By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SALEM, Ore. -- Willamette University scored the game's first two goals, and although George Fox University quickly added a goal on a penalty kick, the Bearcats remained in front for a 2-1 win on Saturday, Sept. 22 at Sparks Field. The Bearcats upped their record to 6-1-1 on the season, 3-0 in the Northwest Conference. The Bruins dropped to 1-6-0 overall, 0-3 in the NWC.
"It was a very professional game by our group," Willamette Head Coach Lloyd Fobi said. "We still showed that we have work to do to be able to hit our best, but anytime you can get three points you have to take it and move on."
Josh Schneider (Fr., F, Washoughal, WACamas HS) put in the game's opening goal for Willamette at 6:29 after receiving a well-timed through pass from Quinn Mello-Bastida (Sr., F, San Jose, CA/Valley Christian HS/U. of Portland). Schneider collected the ball in stride, moved into the penalty area and shot from 14 yards into the lower right corner of the net.
The Bearcats scored again at 36:51 for a 2-0 lead. Hikaru Ichigi (Jr., M, Kobe, Japan/Fujiigakuen Sangawa) registered his first goal for Willamette on a tap-in from three yards out after a 40-yard fee kick by Mello-Bastida was headed down by Max Berner-Hays (So., D, Seattle, WA/Ballard HS). Berner-Hays, who was about eight yards out near the right post, sent the ball toward the left post, where Ichigi was ready for the tap-in.
Just 18 seconds later, George Fox got on the scoreboard following a foul by Willamette goalkeeper Mason Kelliher (Jr., GK, Wellington, N.Z./Wellington College) for tripping Jackson Keller inside the penalty area. Keller intercepted a short back-pass toward Kelliher inside the box. Freddy Centeno successfully took the penalty kick for the Bruins.
Willamette was unable to extend its lead before halftime, although the Bearcats outshot the Bruins 12-2 in the first half, including 8-2 in shots on goal. The Bearcats also earned a 7-0 edge in corner kicks over the first 45 minutes.
The Bearcats kept the lead throughout the second half, as Willamette added five shots to its total, while GFU took three shots. Kelliher only had to make one save during the second half, a stop at 48:05 on a shot by Bryce Towne. George Fox goalkeeper JD Ellis also made one save in the second half. Ellis prevented a shot by Ryan Sato (Fr., F, Sunnyvale, CA/Homestead HS) from going into the goal at 56:13.
Sato's shot followed a free kick by the Bearcats after Moises Manon of the Bruins received a red card at 56:01. The Bruins were reduced to 10 players on the field for the final 33:59.
WU outshot the Bruins 5-1 while they were short-handed. After Sato's shot was saved, the next attempt was by Gabe Ramirez of GFU at 65:23. His shot was blocked by the Bearcats. Mello-Bastida had chances for Willamette that were blocked at 72:01 and 72:24. Sato missed high at 85:51 and PJ Gibson (Sr., D, Carmel, IN/Carmel HS) took a shot that was blocked at 86:33.
For the match, Willamette held a 17-5 margin in total shots and a 9-3 advantage in shots on goal. Ellis registered seven saves for the Bruins. Kelliher earned two saves for the Bearcats.
Willamette will take on Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon, on Sunday, Sept. 23. Game time is set for 12 p.m. (PDT).