Lutes Score with 7:05 Left to Defeat Bearcats, 1-0, in NWC Battle

Ethan Tait (Sr., F, Turlock, CA/Turlock HS)
Ethan Tait (Sr., F, Turlock, CA/Turlock HS)

By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications

PARKLAND, Wash. -- Tyler Bennett of Pacific Lutheran University scored a goal at 82:55 and the Lutes went on to defeat Willamette University, 1-0, on Saturday, Oct. 15 at East Field. The Northwest Conference win improved the Lutes to 7-5-2 overall, 4-3-1 (13 points) in the NWC. Willamette slipped to 7-4-0 overall, 5-3-0 (15 points) in the NWC.

Goalkeepers Josh Fuentes (Sr., GK, Salem, OR/South Salem HS) of Willamette and Jack Rose of PLU each recorded four saves. Rose earned the shutout win.

Willamette remained in second place in the tight NWC standings. Whitworth University is still in first place with a 6-1-1 record (19 points). Following Willamette are University of Puget Sound and Pacific University, both at 4-2-2 (14 points).

Pacific Lutheran is in fifth place, while Whitman College is sixth at 3-2-3 (12 points). Only George Fox University (1-7, 3 points) and Linfield College (0-7-1, 1 point) are more than two wins (six points) out of first place.

On Saturday, Willamette and Pacific Lutheran played a scoreless first half, although the Bearcats outshot the Lutes 6-1, including 3-1 in shots on goal.

Rose made three saves, as he stopped a shot by Alan Hernandez (Jr., M, Tigard, OR/Tigard HS) just 1:55 into the game, before preventing goals on shots by Quinn Mello-Bastida (Jr., M, San Jose, CA/Valley Christian HS/U. of Portland) at 13:02 and by Ethan Tait (Sr., F, Turlock, CA/Turlock HS) at 15:39.

Fuentes registered one save in the first half, as he rejected a header by Isak Visser just under 10 minutes into the game.

In the second half, Fuentes provided WU with three saves, while Rose was credited with one save.

The scoreless tie continued until 7:05 remained on the clock, when Bennett shot the ball into the net after receiving a cross from Eddie Na. It was Na's seventh assist of the season and his 25th point of the year. He ranks first in the NWC in assists, and is second in points and goals scored (9).

While battling to find an equalizing goal, the Bearcats recorded two corner kicks in the final three minutes, including the game's final corner as time expired. The Bearcats were unable to get a shot from either corner kick, as the Lutes hung on for the win.

Bennett Bugbee of PLU led all players with four total shots, including three shots on goal. Tait of Willamette finished with three shots overall and two shots on goal. The Bearcats gained a 6-3 edge in corner kicks during the game.

Willamette will play again on Sunday, Oct. 16, when they will take on Puget Sound. Game time in Tacoma, Washington, is set for 2:30 p.m. (PDT).