McMINNVILLE, Ore. - The Ian Lefebvre era began in dramatic fashion, as the Linfield Wildcats upset 10th-ranked UC-Santa Cruz 2-0 on the game-clinching goal by Jacob Burger (Soph., Kirkland, Wash.) in the 61st minute at the Linfield soccer field Friday night.
Michael Camacho (Fr., Vancouver, Wash.) assisted Burger on the game's deciding goal. Camacho fed Burger in the box, and with one quick move to his right, Burger beat Banana Slugs' goalkeeper Jared Wheeler with a shot to the low right corner of the net.
Linfield later added some cushion in the 87th minute following a free kick from 25 yards out by Andy Sharp (Sr., Beaverton, Ore.) made the score 2-0 and ultimately the final score.
After Burger's goal UC-Santa Cruz countered with multiple shots on goal in the following minutes but was unable to work its way past Wildcats goalkeeper Mike Belzberg (Jr., Medford, Ore.). Belzberg turned away 13 shots on the night in his first full game of his Linfield career.
Belzberg's closest call came in the 86th minute when Banana Slugs midfielder Davin Kono's ball chipped over the post on a breakaway opportunity.
UC-Santa Cruz led Linfield on shots on goal on the night 13-6, but had nothing to show for it.
During a physical first half, Linfield had little opportunity to draw first blood. Bryan Alfred (Soph., Tualatin, Ore.)'s shot attempt from 15 yards out, in the 26th minute, was turned away on a diving safe by Wheeler.
Though the Banana Slugs had multiple balls cross through the box, rarely did they get a quality scoring opportunity in the first half. Belzberg had the space to turn away offensive attacks on multiple occasions.
Lefebvre was pleased with the way the Wildcats competed in their home opener, "it was a great start for the season, and it was a great one to get under our belt," he said."We were very organized as a defensive unit, and finished when we needed to. It was an awesome job by the guys doing everything we asked of them."
NEXT: Linfield (1-0-0 overall) returns home Sunday to take on Cal State- East Bay. Cal State East Bay took on Willamette today. UC-Santa Cruz (0-1-0) heads to Willamette Sunday, followed by a Tuesday contest against Pacific Lutheran, on Linfield's home field.