Bearcat Teams Fare Well At Home To Open Season

It was a fast and furious weekend for Willamette University Athletics and the Bearcats responded with some stellar performances. In all, Bearcat teams in volleyball, women’s soccer and football won five of six contests at home this weekend.

The Bearcats posted several Northwest Conference honorable mention performances this weekend. Sophomore Laura Uhlmansiek (one goal, three assists) and senior defender Kara Forsyth earned NWC honors, as did volleyball’s Lauren Thompson (44 kills in four matches).

Men’s soccer, traveling to Evergreen College faced a tougher time, losing a pair of games on the road. A full recap of the weekend follows.

Football Team Stuns Western Oregon:

Steve Wilbon rushed for 114 yards and Willamette’s defense shut out Western Oregon in the second half as the Bearcats scored 31 straight points in a come-from-behind 38-21 victory over Western ‘Oregon in the season opener last Saturday night.

After Western scored on its first possession, quarterback Cameron Walton broke loose on a 48-yard touchdown run to tie the score. Western responded by taking a 21-7 lead. But the Bearcats scored twice in the final 3:23 of the first half — including a Jeff Kent blocked punt that linebacker Megdy Khoury took into the end zone — to trail by one at halftime.

After halftime it was all Bearcats as Calvin Keyser-Allen, Wilbon and Walton led a punishing ground game that racked up 351 yards on the ground. The Bearcat defense — led by Nate Matlock, Logan Lord and a strong effort by the Bearcat defensive backfield — held Western to only 45 yards rushing.

After the win over DII Western Oregon, the schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Bearcats. Willamette travels to Texas this Saturday to face University of Mary Hardin Baylor, a team that beat the Bearcats last season, 27-15 and are currently ranked No. 8 in the DIII Top 25.

Fans can listen live to the game over the Bearcat internet or on KBZY radio. Game-time is 5:30 pm Pacific time.

Volleyball Races to 3-1 start:

Paced by All-American Kristen Halleck, and hitters Angie Sammons and Lauren Thompson, the Bearcats took three of four matches in the Willamette Invitational last weekend.

The Bearcats opened the season last Friday with a 3-game sweep of University of Puget Sound, 30-12, 30-23, 30-25.

Friday night, Willamette again swept a 3-game match, this time against Claremont Mudd Scripps College, 30-28, 30-20, 30-25.

The Bearcats swept another Northwest Conference team Saturday afternoon, taking out the Whitman Missionaries 30-25, 30-14, 30-13.

Cal State Hayward, which finished the invitational 4-0, handed the Bearcats their first loss of the season in a grueling 5-game match Saturday night to close the tournament, 30-28, 25-30, 25-30, 30-25 and 15-11.

For the weekend, the Bearcats were led by Halleck (49 kills, 80 digs), Sammons (48 kills), Thompson (44 kills), Celia Batlan (62 digs and Veronica Schneider (40 digs).

Coach Tricia Wright’s squad heads to Gettysburg, PA this weekend to take on Seton Hill University and McDaniel College on Friday. Saturday’s opponents will be determined by Friday’s games.

The team’s next home match is September 14 as they begin NWC play with a match against Lewis and Clark.
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Women’s Soccer Whips Southern Oregon 5-1:

Sophomore Laura Uhlmansiek scored the Bearcats first goal just 2:30 into the match, and then assisted on three others as Willamette defeated Southern Oregon University 5-1 Saturday afternoon in their season opener.

Sophomore Michelle Gregoire scored two goals off headers. Susan Butler and Jessica Lammers also found the back of the net for the Bearcats as they kept their 73-match home unbeaten streak alive.

Willamette also travels to Gettysburg, PA next weekend to take on John Carroll University on Friday and Gettysburg College on Saturday in the Gettysburg Invitational. The team’s next home match is September 15 as they open NWC play with a game against Linfield College.

Men’s Soccer Off to Tough Start:

After a season-opening 0-0 tie against Cascade College last Wednesday, the Bearcat men’s soccer team faced Evergreen College and the University of British Columbia in a pair of games at the Evergreen Tournament this weekend.

Despite losing both games, 5-0, head coach Jeff Enquist saw some positive signs for a team trying to fit a half dozen new players into the line-up. Enquist said his starting lineups performed well in both games over the weekend, but the Bearcats lost ground when they substituted heavily in the second half of each game.

The Bearcat men stay busy this week, taking on Warren Pacific College at Sparks Field on Wednesday and traveling down the road to play western Baptist College on Saturday. Friday’s game against Northwest College has been cancelled.