Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
WHITTIER, Calif. – The Whittier College Men's Soccer team fell unlucky Saturday night as a PK and an own goal would prove costly in a 2-1 loss to Division III West Region opponent Linfield.
Whittier wraps up their non-conference schedule and now drops to 1-1.
The first 25:00 minutes were scoreless as the Purple & Gold took three shots with two of them being on frame from Devin De Leon-Dowd (Santa Fe, NM), Luis Espitia (Paramount, Calif.), and Matt Slee (Bothell, WA). But in the 25th minute the Poets saw their first unlucky break occur as a hard foul in the box by Devin O'Donnell (Anthem, AZ) would hand the Wildcats an early penalty kick. Chase Whittaker would then step up and go bottom left corner giving Linfield an early 1-0 lead.
The Poets forced the issue soon after with Matteo Loi (Kirkland, WA) taking a shot that missed wide followed by a header opportunity off a corner from Scott Clark (Foothill Ranch, Calif.), which was also just off the mark. O'Donnell had a look in the 41st minute but he would be denied by Wildcat goalkeeper Nick Van Kleek. Three minutes later WC fell unlucky once again this time as a Linfield deep throw in into the box would get deflected by a Poet defender and into the back of the net. This would give the Wildcats a 2-0 lead at the break.
Whittier came out fired up in the second half and forced the issue outshooting Linfield 14-3, while totaling another three corner kicks. Freshman Nicolas Barrera (Buffalo, Calif.) got things started early with back to back strikes. The first he carried a pass from RayRay Roberson (Albuquerque, NM) into the box, made a nice move around one defender and had a great look on goal but sent it right at Van Kleek. He then returned a minute later and received a deflection in the box but again the shot would end up in the hands of Van Kleek.
In the 49th minute the Poets were able to connect and cut the deficit in half. A free kick by Clark would send a nice ball far post to freshman Hayden Barnouw (Seattle, WA) who headed it in front of the goal to Parker McDonald (Corona, Calif.) who finished it.
But the Poets weren't done there and continued to pressure looking for the equalizer. Slee kept the offense going taking a long-range shot looking to get it over Van Kleek but it wouldn't be high enough. Freshman Nick Halpin then got into the mix getting a good look on goal from just inside the box as he tried to go top shelf but was denied by Van Kleek.
Whittier kept it in the offensive half late trying to deadlock the game. Roberson had a nice carry to the end line in the 69th minute and put a cross in past a diving Van Kleek. But on the other end a Linfield defender was able to deflect it high over the crossbar giving WC a corner kick. Nathaniel Santana (Santa Fe Springs, Calif.) took the ensuing corner and found the head of Clark far post but his shot would get blocked and as the ball was bouncing around in the box, Halpin was able to get a foot on it as well but his shot too would get blocked ending the threat.
The Poets final look came in the 78th minute from Barnouw. He sent a pass out wide and then traveled into the box where he received a cross. He was able to get a foot on it but it ended up in the hands of Van Kleek.
Whittier outshot Linfield 21-9 on the game and had four corner kicks. Slee and Barrera each recorded three shots apiece and De Leon-Dowd, Roberson, and Halpin would each add two.
Teddy Nickerson (Seattle, WA) played all 90:00 minutes between the posts and recorded four saves.
Whittier enters Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) competition this Wednesday, September 5 as they travel to take on Chapman University beginning at 4:00pm.