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September 19, 2010

Mistakes Costly as PLU Men's Soccer Falls to Linfield

PARKLAND - A pair of defensive errors cost Pacific Lutheran two goals, and the Lutes hit the woodwork three times on the offensive end as the visiting Linfield Wildcats defeated the host Lutes, 3-2, in a Northwest Conference men's soccer match played Sunday on a sloppy PLU field.

With the win, the Wildcats (2-3-1 overall, 1-1-0 NWC) ended a six-match losing streak to Pacific Lutheran (2-4-1, 1-1-0). It was also the first win against PLU for Linfield head coach Ian Lefebvre.

Possession and shots were pretty evenly split in the opening 45 minutes, both teams taking six shots. PLU keeper Brian Kostol was called on to make saves on long-range blasts by Danny Snelgrow and Tyler Repic, while Linfield keeper John Thompson got his fingertips to a drive by Mark Lee, tipping the ball off the crossbar and out for a corner kick.

Linfield was the first team to break through, however, as Michel Camacho took a cross from Repic on the right side and slotted the ball under Kostol and into the far-side netting. The goal came at 29:45, and that scoreline held up into the early minutes of the second half.

That's when the Lutes made a pair of defensive mistakes that led to two Linfield goals. The first came when a ball passed into the box bounced past Kostol, where Carter Elhabbassi dove to head it home at 51:57. A little less than three minutes later, an otherwise harmless ball bounced between Kostol and center back Greg Noll. Harper Taylor saw the opportunity, racing past the two and easily tapping in the third Linfield goal.

After that, PLU started to assert itself. First, with about 33 minutes remaining, Chad Kearns scored what appeared to be a goal after pouncing on Thompson's bobble and scoring. The goal was disallowed, however, as the referee indicated that the ball was in Thompson's possession.

The Lutes finally got on the board at 70:16 when Daniele Zaccagnini slotted home a left-footed shot from eight yards out, with the assist going to Shane Gutierrez. Reserve goalie Joe Rayburn made a big save of Danny Snelgrow's short-range shot with seven minutes to go, and the Lutes converted their second goal less than 90 seconds later on the other end of the field.

About 30 seconds after Mark Lee's shot hit the left crossbar, Lucas McCallum made it 3-2 at 84:35, tapping home from in front on Lee's low cross from the right side.

The final five minutes produced a flurry of PLU offense, several excellent scoring chances, and no Lutes goals. First, McCallum's blast from the left was saved by reserve keeper Cody Tipton, and Lee's follow shot was cleared off the line by the Linfield defense. With just under two minutes remaining, Kearns beat Tipton with a header, only to see the ball bounce off the cross bar. Two more PLU shots were off target, and the Wildcats had the win.

PLU outshot the visitors, 20-9, but both teams had six shots on goal. Thompson had two saves, Tipton had another, and there was also the team save. Kostol finished with two saves and Rayburn had one for the Lutes. PLU had four corner kicks to three for Linfield.

PLU returns to Northwest Conference action next weekend, playing at Whitman on Saturday and at Whitworth on Sunday.

- PLU -