Willamette Men's Soccer Team is Ranked #23 in NCAA Division III

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

SALEM, Ore. -- The Willamette University men's soccer team is ranked #23 in the NCAA Division III National Poll released today by the United Soccer Coaches. Willamette is 11-1-2 overall and 10-0-2 against NCAA Division III opponents. The Bearcats lead the Northwest Conference standings with an 8-0-1 record. In addition to being ranked #23 in the nation, the Bearcats are ranked #3 in this week's West Region Poll.

Each team's record against NCAA Division III opponents is used to determine the regional and national rankings.

Messiah College (Pa.), the defending Division III champion, is ranked #1 in the National Poll with a 12-0-2 ranking. Messiah moved up once spot from #2 a week ago. University of Chicago (Ill.), which was #1 last week, slipped into the #2 ranking this week with a 12-1-1 record against Division III foes. Trinity University (Texas) advanced three spots to #3 in the poll at 11-0-2. Calvin College (Mich.) slipped one spot to #4 with an 11-1-0 mark. Connecticut College also dropped one position to #5 at 10-0-2.

Trinity and Willamette were two of the three West Region teams included in this week's National Poll. The other team was University of Texas at Tyler, which held the #15 ranking at 9-1-1.

In the West Region Poll, Trinity owned the #1 spot. UT-Tyler was ranked #2 and Willamette was #3. University of Texas-Dallas was listed at #4 with a 9-1-2 record in Division III. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (Calif.) followed at #5 with a 10-2-0 mark. University of Mary Hardin-Baylor (Texas) was #6 at 10-3-0, with University of Redlands (Calif.) at #7 with a 10-2-0 record. Pacific Lutheran University was #8 at 9-4-0, while Southwestern University (Texas) was #9 at 9-4-1 and Occidental College (Calif.) was #10 at 8-4-0.

Willamette has outscored its opponents 31-12 this season and has recorded six shutouts. Max Berner-Hays (So., D, Seattle, WA/Ballard HS) leads the NWC with eight goals and 209 total points. Nicholas Ballenger (Jr., F, Salem, OR/West Salem HS) is tied for second in the NWC with seven goals.

Quinn Mello-Bastida (Sr., F, San Jose, CA/Valley Christian HS/U. of Portland) is second in the conference with six assists. Goalie Mason Kelliher (Jr., GK, Wellington, N.Z./Wellington College) is first in the NWC with a 0.60 goals against average.

Willamete's only loss of the season was to nearby rival Corban University by a 2-1 margin on Sept. 1. Corban was ranked #15 in last week's NAIA Poll. Last week, the Bearcats were ranked #22 in the NCAA Division III National Poll and were #3 in the West Region Poll.

The Bearcats will host Pacific University at Sparks Field on Saturday, Oct. 20 at 12 p.m. (PDT). Willamette will play at George Fox University on Sunday, Oct. 21 at 2:30 p.m.