By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SALEM, Ore. -- Mack van der Velde (Fr., M, Voorhut, Neth./Summit HS, Bend, OR) scored the game's only goal at 53:10, as Willamette University slipped past Puget Sound, 1-0, at Sparks Field on Saturday, Sept. 16, in the Northwest Conference opener for both teams. Willamette upped its record to 2-3 on the season, 1-0 in the NWC, while the Loggers fell to 2-2 overall, 0-1 in the NWC. The Loggers entered the game ranked sixth in the West Region of NCAA Division III by the United Soccer Coaches (formerly NSCAA).
Puget Sound led in most of the statistical categories, as the Loggers took 14 shots, including seven shots on goal. The Bearcats created seven shots and placed two shots on goal.
The Willamette defense and goalkeeper Marco Gonzalez-Yanez (Jr., Portland, OR/Central Catholic HS/U. of Portland) responded in a big way for the Bearcats. Willamette limited Puget Sound to very few quality shots, while Gonzalez-Yanez earned seven saves on his way to recording the shutout. Willamette achieved a 3-2 advantage in corner kicks.
"It was a hard fought conference game. A great win versus a ranked West Region opponent is always good for our morale and belief in what we do," Willamette Head Coach Lloyd Fobi said. "We have lots of respect for our opponents from Tacoma and always know they bring the best out in us. As much as we enjoyed this win we have to turn our focus to tomorrow's game."
The first half featured four shots by each team. Two of Puget Sound's shots were on target, and Gonzalez-Yanez responded with two saves. Gonzalez-Yanez added another save just under three minutes into the second half on a shot by Vincent Luehrte. A bit later, Luehrte shot over the goal at 51:32.
Ballenger set up van der Velde's goal by drawing out PLU goalkeeper Robert Jorgensen before passing the ball. After receiving the pass, van der Velde scored on a shot from 18 yards into the upper middle of the net with Jorgensen about 10 yards from the goal line. Ballenger missed on a header for Willamette two minutes later.
The Loggers took eight shots and Willamette had one shot between Ballenger's header and the end of the game. Four of the shots by Puget Sound were on goal. The final two shots on target were from a kick by Ari Taublieb at 87:06 and a header by Ezra Kraus at 88:42. Gonzalez-Yanez earned saves on both shots. WU's only shot in the final 34 minutes was a header by Liam Main (Sr., F, San Francisco, CA/Marin Academy) at 66:20 that was saved by Jorgensen.
Willamette will host Pacific Lutheran University in another NWC match-up on Sunday, Sept. 17. Game time is set for 12 p.m. (PDT).