By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SALEM, Ore. -- Kyle Cacoyannis of Whitworth University scored the game-winning goal with 8:17 left in regulation, as the Pirates edge out a 2-1 victory over Willamette University in a Northwest Conference men's soccer game at Sparks Field on Sunday, Oct. 15. Whitworth upped its record to 7-6-1 on the season, 5-3-1 in the Northwest Conference. Willamette fell to 7-4-2 with the team's first loss in 10 games. The Bearcats dropped to 6-1-2 in the NWC, but remained in first place with 20 points.
Each team scored once in the first 45 minutes to set up for an exciting second half.
Eric Espinoza of Whitworth provide the Pirates with the game's first goal at 25:36 on a redirection from one yard out after a cross from the right side by Moi Diaz. It was the third goal of the season for Espoinoza.
Willamette tied the score at 41:58 on an 8-yard header by Patrick Charlton (So., D, Port Towsend, WA/Port Towsend HS) after a pass by Quinn Mello-Bastida (Sr., M, San Jose, CA/Valley Christian HS/U. of Portland) from 38 yards near the right touchline. At the time of the cross, it appeared Mello-Bastida was passing away from his teammates, but Charlton and another Bearcat raced into the penalty area as the ball descended. Charlton timed his run perfectly to power the ball into the right side of the goal.
At halftime, Willamette held a 9-6 edge in total shots and Whitworth owned a 5-4 advantage in shots on goal.
Whitworth took seven shots and Willamette had six shots in the second half, but the Pirates gained a 5-2 led in shots on goal. For the game, Willamette outshot the Pirates, 15-13, while Whitworth claimed a 10-6 margin in shots on goal.
Cacoyannis broke the 1-1 deadlock with his goal on a shot at 81:43. Willamette goalkeeper Marco Gonzalez-Yanez (Jr., GK, Portland, OR/Central Catholic HS/U. of Portland) stopped the first attempt of the sequence on a shot by Diaz. The ball went to Jonah Snyder. Cacoyannis received a short pass from Snyder and then took an accurate shot from eight yards out. Snyder received an assist on the play.
Willamette created two shots in the final five minutes. A blast by Sodai Takayanagi (So., D, Morioshaki, Japan/Moriokakita) from the right side was blocked by a defender. Max Berner-Hays (Fr., D, Seattle, WA/Ballard HS) placed a header on target in the middle of the box at 85:31, but Whitworth's goalie, Jesus Nunez, registered a save.
The Pirates earned seven corner kicks, compared to five corners for the Bearcats. Fouls called during the game were nearly even, as Willamette finished witih 13 and Whitworth ended the game with 12. Three of four yellow cards issued during the game were against Whitworth, on Tyler Cardinale early in the first half, and on Kyle Morris and Snyder in the second half. Berner-Hays of Willamette received the first yellow card of the game at 4:28.
Espinoza led Whitworth with four total shots -- all on goal. Charlton, Berner-Hays, Takayanagi, Mason Kelliher (So., F, Wellington, N.Z./Wellington College) and Carter McCleary (Fr., M, Port Hadlock, WA/Chimacum HS) each took two total shots and one shot on goal for Willamette.
The Bearcats will return to action on Saturday, Oct. 21 with a game at George Fox University. Kickoff in Newberg, Oregon, is scheduled for 12 p.m. (PDT).