By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SALEM, Ore. -- The Willamette University defense limited University of Puget Sound to six total shots and just two shots on goal, as the Bearcats defeated the Loggers, 2-0, in a Northwest Conference women's soccer game at Sparks Field on Saturday, Sept. 22. Willamette received a goal from Hannah Deighton (Jr., D, Long Beach, CA/Long Beach Polytechnic HS) in the first half, and added an insurance score from Gena Main (Jr., F, San Francisco, CA/Gateway HS/Bryn Mawr College) early in the second half.
Both teams entered the game ranked in the West Region of NCAA Division III by the United Soccer Coaches. Willamette was ranked #7 and Puget Sound was ranked #9. With the victory, the Bearcats remained undefeated on the season at 6-0-1, including 2-0-1 in the NWC. The Loggers, who played a very strong non-conference schedule, fell to 2-4-1 on the season, 1-1-1- in the NWC.
"I'm so proud of this team," Willamette Head Coach Hillary Arthur said. "Every time we ask more of them, they step up and answer the call. To get two goals and a shutout against a strong team like Puget Sound is a great result. It's a tribute to all the hard work each and every one of our players puts in day in and day out, especially to the teammates who may not have seen the field today."
The Bearcats created the game's first pressure leading to a shot by Shanna Keil (Jr., F, Danville, CA/San Ramon Valley HS) that was saved by Puget Sound goalkeeper Jamie Lange at 2:46. Several minutes later, the Loggers put together a string of four corner kicks from the 8:09 mark through 11:10. The first corner kick helped set up a shot by Kendra Elderken for the Loggers about 25 seconds later. Elderken was wide open when she received a crossing pass outside the left post, but sent the ball wide left from five yards out.
Willamette regained control of the action, and a bit later Keil created a shot that was blocked at 16:57. Just over half a minute later, WU earned its first corner kick of the game. Rachael Moulton (Jr., D, Seattle, WA/Shorecrest HS) took the corner and found Deighton five yards out near the right post. Deighton headed the ball into the net, giving the Bearcats a 1-0 lead at 17:35.
The half ended with Willamette still in front on the strength of Deighton's header. The Bearcats owned a 6-3 lead in total shots at the break, including a 4-1 edge in shots on target.
Main doubled the Bearcats' advantage to 2-0 less than five minutes into the second half when she scored from 12 yards out at 49:32. Main received the ball on a through pass from Keil, then dribbled into the box and shot into the lower right corner of the goal. Keil, who received an assist on the play, leads WU in scoring this season with five goals and two assists for 12 total points.
Willamette limited Puget Sound's chances the rest of the game, but Tayla MacPherson almost scored on a 35-yard free kick at 80:12. Her lengthy shot from the far right edge of the field hit the crossbar near the left post and went out of play.
The Bearcats forced Lange to make her only saves of the second half in the final 5:17. Lange stopped a header by Kate Matthews (Sr., M, Bainbridge Island, WA/Bainbridge HS) of WU at 84:43 and recorded a save on a shot by Jenae Arnold (Jr., M, Poulsbo, WA/North Kitsap HS) at 86:14. Emma Blackburn (Fr., F, Los Altos, CA/Saint Francis HS) shot for the Bearcats at 88:11, but Lange earned her final save. Keil had a shot blocked with 14 seconds left.
Lange finished the game with six saves. Kristen Barclay (Jr., GK, Kenmore, WA/Cedar Park Christian School) of Willamette made two save on her way to the shutout. Barclay has registered three solo shutouts and two shared shutouts this season.
Willamette outshot the Loggers 13-6 overall and 8-2 in shots on goal. Puget Sound held a 6-2 lead in corner kicks.
The Bearcats will remain at home to take on George Fox University in an NWC game on Sunday, Sept. 23. Kickoff is scheduled for 12 p.m. (PDT).