By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SALEM, Ore. -- Wartburg College (Iowa) held a 9-6 lead with 5:25 left in the game, but the Knights had to hold off a rally by Willamette University before defeating the Bearcats, 9-8, at Sparks Field on Tuesday, March 5. Wartburg moved to 1-0 on the season, while Willamette fell to 1-1. Both teams compete in NCAA Division III, although Willamette is a member of the Northwest Conference and Wartburg belongs to the Midwest Women's Lacrosse Conference.
Ally Pollock's third goal of the game for Wartburg -- all in the second half -- put the Knights up 9-6. Wartburg won the next draw control, but the Bearcats forced a turnover. Each team lost the ball once more, before the Bearcats called timeout with 3:08 to go.
Alayna Newland (So./Fr., ATT, Everett, WA/Archbishop Murphy HS) scored a goal for the Bearcats at the 2:29 mark to cut the margin to 9-7. Emma Canchola (Fr., DEF, Oregon City OR/Oregon City HS) won the ensuing draw control for Willamette. Newland scored again with 1:42 left to move the Bearcats with one goal at 9-8.
By the time a Wartburg player gained possession of the following draw control the clock was just under 1:30, which allowed the Knights to run out the clock rather than be limited by the 90-second shot clock. Willamette almost caused a turnover with 10 seconds left, but Wartburg kept possession.
"As a team we came ready to compete today, and we did for 60 minutes. That is the main expectation for ourselves," Willamette Head Coach Sarah Lautenbach said. "Wartburg is a good team and it was great to have that challenge before starting our conference games."
Wartburg's Bri Greiskalns netted the game's first two goals with 26:23 and 24:48 left in the first half. Miranda Piros (Fr., MID, Newberg, OR/Newberg HS) tallied a goal for Willamette several minutes later at 20:37, as the Bearcats pulled within 2-1. The Knights earned leads of 3-1 and 4-2, but Willamette closed the half with consecutive goals by Piros on a free position shot at 6:20 and by Anabel Ohsman (So./Fr., ATT, Shohomish, WA/Glacier Peak HS) with 5:21 on the clock.
Neither team scored during the final five minutes of the half, as the Bearcats and the Knights entered the break in a 4-4 tie. Piros of Willamette and Greiskalns of Wartburg each had three goals at halftime.
WU goalkeeper Kara Phillips (Sr./Fr., Kirkland, WA/Lake Washington HS) also had a strong first half, as she registered seven saves, including two on free position shots.
Ohsman scored the first goal of the half at 27:28 to give Willamette a 5-4 lead. The Knights tallied two quick goals at 25:25 by Ashlyn Jelinek and 24:04 by Alex Pollock to surge into a 6-5 lead. Pollock scored again with 17:47 remaining, as Wartburg increased its lead to 7-5.
Willamette pulled within 7-6 when Ohsman recorded her third goal of the game with 12:46 on the clock. A free position shot by Kiley Braatz of Wartburg gave the Knights an 8-6 edge with 8:30 left. Pollack's goal at 5:25 resulted in Wartburg's 9-6 lead, before Willamette earned the game's final two goals on shots by Newland.
The Knights finished the game with a 25-18 advantage in total shots and a 20-15 margin in shots on goal. Greiskalns of Wartburg topped all players with eight shots, including seven shots on target. Prios led the Bearcats with seven shots, while placing six of her attempts on goal.
Phillips continued to play well for the Bearcats and added four saves in the second half for 11 saves overall. Wartburg goalie Laura Sinkovitz earned seven saves during the game, including five in the second half.
Greiskalns provided the Knights with eight draw controls and eight ground balls in addition to scoring three goals. Jelinek added four draw controls, as Wartburg amassed a 13-6 edge ias a team. Canchola supplied WU with four draw controls and led the Bearcats with six ground balls. Seven Bearcats each caused one turnover by Wartburg. The Knights lost possession 23 times, while Willamette committed 21 turnovers.
The Bearcats will return to action on Saturday, March 16 against George Fox University in WU's first-ever Northwest Conference game. Action will begin at Sparks Field at 1 p.m. (PDT).
Big Moment of the Game for Willamette
Alayna Newland scored goals for the Bearcats with 2:29 and 1:42
left in the game to pull Willamette within a single goal of the Knights
at 9-8. Her second goal was scored on a free position shot. Although
Wartburg gained the next draw control and was able to run out the
clock, the two goals by Newland meant the outcome wasn't decided
until the final seconds.