By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SALEM, Ore. -- Aoi Sawanobori (So., M, Kofu, Japan/TIUA) of Willamette University scored on a 7-yard shot from the right side into the upper right corner of the goal with 3:23 left in the first overtime to send the Bearcats to a 2-1 win over Lewis & Clark College on Wednesday, Oct. 2. It was Sawanobori's first goal since joining the Bearcats this season. The sudden-death goal at Sparks Field allowed Willamette to improve to 5-3-1 overall and to 4-0-1 in the NWC. Lewis & Clark fell 3-5-1 overall, 2-3-0 in the NWC.
L&C outshot Willamette 15-9 overall and 5-3 in shots on goal. Two of Willamette's three shots on goal were during the winning play, as an initial shot by Gena Main (Sr., F, San Francisco, CA/Gateway HS/Bryn Mawr College) was cleared off the line by a defender. Sawanobori stole the ball moments later and took the winning shot.
"It was an exciting finish tonight! Congratulations to Aoi Sawanobori for her game-winning goal. The team played well and fought hard to secure the win. And a huge congratulations to our goalkeeper Kristen Barclay for her outstanding performance and penalty save on the night. Also, we had a great goal from Emma Blackburn to get us on the board."
— Willamette Head Coach Hillary Arthur
The Bearcats scored first at 20:26 when Emma Blackburn (So., F, Los Altos, CA/Saint Francis HS) sent a shot from 14-yards on the left side into the right side-netting. Blackburn was assisted by Shanna Annie Strom (Sr., D, Mount Vernon, WA/Mount Vernon HS).
Lewis & Clark had a chance to tie the game when the Pioneers were awarded a penalty kick at 29:33. WU goalie Kristen Barclay (Sr., GK, Kenmore, WA/Cedar Park Christian School) was called for the foul that led to the penalty kick. Barclay was diving across the goal line to punch out a cross. Officials ruled that Barclay missed the ball and inadvertently hit an L&C player in the face while completing the dive.
Barclay was issued a yellow card, and Caroline Hennes prepared to take the penalty kick. Hennes' kick went goalward about two yards inside the right post, but Barclay dove and cleanly saved the shot.
Less than four minutes later at 33:01, Shelby Vaver scored a goal for the Pioneers to create a 1-1 tie. Vavers received a pass from Anna Saucedo into the middle of the penalty area and about eight yards out. Vaver spun to avoid a defender and shot into the net.
The teams were still deadlocked at halftime and at the end of regulation.
Jezza Hutto of L&C took the best shot of the second half. Her header from nine yards following a corner kick went toward the right post, where Julia Fecteau (So., F, Bend, OR/Bend HS) headed the ball off the line. Fecteau's header sent the ball toward the middle of the goal about a yard in front of the goal line, where Barclay grabbed it to end the threat.
The series of events that led to the winning goal began with the Bearcats earning a corner kick. The ball went near the top of the six-yard box where Main shot at 96:31. After the ball was cleared off the line, L&C attempted to move out of the penalty area. Sawanobori stole the ball and shot with her right foot. She placed the ball just inside the upper corner of the near post at 96:37, above L&C goalie Megan Sawyer, who had most of the post covered.
Barclay recorded four saves for the Bearcats. Sawyer did not make a save, but directed the L&C defense well, as the Pioneers limited Willamette's chances to shoot. Willamette's goal-scoring shots were struck well by Blackburn and Sawanobori.
Willamette will host Pacific Lutheran University at Sparks Field on Sunday, Oct. 6. The Lutes, who are currently 4-0-0, will play at George Fox University on Saturday, Oct. 5, before facing the Bearcats.