By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director
McMINNVILLE, Ore. -- Alan Hernandez (Jr., M, Tigard, OR/Tigard HS) scored two goals for Willamette University, including the game-winning goal with less than 25 minutes remaining, to lead the Bearcats past archrival Linfield College, 2-1, in a Northwest Conference men's soccer game on Saturday, Oct. 8. WU goalkeeper Josh Fuentes (Sr., GK, Salem, OR/South Salem HS) helped the Bearcats secure the win by making seven saves.
Willamette improved to 7-3 overall, 5-2-0 (15 points) in the Northwest Conference. The Bearcats remain in second place in the NWC, one point behind two-time defending champion Whitworth University (5-1-1, 16 points). Linfield dropped to 0-10-2 on the season, 0-6-1 in the NWC. Five of Linfield's six losses in NWC action have been by a single goal.
Hernandez gave WU a 1-0 lead with a shot from just over 18 yards at 20:51. Maxwell McKee (So., F, Coronado, CA/Coronado HS) assisted on the play. Linfield's goal was scored by Brian DeGrandmont and assisted by Joey Grachek at 40:02. The teams were still tied 1-1 at halftime.
The Wildcats held a 10-3 margin in total shots after 45 minutes, including a 6-1 lead in shots on goal. Fuentes recorded five of his seven saves in the first half.
Each team hit the crossbar once while the score was still tied in the second half. Ethan Tait (Sr., F, Turlock, CA/Turlock HS) almost gave WU the lead near the start of the half, but his shot bounced off the crossbar at 46:34. Tait also had a shot saved by Linfield goalie Jorge Rodriguez at 57:11. Rhys Lendio of Linfield hit the crossbar for the Wildcat at 58:29.
Hernandez provided Willamette with the game-winning goal on a penalty kick at 65:29. The Bearcats are 3 for 3 on penalty kicks this season.
Fuentes made a save on a shot by Dylan Leathers at 79:09. Later, a shot by Leathers went wide of the goal at 87:30.
Willamette outshot Linfield 7-4 in the second half, but the Wildcats held a 14-10 edge in shots for the game. Linfield also owned an 8-3 margin in shots on goal.
The Bearcats will return to action on Saturday, Oct. 15 at Pacific Lutheran University. Game time in Parkland, Washington, is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. (PDT).