By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications, (503) 370-6110
SALEM, Ore. -- Gena Main (Jr., F, San Francisco, CA/Gateway HS/Bryn Mawr College) of Willamette University broke a 1-1 tie with a goal at 79:38, and the Bearcats went on to defeat George Fox University, 2-1, at Sparks Field on Sunday, Sept. 23. Willamette remained undefeated at 7-0-1 for the season and 30-01 in the Northwest Conference. The Bruins slipped to 3-2-1 overall, 1-2-1 in the NWC.
Willamette held a 1-0 lead at halftime on a goal by Fionn Fortune (Jr., M/F, Alexandria, VA/St. Stephen's & St. Agnes/Hamilton Coll.). George Fox tied the game when Savannah Sexton scored at 54:46. Main's goal put Willamette back in front with just over 10 minutes to go, and the Bearcats kept the lead the rest of the way.
"This was our first weekend playing back-to-back games (the Bearcats defeated Puget Sound 2-0 on Saturday), and I thought we did well in our second game of the weekend with our energy and effort on the field," Willamette Head Coach Hillary Arthur said. "We created numerous scoring opportunities and out defense continues to provide a solid foundation for us."
The Bearcats tallied first at 39:04 on a solid offensive play that began with Emma Blackburn (Fr., F, Los Altos, CA/Saint Francis HS) near the left sideline. Blackburn sent a short pass to Amanda Fong (Sr., F, Kensington, CA/El Cerrito HS) near the left top corner of the penalty area. Fong crossed the ball to just past the right post, where Fortune scored from four yards out. WU ended the first half with a 7-4 edge in total shots, including 5-1 in shots on goal. Annalisa Klein, the GFU goalkeeper, registered four of her five saves in the first 45 minutes.
GFU had its best chance of the first half with 42 seconds remaining. Carrie Lillis had possession near the end line about 15 yards to the left of the goal. Lillis shot toward the net, but WU goalie Kristen Barclay (Jr., GK, Kenmore, WA/Cedar Park Christian School) was at the near post and grabbed the ball.
The Bruins equalized at 54:46 when Sexton stole a Willamette pass, took a couple of dribbles and shot from 23 yards into the upper right corner of the goal over the raised arms of Barclay.
WU earned the next four shots. Hannah Deighton (Jr., D, Long Beach, CA/Long Beach Polytechnic HS) shot wide right at 61:15, Fong's effort was save by Klein at 65:38, Paige Murray (Fr., D, Olympia, WA/Capital HS) missed to the left at 67:06, and Fortune shot high at 70:20, but the Bearcats were threatening to break through.
The winning play began with Murray intercepting a goal kick about 35 yards out and first-timing it to Shanna Keil (Jr., F, Danville, CA/San Ramon Valley HS) near the top of the box. Keil headed it forward, allowing Main to reach the ball in stride in the center of the penalty area and shoot from 13 yards into the lower right corner with 10:22 remaning in the game.
George Fox managed two shots in the final seven minutes. Barclay earned a save on a shot by Karlyn Stokes of GFU at 83:58 and an attempt by Leanna Harris was wide at 86:25. Barclay finished with two saves.
Willamette gained a 13-10 edge in total shots during the game. The Bearcats placed seven shots on target, while GFU had three shots on goal.
Up next for Willamette is a home game against Whitworth University on Saturday, Sept. 29. Action between the Bearcats and the Pirates is set to begin at 12 p.m. (PDT).