Ballenger Provides Bearcats with a Hat Trick, but Whitworth Wins 4-3 in Overtime

Nicholas Ballenger (Sr., F, Salem, OR/West Salem HS/Oregon State Univ.)
Nicholas Ballenger (Sr., F, Salem, OR/West Salem HS/Oregon State Univ.)

By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications

SALEM, Ore. -- Nicholas Ballenger (Sr., F, Salem, OR/West Salem HS/Oregon State Univ.) scored three goals for his first career hat trick with the Willamette University men's soccer team, but his outstanding afternoon didn't prevent Whitworth University from grabbing a 4-3 win in overtime at Sparks Field on Sunday, Sept. 22. Chase Reidt of Whitworth scored the game-winning goal, his second goal of the game, on a shot 2:55 into the first overtime.

Whitworth upped its record to 3-4-1 overall, 1-1 in the Northwest Conference. Willamette suffered its first loss of the season, and fell to 4-1-2 overall, 1-1 in the NWC.

"Today's match was a battle. I am proud of the way our guys fought to the very last whistle and continued to support one another. We didn't get everything we wanted out of the weekend, but we're excited and ready to get after it this week to be ready for next weekend."
— Willamette Head Coach Jared Rust

The Pirates scored the first two goals of the game for a 2-0 lead just under 15 minutes into the contest. Scott Penner hit the net first with a shot at 4:06 that was assisted by Zanskar Blair. The second goal was scored by Blair on an unassisted play at 14:56.

Willamette reduced the margin to 2-1 less than nine minutes later when Ballanger tallied the first of his three goals. He was assisted on the play by Carter McCleary (Jr., F, Port Hadlock, WA/Chimacum HS). Ballenger had a shot blocked at 24:05, Ryan Sato (So., MF, Sunnyvale, CA/Homestead HS) shot wide for the Bearcats at 24:37, and Pierce Gallaway (Fy., M, Carmel, CA/Carmel HS) of WU took a shot that was blocked at 32:13.

Ballenger hit the equalizer at 42:58 to tie the score at 2-2 before the end of the first half. The Bearcats and the Pirates were still tied at the break, but Willamette held an 8-3 edge in total shots and a 4-2 margin in shots on goal.

The opening 16 minutes of the second half went by without either team scoring. Even so, Whitworth created four shots and Willamette earned three shots during that time frame. A foul was called against Willamette just after the clock hit 62:00, leading to a goal at 62:15 by Reidt following an assist from Jonathan Guglielmetti. Whitworth owned a 3-2 lead.

At 76:17, a Whitworth player committed a foul inside the penalty area and Willamette was awarded a penalty kick. Ballenger completed his hat trick by sending the penalty shot into the goal past Whitworth goalie Jesus Nunez. The teams remained tied at 3-3 until the end of the regulation.

Willamette had the first shot in the sudden-death overtime, as an effort by Phil Doherty (So., MF, Seattle, WA/Garfield HS) was blocked by a Whitworth defender at 91:11. Reidt scored the game-winning goal for the Pirates at 92:55 on a shot that was assisted by Azzam Azzam.

For the game, the Bearcats earned an 18-10 margin in shots, while both teams registered seven shots on goal. Willamette goalie Mason Kelliher (Sr., GK, Wellington, N.Z./Wellington College) was credited with three saves. Nunez accumulated four saves for Whitworth. The Bearcats gained a 7-3 edge in corner kicks.

Up next for Wilamette is a game at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon, on Saturday, Sept. 28. Game time is slated for 12 p.m. (PDT).