By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director
SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- Liz Stewart (So., D, Sisters, OR/Sisters HS/Texas Christian University) scored for Willamette University at 87:05 to break a 1-1 tie and send the Bearcats to a 2-1 victory over Northwest Christian University on Thursday, Sept. 1. Emma Sanders (Sr., M, Kennewick, WA/Southridge HS) also scored for the Bearcats.
Willamette, playing its regular season opener, improved to 1-0. Northwest Christian fell to 2-2 on the season.
Sanders opened the scoring just 8:05 after the opening kickoff when she headed the ball into the net following a corner kick by Kelsey Walker (Jr., M/GK, Westerville, OH/Westerville North HS). The Bearcats outshot the Beacons 7-1 in the first half and took a 1-0 lead into the halftime break.
NCU evened the score with goal by Maddi Bartholomew on a 30-yard blast that reached the top part of the net at 67:32. Bartholomew led the Beacons with three shots during the game.
The Bearcats forced NCU goalkeeper Katie Hastings to make two saves between the goal by Bartholomew and Stewart's game-winning shot. Walker took at shot that was saved at 70:26. Ellie Cordova (Sr./Jr., F/M, Salem, OR/South Salem HS) added a shot that Hastings kept out of the net at 73:52.
Willamette goalie Emily Sewall (Sr., GK, Petaluma, CA/Casa Grande HS) made two saves to protect the 1-1 tie. She rejected a shot by Bryce Branagan-Franco at 78:15 and stopped a shot by Bartholomew at 82:45.
The goal by Stewart was earned followed a solid play by Emmy Manset (Jr., F, Ventura, CA/Foothill Technology HS) in the midfield. After receiving the ball, Manset turned and saw Stewart running into space. Manset sent the ball behind the defensive line.
Stewart outraced defenders to reach the ball first, and took control about 30 yards out. She touched the ball forward as Hastings rushed out from goal. Stewart shot past the goalie and into the net with 2:55 remaining.
NCU had a chance to tie the game on a shot by Sierra Graton with 27 seconds left, but Sewall registered a save to secure the win.
The Bearcats outshot the Beacons, 12-7, but both teams had five shots on goal. Sewall finished with four saves, while Hastings earned three saves.
Sanders of WU topped all players with four total shots and two shots on goal. Willamette piled up six corners kicks, while NCU took three corners.
Willamette will return to action on Sunday, Sept. 4 with the home opener against Warner Pacific College. Game time at Sparks Field is set for 5 p.m. (PDT).