Kaitlyn Harper's late goal helps lift Pacific to a 2-1 upset victory over Northwest Conference rival Linfield

On a day always filled with emotions, the Pacific women’s soccer team did not let Senior Day deter from the task at hand.

In a late-season Northwest Conference match on Oct. 28, the Boxers turned back rival Linfield in a 2-1 stunner. The win sent Pacific’s seniors out with a victory in their final game on home turf and was a significant upset against the Wildcats, who had been nationally ranked in the NCAA Division III Top 25 earlier in the season.

Pacific won the match despite incurring a 20-4 deficit in shots. Befitting of Senior Day, two of the squad’s four seniors recorded the goals. Sarah Tuffey opened the scoring in the 24th minute. After making a long run with the ball down the left side of the field, the midfielder sent a 15-yard shot past Linfield keeper Taylor Collinsworth and into the lower right portion of the net.

For much of the rest of the contest, it looked as if that goal — which came on Pacific’s first of the shot of the game — might hold up, despite the barrage of attempts by the Wildcats. However, the visiting team got the chance it needed to equalize with a foul call in the penalty box in the 75th minute. Emily Fellows, the eventual NWC Offensive Player of the Year, put away the ensuing penalty kick to tie the game with just 15 minutes remaining, keeping alive the Wildcats’ hopes of earning at least a point in their quest for a first-ever league crown.

But Kaitlyn Harper dashed those hopes in the 84th minute, when her free kick from 35 yards out found its way into the Linfield goal. With a scoreless final six minutes to close out the game, the Boxers recorded their first win against Linfield since the 2008 season. In goal, Brittany Hartmann notched seven saves.

“No win thus far in our tenure here has been sweeter than this one,” Pacific associate head coach Dane Joseph said at the time. “Linfield is the top team in the conference and very well organized. But so are we and we emphasized taking the game to them today with confidence and without fear. That’s what we did, and we did it very well.”

The victory helped the Boxers post an 8-8-2 overall record and proved pivotal in forcing Linfield (16-2-2) to settle for second place behind Puget Sound, which won its 11th consecutive NWC title the following weekend.

At season’s end, Harper, Tuffey and Hartmann all were selected to the All-NWC second team.

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