By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director
SALEM, Ore. -- Senior defender Jack Elton (Corte Madera, CA/Redwood HS) provided an assist on Willamette University's first goal midway through the second half, and later converted a penalty kick for an insurance score, as the Bearcats outlasted Pacific Lutheran University, 2-0, in a Northwest Conference game on Sunday, Oct. 2. Elton also played well on defense and was a key contributor throughout the afternoon.
The win elevated Willamette's record to 6-3 on the season, 4-2 in the NWC. Pacific Lutheran dropped to 5-5-2 overall, 2-3-1 in the NWC.
Both teams created chances in an evenly matched first half. Willamette held a slim 8-7 lead in total shots, while PLU earned a 5-4 advantage in shots on goal.
Josh Fuentes (Sr., GK, Salem, OR/South Salem HS) provided WU with a couple of important saves during the opening 45 minutes. He moved out from the goal line a bit and made a diving save to his left to stop an 18-yard shot by Eddie Na at 30:12. Later in the half at 43:20 he stopped another quality shot by Na.
Willamette created the first quality chance of the second half when Christopher Barnes (Sr., M, Los Altos, CA/Mountain View HS) shot from outside the box at 54:47 after a Willamette corner kick. Barnes' shot was going into the top left corner of the net until PLU goalkeeper Jack Rose caught the ball at the last moment.
The Bearcats moved in front at 68:24 after a free kick. Quinn Mello-Bastida (Jr., M, San Jose, CA/Valley Christian HS/U. of Portland) took the kick from 33 yards out. He sent the ball near the end line and to the left of the goal.
Elton headed the ball, which popped straight up. Elton headed it again, this time sending a pass to Noah Walin (Sr., M, Paia, HI/Seabury Hall), who was also just to the left of the goal. Walin shot from four yards out and placed the ball into the lower right corner of the goal. Elton and Mello-Bastida received assists.
A minute later, Fuentes narrowly beat Na to a through ball to prevent a shot and keep the Bearcats in front 1-0.
The lead increased to 2-0 when Elton converted a penalty kick at 77:27. The play was set up by a pushing foul called against the Lutes in the penalty area. Elton's penalty shot hit the right post and then the left post, before going into the net.
Isak Visser of PLU, who received a yellow card for dissent after the penalty kick was awarded, also picked up a second yellow card on a foul at 78:48. The resulting red card forced the Lutes to play with 10 men for the remainder of the game.
Willamette outshot the Lutes 14-11 overall and 9-8 in shots on goal. Elton led Willamette with three shots, including two shots on goal. Na of PLU topped all players with four shots -- all on goal.
Fuentes played the first 81:25 to record the goalkeeping win for the Bearcats. Quinn Nottage (Jr., GK, Portland, OR/Franklin HS) played well over the final 8:35 and registered several good defensive plays, but did not have to make a save. Rose finished with seven saves in 90 minutes for the Lutes.
Brendan McGonigle (Fr., D, Seattle, WA/O'Dea HS) of Willamette kept two shots on goal by PLU out of the net -- one at 30:55 in the first half and one at 60:30 in the second half.
PLU earned a 7-4 margin in corner kicks for the game, with WU holding a 4-1 edge during the second half.
The Bearcats' next game is on Saturday, Oct. 8 at Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.
Willamette is in second place in the NWC standings with 12 points. Whitworth University leads the conference with a 4-1-1 record and 13 points. A total of five teams have at least five points in NWC action this season.