By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SALEM, Ore. -- Liz Griffith of Pacific Lutheran University scored on a direct free kick 11:30 into the game, and the nationally-ranked Lutes maintained the lead for a 1-0 win over Willamette University on Sunday, Sept. 24 at Sparks Field. The Lutes, ranked #18 in this week's NCAA Division III Poll released by the United Soccer Coaches, improved to 7-1-0 overall, 4-0 in the Northwest Conference. Willamette fell to 5-2-1 overall, 2-2 in the NWC.
Griffith took the free kick from 20-yards out on the left side. Her powerful shot went into the upper middle of the goal.
Pacific Lutheran outshot the Bearcats 7-2 in the first half and 5-4 in the second half for an overall margin of 12-6. PLU held a 7-4 edge in shots on goal. The Lutes controlled the first 15 minutes, outshooting the Bearcats 5-1, but Willamette adjusted and the game was evenly played the rest of the way, although PLU had more possession.
"Having been on the road the past two weeks, it was great playing in front of our home crowd today," Willamette Head Coach Hillary Arthur said. "I thought we played well and I'm very proud of the effort and team attitude. PLU is a very good, ranked team, and we were toe-to-toe with them for 90 minutes. Unfortunately, our shots couldn't find the back of the net and their one goal did, and that was the deciding factor."
Willamette goalkeepers Kristen Barclay (So., GK, Kenmore, WA/Cedar Park Christian School) and Kahiau Freitas (Fr., GK, Kaneohe, HI/Kamehameha Schools Kapalama) combined for five saves, with Barclay earning three and Freitas recording two. Barclay played in the first half and Freitas played in the second half. One of PLU's shots was blocked near the goal line by a defender.
Natalie Robinson registered four saves while playing all 90 minutes in goal for the Lutes. Kaylie Rozell topped Pacific Lutheran with four total shots. Rozell, Griffith and Leah Magee each placed two shots on target. One of Rozell's shots was a blast from 40 yards out that went about two feet over the crossbar.
Kelsey Walker (Sr., M, Westerville, OH/Westerville North HS) led Willamette with two shots, both on goal. Maddy Hooker (Fr., D, Bellingham, WA/Sehome HS) and Alli Young (Fr., F, Corvallis, OR/Crescent Valley HS) each took one shot on goal for the Bearcats. Emmy Manset (Sr., F, Ventura, CA/Foothill Technology HS) and Jenae Arnold (So., M, Poulsbo, WA/North Kitsap HS) added one sot apiece.
Robinson registered a save on Walker at 72:07 and on a header by Young at 74:46. Manset missed high with a shot at 78:06. Those three shots were earned during a strong stretch of the second half for Willamette.
The Bearcats will play at home again on Wednesday, Sept. 27 against Lewis & Clark College. Kickoff for the NWC match-up is set for 7 p.m. (PDT).