 26th goal of the season inside the near post from 10 yards away to force overtime.
The Wildcats controlled both overtimes, out-shooting the Bruins 4-1 in the first and 6-1 in the second. Linfield had a golden opportunity in the final 10 seconds of the first extra period when Fellows took a free kick from 25 yards out that was stopped by George Fox keeper Alyssa Montero, Rachel Miles shot the rebound from point-blank range that was deflected again by Montero, and Stephanie Socotch sent a third try off the left post and out of bounds as time expired. Fellows also had a shot deflect off the crossbar six-and-a-half minutes into the second overtime.
The game ended with a 32-6 advantage for Linfield in the shots department, a 19-2 margin in shots on goal, and 9-1 corner kick discrepancy. Hasselblad had no saves to make, while Montero finished with a career-high 16 (along with one team save).
NEXT: George Fox (5-10-4, NWC 4-9-2) closes the season at Pacific Lutheran University Saturday at 12:00 noon ... It will be the final game for the Bruins’ three seniors - Akiu, Kirsten Cardwell, and Melissa Leighty - who were recognized for their fine four-year George Fox careers in ceremonies on the field before their final home game ... Linfield (13-5-1, NWC 11-3-1) hosts the University of Puget Sound Saturday at 12:00 noon ... UPS wrapped up its ninth consecutive NWC title anyway with a 2-0 win at Pacific University Friday.
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