SALEM, Ore. -- Max Berner-Hays (Fr., D, Seattle, WA/Ballard HS) of Willamette University scored the game's only goal with 31 seconds left in the first 10-minute overtime period to give the Bearcats a 1-0 victory over Pacific University in Northwest Conference action on Sunday, Oct. 22 at Sparks Field. Berner-Hays, who scored both goals in Willamette's 2-0 win at George Fox University on Saturday, Oct. 21, now has five goals on the season. Quinn Nottage (Sr., GK, Portland, OR/Franklin HS) earned the shutout on Senior Day, while making four saves for the Bearcats.
Willamette improved to 9-4-2 on the season and maintained first place in the NWC standings at 8-1-2. Pacific ended the day at 8-6-1, including 5-5-1 in the NWC.
"The keys to success never change for us, and this young team has shown maturity beyond its years," Willamette Head Coach Lloyd Fobi said. "Quinn Nottage was sublime in goal, and Alan Hernandez (Sr., F, Tigard, OR/Tigard HS) led the attacking line on a day that a lot was demanded of him."
Although scoring chances were somewhat minimal for both teams, the Bearcats still managed to gain an edge in shots during each half and overtime. The Bearcats outshot the Boxers 4-2 in the first hallf, 3-1 in the second half, and 4-2 in overtime. Willamette held an 11-5 margin in total shots at the end of the game, including an 8-4 advantage in shots on goal.
All four of Willamette's shots in the first half were on goal, as Pacific starting goalkeeper Leyton Thomassen had to make four saves. WU's first-half shots were taken by Quinn Mello-Bastida (Sr., M, San Jose, CA/Valley Christian HS/U. of Portland), Alan Hernandez (Sr., F, Tigard, OR/Tigard HS), Miky Alonso-Rodriguez (Fr., F, Madras, OR/Redmond Proficiency Academy) and Nicholas Ballenger (So., F, Salem, OR/West Salem HS). Nottage provided WU with two saves in the first half on shots by Woodey Greer and Robert Nurmi.
Berner-Hays forced the first save of the second half with a header at 59:45 that Thomassen kept out of the net. Matt Kimball of Pacific missed wide on the Boxers' only shot of the second half at 70:51. Berner-Hays shot wide right at 77:48 and Hernandez took a shot at 79:42 that was saved by Thomassen.
Nottage had to save a shot by James Curro of Pacific just 14 seconds into the first overtime. Hernandez blasted a shot for the into the crossbar only 35 seconds later almost grabbing the win for the Bearcats. Nottage stopped Curro with a save at 95:53.
Hernandez came very close to ending the game a second time when his shot at 97:06 surged only a few inches above the crossbar.
The dramatic finish began with Thomassen receiving a red card for a handball just outside the penalty area. With Thomassen ejected, back-up 'keeper Jack Orum entered the game for the Boxers. Hernandez took the free kick and sent it toward the left post. Orum registered a diving save and the ball was cleared by a defender.
Quinn Wagner (So., D, Castle Pines, CO/Kent Denver School) gathered the ball 45 yards upfield and sent it back toward the box. Mack van der Velde (Fr., M, Voorhut, Neth./Summit HS, Bend, OR) sliightly deflected the ball with a chest pass and it fell to Berner-Hays, whose half-volley from 10 yards went between Orum's legs and into the net.
Willamette's seniors -- Nottage, Hernandez and Liam Main (Sr., F, San Francisco, CA/Marin Academy) -- were honored prior to the game. Hernandez has played in 69 games in his career, while Main has seen action in 46 games and Nottage has played in goal in nine games, including five games this season.
The Bearcats lead the NWC standings with 26 points. Pacific Lutheran University is second with 23 points and a 7-2-2 record, while Whitworth University is third with 19 points and a 6-4-1 record. Willamette will play at Pacific Lutheran on Saturday, Oct. 28 at 2:30 p.m. (PDT), before taking on University of Puget Sound on Sunday, Oct. 29, also at 2:30 p.m. Both games will be played in Tacoma, Washington.
"We love this Tacoma trip because we get to play teams that will make us better," Fobi commented.
Earlier this season in Salem, Oregon, the Bearcats defeated Puget Sound 1-0 on Sept. 16 and held off Pacific Lutheran 2-1 on Sept. 17.