By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director
NEWBERG, Ore. -- Brendan McGonigle (Fr., D, Seattle, WA/O'Dea HS) of Willamette University scored the game-winning goal on a 5-yard header following a corner kick with 11:42 remaining in regulation, giving the Bearcats the final tally in a 3-2 victory over George Fox University of Sunday, Sept. 25. Quinn Mello-Bastida (Jr., M, San Jose, CA/Valley Christian HS/U. of Portland), who took the corner kick, assisted on the play with a line-drive cross.
McGonigle was unmarked in the box and took advance with a powerful header high into the net. It was his first collegiate goal, as he became the ninth Bearcat with a goal this season.
Willamette improved to 5-2 on the season and to 3-1 in the Northwest Conference. George Fox dropped to 1-7-1 overall, 1-3 in the NWC.
The Bearcats never trailed after scoring the game's opening goal just 7:19 into the first half. Julian Hanlon-Austin (Sr., F, Portland, OR/Grant HS) began the goal-scoring play with a throw-in from the right side and about 15 yards out.
Hanlon-Austin's lengthy throw was met by Christopher Barnes (Sr., M, Los Altos, CA/Mountain View HS) of Willamette about eight yards out and close to the near post. Barnes headed the ball toward the far post and into the net.
Kody Urich tied the score for George Fox with a goal from close range at 27:12. He received an assist from Alan Rojas on the play.
Willamette surged back into the lead at 2-1 on a goal by Sonachi Umeh less than five minutes before halftime at 40:13. Mello-Bastida sent a nifty through-pass from about 40 yards out that was timed perfectly for Umeh to run onto near the middle of the field.
Umeh shot from about 13 yards into the lower left corner. Umeh scored although GFU goalie Austin Burdick rushed out and cut down most of the angle.
The Bearcats almost tacked on an insurance goal in the second minute of the second half when Alan Hernandez (Jr., M, Tigard, OR/Tigard HS) took a shot from a difficult angle just inside the right edge of the penalty area. His shot sailed past Burdick and smacked the inside of the left post before bouncing out. A follow shot by Hernandez was saved by Burdick.
George Fox tied the game at 2-2 on a goal by Sean Owens at 74:09. Owens shot from outside the penalty area, sending the ball off the crossbar before it bounced down and into the goal.
McGonigle recorded the game-winning goal for Willamette just over four minutes later. A shot by Hanlon-Austin was blocked by a Bruin to set up the corner kick that led to the winning play at 78:18.
GFU achieved a couple of offensive restarts during the remainder of the game but did not create a shot.
For the game, Willamette outshot the Bruins 18-12, including 6-2 in shots on goal. Each team registered five corner kicks.
Hernandez topped Willamette with four total shots and two shots on goal. Hanlon-Austin earned three shots. Owens recorded three shots for the Bruins.
The Bearcats and Pacific University are tied for first place in the NWC at 3-1. Whitworth University and Whitman College share second place at 2-1-1, and Pacific Lutheran University is fifth at 2-2. PLU edged Whitworth, 3-2 in two overtimes on Sunday.
Willamette will play at home next weekend on Saturday, Oct. 1 and Sunday, Oct. 2. On Saturday, the Bearcats will battle University of Puget Sound at 2:30 p.m. (PDT). On Sunday, WU will take on Pacifc Lutheran, also at 2:30 p.m.
NOTE: The photo above of McGonigle (#24) was taken earlier this year in Willamette's regular season opener against Warner Pacific.