Berner-Hays Scores Twice, as Shorthanded Bearcats Earn 2-0 Win over Whitworth

Max Berner-Hays (So., D, Seattle, WA/Ballard HS)
Max Berner-Hays (So., D, Seattle, WA/Ballard HS)

By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications

SALEM, Ore. -- Willamette University played one man short for 43:01 and played two men short for the final 28:49 due to a pair of red cards, but the Bearcats found a way to win 2-0 against Whitworth University, in a Northwest Conference men's soccer game on Saturday, Sept. 29 at Sparks Field. Willamette defender Max Berner-Hays (So., Seattle, WA/Ballard HS) scored both goals.

The Bearcats advanced their record to 8-1-1 overall and to 5-0-0 in the NWC. Whitworth fell to 4-5-2 overall, 3-1-1 in the NWC.
Tam Proctor (Fr., D, Seattle, WA/The Northwest School) received a red card just 18:10 into the game, which reduced the Bearcats to 10 men. Joe Plaster (Sr., D, San Diego, CA/University City HS), who was given a yellow card at 19:44, was later shown a red card in the second half at 61:11. Willamette completed the game with nine players on the field.
Berner-Hays produced both of his goals in the first 12 minutes of the second half with Willamette played one-man short. He scored on a header at 46:13 and then added another successful header at 56:59. Berner-Hays is now Willamette's leading scorer on the season with six goals and four assists for 16 total points. He is tied with Nicholas Ballenger (Jr., F, Salem, OR/West Salem HS) for the Bearcats' goal scoring lead.
"It was one of those days when things just did not go our way, but we remained true to our values of commitment to one another and hard work," Willamette Head Coach Lloyd Fobi said. "It was fitting that we needed a resilient performance playing nine-versus-11 in front of members of the 1967 men's soccer team, who had to be resilient 50 years ago to start our men's soccer program. So this win was really for them and all of our alumni who has laid a path for us to walk today."

On the game's first goal, Berner-Hays was assisted by Adhre Sparks (So., D, Lakewood, CA/Los Alamitos HS), whose pass led to a 2-yard header for the score. Plaster assisted on the second goal with a lengthy pass from midfield.

Whitworth outshot Willamette 20-13 during the game. The Pirates held a 7-4 edge in shots on goal and also owned a 5-3 margin on corner kicks. Mason Kelliher (Jr., GK, Wellington, N.Z./Wellington College), who earned the shutout for the Bearcats, kept the Pirates off the scoreboard by making seven saves. Kelliher achieved four of his saves in the second half after the Bearcats were down to nine players on the field. Jesus Nunez recorded two saves for Whitworth.

In addition to scoring twice, Berner-Hays took three more shots during the game. Ethan Kem led the Pirates with four shots. Each team hit the goal with one shot during the second half. Scott Penner of Whitworth hit the crossbar on a shot at 81:18. Ballenger hit the post on a shot for Willamette at 85:13. Kelliher's fourth save of the half was made at 88:18 on a shot by Chase Reidt.

The Bearcats will remain at home to take on Whitman College on Sunday, Sept. 30. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. (PDT).