By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SALEM, Ore. -- Willamette University remained undefeated in Northwest Conference action with a 2-0 victory over George Fox University on Sunday, Sept. 24 at Sparks Field. The Bearcats scored both goals in the first half on shots by Max Berner-Hays (Fr., D, Seattle, WA/Ballard HS) and Liam Main (Sr., F, San Francisco, CA/Marin Academy). WU has won five consecutive games, upping the team's record to 5-3 on the season, 4-0 in the NWC. The Bearcats hold first place in the NWC standings, with University of Puget Sound in second place at 3-1.
Berner-Hays opened the scoring at 7:09 when he put the ball into the net on a 2-yard header following several touches by players in the box. Nicholas Ballenger (So., F, Salem, OR/West Salem HS) and PJ Gibson (Jr., D, Carmel, IN/Carmel HS) assisted on the goal.
The Bearcats increased their advantage to 2-0 when Main scored just over 23 minutes later. Main shot from five yards out at 30:24 and found the upper right corner of the goal. He was assisted by Hijiri Iijima (So., M, Kodamacho, Japan/Honjyodaiichi) and Alan Hernandez (Sr., F, Tigard, OR/Tigard HS).
"Alan Hernandez and Liam Main led the lines today with a senior and veteran approach. Both were very good," Willamette Head Coach Lloyd Fobi said. "We did what we were supposed to do ... win our home games ... But what is more enjoyable is seeing a very young team staying hungry ... and playing one game at a time."
Willamette goalkeeper Marco Gonzalez-Yanez (Jr., GK, Portland, OR/Central Catholic HS/U. of Portland) made two saves in the first half. He stopped a shot by Moises Manon at 10:32, and later prevented Sean Owens from scoring on a header at 33:42.
George Fox went down a man when Kody Ulrich was ejected for his second yellow card offense of the first half at 41:57. The Bruins outshot Willamette 8-4 during the half with each team earning two shots on goal.
With a man-advantage, WU outshot GFU 6-3 over the final 45 minutes, including 5-1 in shots on goal. Mack van der Velde (Fr., M, Voorhut, Neth./Summit HS, Bend, OR) forced the first save of the second half at 49:44, as Andrew Phillis of George Fox registered his first save of the game. Phillis also earned a save at 53:46 on a shot by Ballenger. Phillis recorded five saves during the second half.
Quinn Nottage (Sr., GK, Portland, OR/Franklin HS) played the final 7:12 in goal for the Bearcats and shared the shutout with Gonzalez-Yanez. Nottage was credited with a save on the Bruins' only shot of the half, a header by Owens at 83:43. Willamette has earned four shutouts this season.
GFU ended the game with an 11-10 edge in shots. Willamette held a 7-3 margin in shots on goal. Each team produced eight corner kicks.
Ballenger topped all players with four total shots and had two shots on goal. For George Fox, Owens finished with three shots, including two shots on goal.
Willamette will take on Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington, on Saturday, Sept. 30. Game time is set for 2:30 p.m. (PDT). Whitworth is 3-5-1 overall, 1-2-1 in the Northwest Conference.