By Eric Del Prado
The Willamette men’s and women’s soccer teams are making quick work of their Northwest Conference opponents six games through conference play. The women’s team was able to get two wins against Lewis and Clark College and Pacific University, respectively. The men’s team took the long the drive to Eastern Washington as they defeated Whitworth University and tied with Whitman College.
On Wednesday night the Lewis and Clark Pioneers came to the friendly confines of Sparks Field to take on the Lady Bearcats. The game did not see much action in the first half, as neither team got a quality scoring opportunity. Nonetheless, the Bearcats outshot the Pioneers 5-2 as the scored was tied at zero. Senior Emmy Manset broke the scoreless tie at 58:10, as she shielded the ball from defenders and found the back of the net to give the Bearcats the lead. Sophomore Shanna Keil scored at 65:41 in the second off of a cross from senior Marley Duncan. The Pioneers cut the lead in half when they scored at the 80 minute mark, but it did not last long as senior Kelsey Walker scored on a penalty kick after the ensuing kick off. The Bearcats would hold on to win the game by a score of 3-1.
The game on Saturday against the Pacific University Boxers was dominated by the Bearcats as they won the game 3-0. Duncan got the scoring started early for the Bearcats as she scored just nine minutes into the game. Manset did the rest of the scoring for the Bearcats, as she tapped her first goal of the day in at the start of the second half. She was assisted by junior Karmen Chavez-Sam. Manset’s second goal of the afternoon came off a pass from Keil. Manset booted the ball from 25 yards out and went to the upper corner of the net for the goal.
On Saturday, Oct 7 the Bearcats will travel to Tacoma, Washington to take on the Puget Sound Loggers and return home on Sunday to take on the George Fox Bruins.
The Bearcats took on the best program in the NWC on Saturday, Whitworth University, and made a statement to be in that discussion as well. The scoring got started by sophomore Hijiri Iijima stole the ball from a Whitworth defender and tapped it into the goal. Senior Alan Hernandez kept the scoring party going early in the second half as he scored just two minutes into the half. Sophomore Nicholas Ballenger added the third goal of the game at 52:30. While the Bearcats were able to come out on top, it was not an easy game by any means. Willamette’s goalkeeper, Junior Marco Gonzalez-Yanez, kept 16 shots out of the goal, preserving the 3-1 victory. This was the first time since 1998 that the Bearcats came out of Spokane with a victory.
Sunday’s game against the Whitman College Blues did not start out the way the Bearcats wanted, as the Blues got out to an early lead, 16 minutes into the game. The first half was controlled by the Blues as they put four shots on goal. Early in the second half, senior Quinn Mello-Bastida tied the score at one with a free kick. While the game ended in a tie, it allowed the Bearcats to gain a valuable point in the standings. At the end of the weekend, the Bearcats were in first place in the standings by four points. This sets the Bearcats up nicely for their next section of conference play, where four games will be played at Sparks field. The first of these games will be on Saturday at 7 p.m. against Linfield College.