By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director
SPOKANE, Wash. -- Willamette University scored a goal late in the first half to take a 1-0 lead on two-time defending Northwest Conference champion Whitworth University, but the Pirates tallied two goals in the final 17 minutes of the game to defeat the Bearcats, 2-1, on Saturday, Sept. 17. Whitworth improved to 3-2 on the season and to 1-0 in the NWC. Willamette slipped to 2-2 overall, 0-1 in the NWC.
Ethan Tait (Sr., F, Turlock, CA/Turlock HS) scored the game's first goal for Willamette at 40:55 on an assist from Quinn Mello-Bastida (Jr., M, San Jose, CA/Valley Christian HS/U. of Portland). Tait received a through ball from Mello-Bastida and beat Whitworth goalkeeper Timmy Costa one-on-one.
The Bearcats were outshot 6-4 in the first half, but held the 1-0 lead at the break.
Whitworth pressed forward in the second half in search of an equalizing goal. Even so, Willamette took the first two shots of the final 45 minutes -- both by Julian Hanlon-Austin (Sr., F, Portland, OR/Grant HS) -- forcing saves by Costa at 53:24 and 54.29.
The Pirates created a shot that WU goalie Josh Fuentes (Sr., GK, Salem, OR/South Salem HS) saved on a strike by Alfredo Ornelas at 62:20. Ornelas had a shot blocked a couple of minutes later, and a shot by Eric Espinoza was saved by Fuentes at 69:41.
Moi Diaz scored Whitworth's tying goal at 73:35. Diaz received a header pass from Christian Haas on the play, which began with a cross from Kyle Morris. The pass from Morris was headed several times in the penalty area, before Haas set up Diaz for the goal.
Diaz forced Fuentes to make a save at 80:44 and again at 81:49. About five minutes later, Ornelas rushed toward Fuentes and blocked a long kick by the goalkeeper. Ornelas retrieved the ball before it went over the end line, which would have given the Bearcats a goal kick.
Ornales crossed the ball to Ryan Berriman, who scored the go-ahead goal for the Pirates at 86:48.
Willamette earned a corner kick at 87:34, but the Bearcats were unable to score on the play and Whitworth held on for the win.
The Pirates recorded a 17-6 advantage in total shots, including an 11-2 edge in the second half. Whitworth earned an 8-3 margin in shots on goal and attained a 7-4 lead in corner kicks.
Fuentes finished with six saves for the Bearcats. Costa provided the Pirates with two saves.
Willamette will complete its weekend road trip with a game at Whitman College on Sunday, Sept. 18. Game time is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. (PDT).