Women’s soccer down, but not out of running
Puget Sound’s women’s soccer team continued their bid for a 12th consecutive conference title Saturday, Sept. 21 against Linfield.
The Loggers went home empty-handed with a 1-0 loss away in McMinnville.
The women’s soccer team had only ever lost twice to the undefeated Wildcats prior to this meeting.
The Loggers opened this season with the worst five-game form in the past eight years (2-2-1) including the loss to Linfield on Saturday.
A 12th season atop the Northwest Conference (NWC) is still within the reach of the Loggers as they return nine of 11 starters from last year’s team that edged out Linfield to take home the eleventh title for the Loggers.
The team currently holds the record for the longest streak of conference titles in NCAA Division III women’s soccer.
Among this year’s returning players are seniors Kylie Beeson (Everett, Wash.), Hannah Hawkins (Everett, Wash.) and junior Robin Vieira (Seattle, Wash.). Beeson led the NWC in assists last year and Vieira returns to the forward position for the Loggers this season.
Linfield returns some impressive firepower as well with two time NWC Offensive Player of the Year and All-American Emily Fellows (Portland, Ore.) and Emma Vukic (Bainbridge Island, Wash.), who earned first team NWC honors in her freshman season with the Wildcats, when she had six goals and six assists.
The NWC coaches’ poll predicted that the Loggers will be dethroned this year and that Linfield will be the ones to do so.
The Wildcats collected five of the nine votes for the leader of the conference from the coaches while the Loggers picked up the other four, putting the two teams neck and neck, with the Wildcats at 66 points and the Loggers at 64 points.
The Loggers managed to edge out Linfield last year with a 13-2-1 record in the NWC to the Wildcats’ 12-2-2 record.
There was little action to be seen between the two teams, with a total of only 11 shots between them.
The net proved evasive to the Loggers’ attempts on Saturday with seven Logger attempts to Linfield’s four on the day. Shot count is not everything, however, as Linfield’s Molly McCool (Bend, Ore.) slotted home the decisive attempt in the 28th minute.
Casey Thayer (Boulder, Colo.), the keeper for the Loggers, made a singular save in-goal during the first half while her counterpart Lauren Thomas also had a single save in the second half of the game.
Their opposition was fierce as Kallina Haase (Portland, Ore.) denied all comers to earn the shutout for Linfield.
A bright light for the Loggers was Alex Teesedale (Sherwood, Ore.) who had two shots denied by the woodwork and by far came the closest to opening the scoring for the Loggers.
Despite the best efforts of the Loggers, they could not open their account in this game and walked away defeated by the Wildcats for only the third time in the past eight years.
The Loggers will look to rally and take this season by storm. Their bid for the 12th title will be a rough one if they are to fight past the resurgent Wildcats and claim the NWC again.
The Loggers will attempt to continue their title streak this Saturday at George Fox at noon.