By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SALEM, Ore. -- Shanna Keil (Jr., F, Danville, CA/San Ramon Valley HS) continued her strong start to the season by scoring twice for Willamette University, including the game-tying goal at 80:59, as the Bearcats tied Linfield College, 2-2 in two overtimes, on Wednesday evening, Sept. 12 at Sparks Field. It was the Northwest Conference opener for both teams. Willamette moved to 4-0-1 overall, 0-0-1 in the NWC. Linfield went to 3-1-1 on the season, 0-0-1 in the NWC.
"We created a lot of excellent scoring opportunities," Willamette Head Coach Hillary Arthur said. "I'm very proud of the grit we showed tonight. The coaches are also thrilled with the two fantastic goals scored by Shanna Keil."
Willamette almost took the lead directly from the game's first corner kick. Keil sent the corner kick on a line drive just in front of the goal. The ball curved toward the net at the last second, forcing Linfield goalie Madi Reimer to make a save.
Although Keil's first attempt didn't cross the goal line, her second try did about six minutes later. Keil received a pass just outside the penalty area from Karmen Chavez-Sam (Sr., D, Eastvale, CA/Eleanor Roosevelt HS). After taking control, Keil moved to her left, created some space, and shot from 18 yards. Reimer attempted to register a save, but the ball went high off her raised arms and into the top of the net.
Linfield tied the score at 38:11 on a blast by Jamie Mars from 18 yards out on the left side. The well-struck ball went into the upper right corner of the goal, just missing the outstretched hands of WU goalie Kristen Barclay. Lexi Kerr earned an assist on the play.
The Wildcats grabbed a 2-1 lead when Kerr scored on a penalty kick following a handball by Willamette with 39 seconds left in the half. Linfield held the one-goal lead at the break although Willamette owned a 10-5 edge in total shots and a 5-3 margin in shots on goal in the first 45 minutes.
Willamette might have taken the lead in the first 12 minutes of the second half if not for a couple of close misses. Fionn Fortune (Jr., M/F, Alexandria, VA/St. Stephen's & St. Agnes/Hamilton Coll.) redirected the ball into the crossbar at 52:38 after a cross from Gena Main (Jr., F, San Francisco, CA/Gateway HS/Bryn Mawr College). Later, Fortune's full-volley effort on another crossing pass at 56:31 went off her knee and was saved by Reimer.
Keil tied the game on a shot from 18 yards into the top middle of the net with 9:01 left in the second half. The goal completed an individual run by Keil after she intercepted a pass just over 40 yards from goal. It was her fifth goal of the season and the 14th goal of her Willamette career.
The Bearcats had the last chance to score in regulation, but Main's header at 88:36 went wide right following a corner kick. Main also took the first shot of overtime, but it was blocked by a defender just inside the penalty area at 92:30. A bit later, Sydney Wilson (Fr., M, Olympia, WA/Capital HS) missed high on a shot for the Bearcats.
Linfield had perhaps the best chance of the second overtime on a corner kick by Ashley Guldager at 102:16. The ball eluded players on both teams and landed inside the 6-yard box. It bounced toward the goal, but a Willamette defender cleared it off an attacking player and out of bounds for a goal kick. Wilson of Willamette missed wide right on the game's final shot at 109:37 with only 23 seconds left.
Willamette ended the game with a 23-16 advantage in total shots and a 7-4 edge in corner kicks. Each team placed eight shots on target. Wilson and Main led all players with five total shots apiece. Barclay recorded six saves for the Bearcats. Reimer was credited with five saves for Linfield, while one Willamette shot was saved by a defender.
The Bearcats will travel to Portland, Oregon, on Saturday, Sept. 15 to take on NWC rival Lewis & Clark College. Game time is set for 12 p.m. (PDT).