Willamette’s lacrosse team went on the road this past weekend to take on fourth-ranked University of Puget Sound and the first-ranked George Fox University Bruins. The Bearcats struggled against two very good schools, losing both NWC matches. Willamette is now 4-9 overall for the year and 2-6 in the in the Northwest Conference (NWC) with four games left to play.
The Bearcats started their weekend slate on Saturday afternoon in Tacoma, WA. The Loggers seized the lead in the opening minutes with three quick goals before Willamette could gain its footing. First-year Miranda Piros, assisted by fellow first-year Emma Canchola, scored the first goal for the Bearcats at the 24:46 mark in the first half, sparking the road team to life. Sophomore Nina Hernandez provided another Willamette score eight minutes later, assisted by first-year Victoria Glidden.
Defenses took control of the game for most of the rest of the first half. WU goalkeeper Kara Phillips had 14 saves on the day, and the team overall had more draw controls than the home team. The strong defensive effort prevented Puget Sound from scoring again until the second half, but the Bearcats were able to score twice in the final four minutes of the half. Sophomore Anabel Ohsman, Willamette’s scoring leader for the season, scored on a free position shot with 3:27 remaining. Just over a minute later, Piros, Willamette’s second-leading scorer, received a pass from Hernandez and recorded her second goal of the day. Despite the early 3-0 deficit, Willamette entered halftime only trailing 5-4.
The Loggers once again found success early, striking twice after halftime before Willamette could recapture its momentum. Ohsman scored once more from a free position shot, and first-year Laura Kelly cut the deficit to two with another free position shot with under 10 minutes remaining. Several more shots went wide or were saved by Logger goalkeeper Charlotte Donnelly. Willamette’s comeback would fall short after Puget Sound answered with two quick goals and remained stout on defense to close out the game 10-6 in favor of the home team.
“Despite missing a number of players, we executed some of our best defense all year. Unfortunately, Puget Sound was able to exploit our mistakes and poor decisions with the ball. We beat ourselves with turnovers,” Willamette Head Coach Sarah Lautenbach said in her interview with Robert McKinney. With the win, Puget Sound swept the season series with Willamette, as they also beat the Bearcats in Salem on March 17 with a score of 8-5.
The Bearcats traveled south to Newberg, OR to face the George Fox University early Sunday afternoon. The Bruins started off hot, scoring six goals in the opening five minutes and never looking back. Piros scored Willamette’s only goal of the day at the 18:33 mark of the second half, her 27th of the season. After putting up 14 unanswered points in the first half, the Bruins slowed down in the second half and the game ended at 20-1 in favor of the home team. George Fox University swept the season series with the victory, having previously beat the Bearcats in Salem on March 16 by the same score.
The Bearcat’s next game will come on the road against Pacific University this coming Saturday, April 20, at 1 p.m. (PST).