Gross Scores Goal at 60:17, Woody Stops PK with 1:54 Left, as Willamette Defeats Whitworth, 1-0

SALEM, ORE. Sophomore forward Emily Gross (Medford, OR/North Medford HS) tapped in a shot near the left post to complete a corner kick by Willamette University and senior goalkeeper Kari Woody (Boise, ID/Timberline HS) saved a penalty kick with 1:54 left, as the Bearcats remained in first place in the Northwest Conference with a 1-0 victory over Whitworth College, Saturday, Oct. 14 at Sparks Field. Willamette, tied for 13th in the NCAA Division III National Rankings, improved to 11-1-1 on the season, 8-1-0 in the NWC. Whitworth, ranked #20 in Division III, fell to 8-2-2 overall, 6-2-1 in the NWC.

Willamette moved to 24 points in the NWC standings, while Whitworth remained at 19 points, but fell from second place into third. The University of Puget Sound, which defeated Linfield College 2-1 in McMinnville, Ore., also on Oct. 14, improved to 6-1-2 in the NWC to claim second place with 20 points.

The game's only goal was started by Laura Uhlmansiek (Sr., MF, Woodenville, WA/Overlake HS), when she took a corner kick from the attacking left side of the field. Her pass was headed down by Samantha Post (So., D, Philomath, OR/Philomath HS) from 13 yards out. The header eluded defenders and WC goalie Leah Motz, then rolled toward the goal after reaching ground just a few yards out. Gross ran onto the ball from the left side and tapped it the final two yards into the net. The goal, scored at 60:17, was Gross' fifth goal of the season. Post and Uhlmansiek received assists on the play.

Willamette kept its 1-0 lead the rest of the way, but Whitworth had several chances to equalize. At 73:34, Penelope Crowe took a shot that sailed just over the hands of Wood and hit the crossbar. Later, at 83:51, Crow took a shot on an indirect free kick inside the penalty box, but Woody, somewhat screened by Willamette's defensive wall, stopped the shot. Woody preserved the shutout, Willamette's 10th in 13 games, when she also went low and to her left to stop a penalty kick attempt by Jael Hagerott at 88:06.

The penalty kick resulted when WU's Kelsey Rogel (So., D, Tacoma, WA/Bellarmine Prep) was called for a foul inside the Willamette penalty area. Hagerott kept her shot low, but Woody recorded her fifth save of the game. Rogel was issued the game's only yellow card for arguing the call.

Whitworth achieved a 14-9 edge in total shots and a 5-2 advantage in shots on goal. Both teams had one shot cleared off the goal line by a defender, and Willamette had a goal disallowed in the first half. Susan Butler (Sr., MF, Boise, ID/Boise HS) appeared to score on a header following a lengthy free kick, but Willamette was called for a foul.

Willamette earned five corner kicks and did not allow a corner kick by the Pirates. WU also was called for 19 fouls, while Whitworth was charged with six fouls.

Woody, who now has eight solo shutouts and two shared shutouts, lowered her goals against average to 0.24. She also has 47 saves on the season and a .940 save percentage. Motz earned one save in goal for the Pirates.

The Bearcats will host Whitman College in another Northwest Conference game on Sunday, Oct. 15. Game time is slated for 12 p.m. (PDT). Earlier this season, Willamette defeated Whitman, 1-0, in Walla Walla, Wash., in the NWC opener for both teams on Sept. 16.