TACOMA, Wash. – A big first half proved to be more than enough to lead the Puget Sound men's soccer team to a 3-1 victory over Linfield on Sunday. The win moves the Loggers to a perfect 4-0-0 in Northwest Conference matches and keeps them as the only NWC team with a flawless record.
"In three of our games we've been completely shutout. It's weird that in the other six games we've been deadly and accurate at finishing," commented head coach Reece Olney. "We didn't change our methodology or principles of play. We stuck to what we want to do."
The Loggers owned much of the first half, possessing the ball well and generating many scoring opportunities. It didn't take long for the hosts to turn one of those opportunities into results when Vince McCluskey scored just 7:49 into the match. Luke Sandblom placed a free kick inside the six-yard box, and McCluskey flicked it into the netting for his second header goal in as many days.
The Loggers were nowhere near done after the early goal. For the sixth time this season, the Loggers scored at least three times and are now just seven goals shy of last year's total.
Sean Ryan struck in the 17th minute to put the Loggers up 2-0. Sam Zisette played Ryan toward the end line near the edge of the 18-yard box. Ryan struck a cross into the box, but his cross found the back post and banked into the goal. Sandblom finished off the scoring when he headed in Carson Swope's cross in the 23rd minute.
"We have a mature, veteran team that understands the game plan that we implement every day," added Olney. "I think they stick to it and believe in it, and I think it's really a credit to their executing the specific details of the game plan that's paid big dividends for us."
The Wildcats (3-4-1, 0-3-1 NWC) made more of a run at the Loggers in the second half, striking nine shots in the final 45 minutes. One of those shots found the net when Jake Baker found Rhys Lendio near the top of the 18 and Lendio finished to the lower right corner.
That would be all that would sneak past the Loggers as Daniel Kirsch made two late saves in his 13:06 of playing time to ensure the Loggers walked away with three points.
The Loggers will put their flawless record on the line against Whitman next Saturday when the Missionaries visit for a 2:30 p.m. match.