By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SALEM, Ore. -- Max Berner-Hays (So., D, Seattle, WA/Ballard HS) scored a goal and an assist, while teammates Ryan Sato (Fr., F, Sunnyvale, CA/Homestead HS) and Quinn Mello-Bastida (Sr., F, San Jose, CA/Valley Christian HS/U. of Portland) each provided two assists, as Willamette University downed William Jessup University, 4-1, in the season opener for the Bearcats on Friday, Aug. 31 at Sparks Field. Willamette moved to 1-0, while William Jessup fell to 1-1.
Berner-Hays opened the scoring at 7:55 when he put the ball into the net on a 5-yard header after a cross from the right side by Sato. It was Berner-Hays' seventh career goal, after leading the Bearcats with six goals as a freshman last season. Sato earned an assist on the play.
Maxwell McKee (Sr., M, Coronado, CA/Coronado HS) scored next for Willamette less than two minutes later at 9:49. The play began with a corner kick taken by Sato. The ball was met about six yards out by a header from WU defender Tam Proctor (Fr., Seattle, WA/The Northwest School). As the ball started moving toward the goal, McKee also headed the ball, sending it into the net.
Omar Magana scored the only goal of the game for the Warriors at 36:30 to pull William Jessup within 2-1. Willamette goalkeeper Anthony Richard-Bassett (So., GK, Salem, OR/South Salem HS) slipped while clearing the ball near the top of the 18-yard box. The pass fell to Magana, who shot from 40 yards out into an empty net. It was Magana's fourth goal in two games this year. He had a three-goal hat trick in the Warriors' 4-0 win over Sierra Nevada College on Tuesday, Aug. 28.
Adhre Sparks (So., D, Lakewood, CA/Los Alamitos HS) gave Willamette a 3-1 cushion with a goal at 55:56 following a free kick. Mello-Bastida took the kick and sent the ball toward the right post, where Berner-Hays headed it to Sparks, who was eight yards out near the left post. Sparks shot the ball past WJU goalie Jordan Paton, who was still recovering from Mello-Bastida's pass to Berner-Hays.
Nicholas Ballenger (Jr., F, Salem, OR/West Salem HS) recorded the fourth goal for the Bearcats at 79:42. The goal was scored on a shot from 12 yards after Ballenger received a pass from Mello-Bastida, who was on the left side of the field. Ballenger's shot went into the lower right corner of the net.
Willamette outshot William Jessup by a slim 16-15 margin overall, but the Bearcats held a sizable 10-3 edge in shots on goal. Paton registered five saves for the Warriors. Paul Anderson of WJU earned a defensive save when he blocked an on-target shot by McKee at 32:05. The Bearcats had another really close chance at scoring at 75:50 when Ballenger's shot hit the post.
Magana, in addition to scoring WJU's only goal, had two excellent scoring chances in the game's first few minutes. He took quality shots that went barely wide right at 1:05 and 4:14.
Richard-Bassett played the first 76:35 in goal for the Bearcats and earned two saves. Mason Kelliher (Jr., GK, Wellington, N.Z./Wellington College) played the final 13:25 and did not have to make a save.
The Bearcats will be back in action right away with a game against crosstown rival Corban University on Saturday, Sept. 1 at Sparks Field. Game time is 7:00 p.m. (PDT). Corban, which competes in the NAIA and the Cascade Collegiate Conference, is ranked #21 i the NAIA Preseason Poll. The Warriors are 2-0 on the season with a 3-0 win over Spring Arbor University (Mich.) on Aug. 23 and a 2-0 victory against Linfield College on Aug. 25. Willamette is a member of NCAA Division III and the Northwest Conference.