Whitworth Builds Early Lead in 5-2 Win over Bearcats

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

SALEM, ORE. -- Whitworth University scored three goals in the first 9:25 on its way to a 5-2 victory over Willamette University on Saturday, Oct. 31 at Sparks Field. WU recovered from the early deficit to battle the Pirates for much of the contest, cutting the lead to 3-1 before halftime and pulling within 4-2 in the 77th minute.

Even so, the Pirates held at least a two-goal lead throughout the second half. Whitworth improved to 11-2-3 on the season, 9-1-2 in the Northwest Conference. Willamette fell to 4-13 overall, 3-9 in the NWC.

Brent Zahn tallied the first two goals of the game for Whitworth. His first goal was scored at 4:10 and was followed by his second goal several minutes later at 8:21.

The opening goal was on a shot from 4-yards after a near collision with Willamette goalkeeper Mark Bennett (Sr., Salt Lake City, UT/West HS) on a loose ball about 15 yards from goal. The ball squirted away and Zahn was able to shoot into the empty net.

The second goal was scored on a redirection of a corner kick from Cameron Bushey. Zahn was about 10 yards out on the right side and was able to deflect the ball on target with a full volley shot.

Just 1:04 after Zahn's second goal, Justin Meyer scored on an assist from Elly Bulega, giving the Pirates a 3-0 lead. Meyer was on the left side of the field and behind the defense when he took a crossing pass from Bulega, who was about five yards from the end line. Meyer shot into the left half of the net from 7 yards.

Casey Dineen (Sr., MF, Portland, OR/Jesuit HS) scored for Willamette at 41:04 to get the Bearcats on the scoreboard before the halftime break. He found a loose ball and shot from six yards into the lower right corner.

Willamette had six shots in the first 20 minutes of the second half, but couldn't score to cut the lead to a single goal.

Several of the opportunities were quality chances that went high or wide. Loftin Langsdorf (Fr., MF, Vancouver, WA/Columbia River HS), however, forced a save on a shot from 10-yards out and a bit to the right of the goal just 2:02 into the second period.

His blast went toward the near post. Kyle Novak, who played the final 45 minutes in goal for Whitworth, made the save.

Whitworth increased its lead to 4-1 on a goal by Nate Spangler at 66:05. Spangler shot from 15 yards and placed the ball in the right corner. He was assisted by Bulega and Keith Kirsch on an offensive attack that included several quick passes.

The Bearcats recorded their second goal on a shot by Erik Kaufman (So., F, Portland, OR/Grant HS) assist by Ivan Gutierrez (Sr., MF, Stayton, OR/Cathedral Prep) at 76:38.

Gutierrez controlled the ball just inside the top of the penalty area. He sent a short pass to Kaufman, who turned and shot into the goal from nine yards out. Whitworth led 4-2.

Willamette had a chance to pull within one goal a bit over two minutes later at 78:52. Gutierrez took a powerful shot from about 25 yards that hit the right post and deflected out of bounds.

Taylor Willi of Whitworth completed the scoring at 80:33. He scored unassisted on a 12-yard shot.

The Pirates outshot Willamette 5-3 in the first half. The Bearcats earned a 13-9 edge in shots during the second half. Whitworth finished the game with a 9-6 advantage in shots on goal.

Bennett registered four saves for Willamette. Novak made three saves for the Pirates. Whitworth's starting goalie, Brian Sherpe, did not make a save while playing the first 45 minutes.

Willamette honored its five seniors prior to the match. This year's seniors are Bennett, Dineen, Gutierrez, Luke Lagattuta (Sr., MF/D, Albuquerque, NM/Highland HS) and Andrew Monbouquette (Sr., MF, Omaha, NE/Omaha Central HS).

The Bearcats will play at home on Sunday, Nov. 1 against NWC rival Whitman College. Kickoff at Sparks Field is slated for 1:30 p.m. (PST).

Whitworth University 5
Willamette University 2
Erik Kaufman scored a quality goal on an assist from Ivan Gutierrez. It was Kaufman's sixth goal of the season.

Erik Kaufman scored a quality goal on an assist from Ivan Gutierrez. It was Kaufman's sixth goal of the season.