Bearcats and Wildcats Tie again, as Willamette Moves to 10-0-3, 6-0-3 in NWC

Lacey Jones (So., F, Portland, OR/David Douglas HS)
Lacey Jones (So., F, Portland, OR/David Douglas HS)

By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications

McMINNVILLE, Ore. -- Willamette University and Linfield College have played two women's soccer games this season. and each has ended in a tie. The most recent deadlock was a 1-1 draw in two overtimes on Wednesday, Oct. 10 at the Linfield Soccer Field. Lacey Jones (So., F, Portland, OR/David Douglas HS) provided a goal for Willamette, while Natalie Amara scored for the Wildcats. Earlier this fall on Sept. 12, the Bearcats and Linfield tied 2-2 in two overtimes at Sparks Field on the Willamette campus.

At the end of the twilight match, Willamette remained undefeated with a 10-0-3 overall record and a 6-0-3 mark in the NWC. Linfield moved to 6-3-4 on the season and to 3-2-4 in the NWC.

"Tonight we played hard for 110 minutes," Willamette Head Coach Hillary Arthur commented. "We defended well against Linfield, which has a fast attack and likes to get a lot of players forward. Unfortunately for us, they were awarded a penalty kick on a questionable handball. So, maybe a little unlucky for us, but every game provides learning moments and an opportunity to improve. I'm proud of the effort tonight."

Willamette is in first place in the NWC standings with 21 points. Whitworth University (5-1-2) and University of Puget Sound (5-1-2) are tied for second place with 17 points. Pacific Lutheran University (5-2-1) is fourth with 16 points. Linfield is fifth with 13 points.

On Wednesday, the Bearcats and the Wildcats were tied 0-0 at halftime following 45 minutes mostly controlled by the defenses. Linfield held a slim 5-4 lead at halftime, and each team had just one shot on goal.

The Bearcats gained some momentum with quality play at the start of the second half, but Linfield had the first strong chance to score when Amara took a direct free kick at 63:03. The kick was lined up about 23 yards out near the top left corner of the box. Amara sent the ball around Willamette's defensive wall, but Bearcat goalkeeper Kristen Barclay (Jr., GK, Kenmore, WA/Cedar Park Christian School) fwas able to make a save and keep possession. Barclay took a step to her right and crouched as the ball arrived.

A series of plays led to Willamette's goal and a 1-0 lead for the Bearcats. First, Shanna Keil (Jr., F, Danville, CA/San Ramon Valley HS) took a corner kick at 66:24 that led to a shot by Annie Strom (Jr., D, Mount Vernon, WA/Mount Vernon HS) that was blocked by a Linfield defender.

Less than a minute later, Rachael Moulton (Jr., D, Seattle, WA/Shorecrest HS) provided a long throw-in that went to Sydney Wilson (Fr., M, Olympia, WA/Capital HS). Wilson was guarded by several defenders about eight yards from the corner flag, but some how sent a line-drive pass into the middle. Keil received the pass and toe-poked a shot that hit the crossbar. The ball bounced back into play, where Keil headed it up into the air near the left post. The ball bounced twice and then Jones kicked it into the net at 67:22.

Less than two minutes later, Amara scored the tying goal for Linfield on a penalty kick. The play resulted from a handball called on a Willamette defender when the ball bounced inside the penalty area without any Linfield players nearby. Amara sent the penalty shot into the lower left corner of the goal at 68:13.

The penalty call was similar to a call against Willamette when the teams met earlier this year. In that game, the ball was higher in the air when a Willamette defender's arm touched it with no attackers near the play. Lexi Kerr of Linfield scored on the penalty kick with 39 seconds left in the half to give the Wildcats a 2-1 lead, but Keil equalized at 80:59. Linfield's two penalty kicks are the only spot kick attempts allowed by the Bearcats this year.

In the rematch, Linfield gained momentum following the tying goal, but Barclay saved a shot by Michayla Sponsel at 70:46 and Amara hit the corner of the crossbar at 74:00. At 74:21, Jamie Mars took a shot for Linfield, but it was blocked by a defender.

Each team created a couple more chances in regulation. For Linfield, Sponsel sent a sharp-angle shot wide left at 75:13, and Amidee Colleknon had a shot saved by Barclay at 84:08. For WU, Wilson missed wide at 84:42 amd Jenae Arnold (Jr., M, Poulsbo, WA/North Kitsap HS) took a shot that was saved by Linfield goalie Madi Reimer at 87:02.

Willamette had the bulk of possession in the first overtime and outshot the Wildcats 2-0. Kate Matthews (Sr., M, Bainbridge Island, WA/Bainbridge HS) missed wide at 90:33 and Moulton took a free kick that was high at 91:26. In the second overtime, Sydney Kuehn of Linfield sent a shot well over the goal at 1:06.46, and Keil missed wide right for Willamette on a promising shot at 108:20.

Barclay finished with five saves for the Bearcats. Reimer made three saves for Linfield. Willamette gained a 17-14 advantage in total shots, while Linfield earned a 6-4 edge in shots on goal. Each team took two corner kicks.

The Bearcats will host Lewis & Clark College at Sparks Field on Saturday, Oct. 13 as part of Homecoming/Family Weekend. Kickoff is set for 12 p.m. (PDT).

Sydney Wilson (Fr., M, Olympia, WA/Capital HS)

Big Moment of the Game for Willamette

Sydney Wilson entered the game less than four minutes
before she received a long throw-in just outside the right
edge of the penalty area and about eight yards from the
corner flag. Several defenders were nearby, but Wilson
sent a line-drive pass into the center of the penalty area.
Her on-target pass to Shanna Kiel led to a  7-yard shot off
the crossbar that led to the goal scored by Lacey Jones.