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Men’s soccer team nearly scores back-to-back wins

Ivy Yeoh

Staff writer

Willamette University and Corban University played each other to a draw at Sparks Field this past Friday, Sept. 6. On the following day, Saturday, Sept. 7, the Bearcats defeated Northwest Christian University (NCU) 3-0 at Sparks Field. 

Nicholas Ballenger and a Corban player chase a stray ball. Photo: WU Athletics

On Friday, Corban and WU each took nine shots, but none made it in the net. The closest the Bearcats came was on a header by junior Max Berner-Hays at 87:13 following a corner kick. Berner-Hays sent his header past Corban goalie Nic Farr, but the ball went less than two feet wide of the left post. Sophomore Yushiro Shiomi topped the WU offensive chart with three total shots, including one of Willamette’s two shots on goal. The other shot on goal was taken by senior Patrick Charlton. 

Corban’s Nate Sherwood had the best goal attempt for the Warriors early in the second half at 73:01. His shot from the top right edge of the penalty area forced WU’s goalie, senior Mason Kelliher, to reach up and deflect the ball. Kelliher was on the center of the goal line, but was able to push the ball to his right, just enough to send it past the far post. 

By the end of the game, Willamette held a 24-19 edge in total fouls, but the Warriors received five of the game’s eight yellow cards. The game ended scoreless in double overtime. 

The following day, sophomore Ryan Sato helped lead WU to a 3-0 shutout win against NCU. Sato opened the scoring with a free kick from just outside the penalty area at 15:03. His shot from the left side curled into the upper right corner of the goal, bringing the score to 1-0. 

The Bearcats retained their 1-0 lead at the end of the first half, and scored again at the start of the second half. Sato started the play on a 23-yard free kick, this time from the top left corner of the box. Following a foul by NCU’s Christoph Mai on junior Mack van der Velde, Sato sent the ball toward the middle of the six-yard box, where Berner-Hays connected on a diving header from four yards out to give WU a 2-0 lead.

Junior Carter McCleary scored a goal just 10 minutes later, giving the Bearcats a 3-0 edge. First-year Pierce Gallaway was 25 yards out when he passed the ball to sophomore Josh Schneider, who dribbled the ball upfield. Schneider kicked the ball straight across the top of the box, and McCleary shot the ball into the upper left corner of the net, ensuring the goal and the win for WU. The Bearcats ended the game with an 18-8 edge in total shots and a 9-2 advantage in shots on goal. The victory at Sparks Field improved the Bearcats to 2-0-2 for the season.

Willamette’s men’s soccer team returns to action on Sparks Field this Friday, Sept. 13, against the California Institute of Technology in the third game of a five-game homestand. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. (PST).

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