Pacific Nips Bearcats 1-0 Despite Willamette's 24-9 Margin in Shots

Quinn Mello-Bastida (Sr., M, San Jose, CA/Valley Christian HS/U. of Portland)
Quinn Mello-Bastida (Sr., M, San Jose, CA/Valley Christian HS/U. of Portland)

By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications

SALEM, Ore. -- Robert Nurmi scored his sixth goal of the season for Pacific University at 67:24, setting up the Boxers for a 1-0 win over Willamette University on Saturday, Oct. 20 at Sparks Field. The Bearcats held a 24-9 advantage in total shots and an 8-3 edge in shots on goal, but Pacific goalkeeper Brock Jones registered seven saves to earn the shutout for Pacific.

Willamette fell to 11-2-2 on the season and to 8-1-1 in the Northwest Conference. The Bearcats will still lead the NWC standings at the end of the day, but their margin could be as slim as a single-point after other games are completed later in the afternoon. Pacific improved to 2-9-3 overall, while winning its first conference game of the year to move to 1-7-2 in the NWC.

"Some days luck smiles at you in different ways. Today was one of those days," Willamette Head Coach Lloyd Fobi said. "We played a very good game of soccer today and generated  loads of changes. We really were unfortunate not to score. I'm proud of how we stuck to our game plan and dominated every area of the field."

Nurmi scored on a shot from eight yards into the left corner of the goal. He has scored all but three of Pacific's nine goals this season. The play began with a short crossing pass from the left side by Shawn Opfer, who registered an assist.

Willamette took 10 shots the rest of the way, but five were blocked and three were saved by Jones. One shot was wide right and one was high. Nicholas Ballenger (Jr., F, Salem, OR/West Salem HS) took a powerful shota t 74:41, but the line drive from the top of the box went at Brock, who earned a save. Later, Brock grabbed a header by Josh Schneider (Fr., F, Washoughal, WA/Camas HS) at 84:43 and stopped another shot by Schneider at 87:23.

The Bearcats earned a 9-2 margin in total shots in the first half, incluidng 2-0 in shots on goal. The only quality chance during the first half was a header by Max Berner-Hays (So., D, Seattle, WA/Ballard HS) of Willamette that was cleared off the goal line by Grant Rutledge of Pacific at 23:05.

Willamette goalkeeper Anthony Richard-Bassett (So., GK, Salem, OR/South Salem HS) played all 90 minutes and earned two saves. Schneider of WU led all players with five total shots and had two shots on goal. Hikaru Ichigi (Jr., M, Kobe, Japan/Fujiigakuen Sangawa) added four shots for the Bearcats, including two shots on target. Nurmi led Pacific with three shots, including one shot on goal. Ballenger and Quinn Mello-Bastida (Sr., F, San Jose, CA/Valley Christian HS/U. of Portland) of Willamette each took three shots.

Up next for Willamette is a game at George Fox University on Sunday, Oct. 21. Game time is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. (PDT).

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

Big Moment of the Game for Willamette

Max-Berner-Hays headed the ball toward the goal
23:05 into the first half, but his shot was cleared off the
goal line by Pacific defender Grant Rutledge. The game
might have taken a different trajectory if the header had
reached the net to give Willamette the lead. Berner-Hays
leads the NWC with eight goals this season.