Ballenger, Mello-Bastida Each Achieve Goal and Assist in 4-0 Win at Pacific

Nicholas Ballenger (Jr., F, Salem, OR/West Salem HS)
Nicholas Ballenger (Jr., F, Salem, OR/West Salem HS)

By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications

FOREST GROVE, Ore. -- Four Bearcats scored goals, but Nicholas Ballenger (Jr., F, Salem, OR/West Salem HS) and Quinn Mello-Bastida (Sr., F, San Jose, CA/Valley Christian HS/U. of Portland) each registered a goal and an assist to lead Willamette University to a 4-0 triumph over Pacific University in men's soccer on Sunday, Sept. 23. The shutout win moved Willamette's record to 7-1-1, including 4-0-0 in the Northwest Conference. Pacific fell to 1-5-2 overall, 0-3-1 in the NWC.

In addition to Ballenger and Mello-Bastida, other goal scorers for Willamette were Hikaru Ichigi (Jr., M, Kobe, Japan/Fujiigakuen Sangawa) and Max Berner-Hays (So., D, Seattle, WA/Ballard HS).

"We were able to go back to the basics today," Willamette Head Coach Lloyd Fobi said. "It was an overall complete outing. The boys felt great and looked great moving the ball today."

Ichigi opened the scoring just over two minutes into the game on a break-away. He was assisted on the play by Mello-Bastida. Ichigi's goal was still the only point on the scoreboard at halftime. The Bearcats outshot the Boxers, 6-1 in the first half.

Willamette added a 7-1 shooting advantage in the second half to finish with a 13-2 edge for the game. WU earned  a 5-1 margin in shots on goal.

The Bearcats pulled away by scoring three goals in less than 13 minutes at the start of the second half.

Berner-Hays increased Willamette's lead to 2-0 just 1:24 into the half on a header toward the post. Joe Plaster (Sr., D, San Diego, CA/University City HS) registered an assist on a crossing pass.

About eight minutes later at 54:02, Mello-Bastida scored the third goal of the game. Ballenger crossed the ball on the ground to start the play. Mello-Bastida needed just one touch before shooting into the net near the far post. Willamette's final goal was scored by Ballenger at 57:33. He stole the ball, then turned and shot toward the far post.

It was Ballenger's NWC-leading sixth goal of the year. He also leads the NWC with 14 total points. Mello-Bastida tops the conference with six assists.

Willamette goalkeepers Mason Kelliher (Jr., GK, Wellington, N.Z./Wellington College) and Anthony Richard-Bassett (So., GK, Salem, OR/South Salem HS) shared the shutout, which was the Bearcats' third clean sheet of the season. Neither WU goalie had to make a save. Pacific's only shot on target was cleared before it reached the goal line by a Willamette defender. Kelliher played the first 60 minutes and Richard-Bassett played the final 30 minutes.

The Bearcats will return to action on Saturday, Sept. 29, when they are scheduled to host Whitworth University at Sparks Field. Game time is set for 2:30 p.m. (PDT).