By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110
SALEM, Ore. -- Willamette University goalkeeper Josh Fuentes (Sr., GK, Salem, OR/South Salem HS) recorded five of his six saves in the first half, and teammate Noah Walin (Sr., M, Paia, HI/Seabury Hall) scored a goal at 52:28, as the Bearcats outlasted University of California, Santa Cruz, 1-0, on Friday, Sept. 9 at Sparks Field. Willamette improved to 2-0, while the Banana Slugs slipped to 1-3.
The Bearcats have opened the season with back-to-back shutout wins. In the season opener on Sept. 1, Willamette downed Warner Pacific University, 2-0.
Walin scored his goal from five yards out near the left post following two quick passes from Julian Hanlon-Austin (Sr., F, Portland, OR/Grant HS) and Ruben Randall (So., M, Los Angeles, CA/ Cathedral HS). Hanlon-Austin and Randall received assists on the play.
The Bearcats outshot the Banana Slugs 11-6 in the second half, and some of Willamette's best chances to score came after Walin put the team in front. Five of the shots were earned between the 78th minute and the 85th minute, as USCS had to push forward.
At 77:29, Eric Keefe (So., M, Wellington, N.Z./Wellington College) missed high. A couple of minutes later, Hanlon-Austin took a shot that went wide right. Hanlon-Austin alos had a header on a corner kick at 80:42 that was cleared by a defender.
Quinn Mello-Bastida (Jr., M, San Jose, CA/Valley Christian HS/U. of Portland), Walin and Jack Elton (Sr., D, Corte Madera, CA/Redwood HS) completed the stretch of attacking play. Mell-Bastida sent a shot high at 83:50. Walin hit the crossbar near the left post 34 seconds later on a shot from the right side. Elton's shot at 84:36 was saved by goalie Christian Deguzman.
The Banana Slugs claimed a 7-6 edge in shots during the first half with a 6-2 advantage in shots on goal. UCSC was kept out of the net by the five first-half saves by Fuentes, plus one shot cleared away by a WU defender.
In the second half, the Bearcats made it difficult for the Banana Slugs to direct a shot at Fuentes. WU defenders frequently won the ball before a shot was taken or forced the shooter to send a shot off target.
The Bearcats outshot UC Santa Cruz 17-13 overall. The Banana Slugs owned a 7-5 margin in shot on goal, but WU held a 3-1 margin in the second half.
Willamette will be back in action on Saturday (Sept. 10), when the Bearcats will travel to crosstown rival Corban University. Game time is scheduled for 4 p.m. (PDT). Corban is 4-0 on the season. The Warriors were ranked #20 in the NAIA Men's Soccer Preseason Poll. Willamette competes in NCAA Division III.