By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SALEM, Ore. -- After putting together back-to-back outstanding seasons the past two years, the Willamette University women's soccer team is set for another quality year in 2019. The Bearcats will open the season on Friday, Aug. 30 at Sparks Field when they take on crosstown rival Corban University at 7 p.m. (PDT). Willamette was 13-4-3 in 2017 and finished 12-4-4 in 2018.
The Bearcats return the top 10 scorers from last season's roster, including Shanna Keil (Sr., F, Danville, CA/San Ramon Valley HS) and Gena Main (Sr., F, San Francisco, CA/Gateway HS/Bryn Mawr College). Keil led the Bearcats with 20 total points on seven goals and six assists. She was chosen Second Team All-West Region and was First Team All-Northwest Conference. Main topped Willamette's offensive chart with eight goals. She also earned one assist for 17 total points. Main was one of four Bearcats who earned Second Team All-NWC honors.
Also receiving Second Team All-NWC recognition in 2018 were Jenae Arnold (Sr., M, Poulsbo, WA/North Kitsap HS), Kristen Barclay (Sr., GK, Kenmore, WA/Cedar Park Christian School), and Hannah Deighton (Sr., D, Long Beach, CA/Long Beach Polytechnic HS).
Arnold contributed two goals and two assists last year, while providing strong play in the midfield and on attack. She was 2 for 2 on penalty kicks, including the game-winning goal with 18 seconds left in the second overtime for a 1-0 victory over Lewis & Clark College on Sept. 15. She has been credited with five assists in her career while playing in 59 of 60 games over the past three seasons.
Barclay has been a strong force in the nets for the Bearcats. In three seasons, she has played in 54 games for a total of 4,317 minutes. She owns a 29-11-9 career record and a 0.83 career goals against average. She has registered 184 saves in her career. Last fall, Barclay was 12-3-4 with a 0.86 GAA and 69 saves.
As a Bearcat, Deighton has played in 55 games, all as a defender. In 2018, she also scored two goals, giving her three goals in her career. She competed in all 20 games during each of the past two seasons, helping WU earn nine shutouts in 2017 and 10 shutouts in 2018. Willamette attained a 0.80 team goals against average last year after recording a 0.72 GAA in 2017.
Overall, Willamette has 18 returning players on its roster for 2019. There are only five new players, but they will provide the Bearcats with additional quality play. Aoi Sawanabori (So., M, Kofu, Japan/TIUA) joins the team this season. She brings a strong combination of quickness and technical abililty. First-year college student-athletes Bridgit Bodor (Fy., F/M, Manitou Springs, CO/Manitou Springs HS), Jackie Gilroy (Fy., F/M, Mercer Island, WA/Mercer Island HS), Clara Mattison (Fy., M, Burlington, WA/burlington Edison HS) and Joleigh Miller (Fy., D, Salem, OR/South Salem HS) have performed well during the preseason.
Head Coach Hillary Arthur enters her 12th season with the Bearcats. Willamette finished each of the past four seasons at .500 or better, giving the Bearcats a 43-25-12 record in its last 80 games, including a combined record of 25-8-7 in 2017 and 2018.