Fleener Nets Opener, but Whitman Rallies Past Bearcats, 2-1

Physical Match Features 26 Fouls, Two Yellow Cards

By Timothy Walsh, Assistant Athletics Communications Director

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University forward Rachel Fleener (So., Olympia, WA/Olympia HS) scored her second goal in as many games, but visiting Whitman College overcame an early deficit to rally for a 2-1 victory in a Northwest Conference women's soccer match at Sparks Field on Saturday, Sept. 21.

Whitman improved its record to 6-1 on the season, 2-1 in the NWC. Willamette dropped to 2-4 overall, 0-2 in the NWC. Each of the Bearcats' last three losses have been by one goal margins.

Fleener's unassisted opener came on Willamette's first shot, just 17:51 into the contest. After beating a defender at the top of the box, the sophomore fired a shot from 15 yards past Whitman goalkeeper Emily Davis.

The goal, Fleener's third of the season, was only the fourth conceded by the Missionaries this year.

Searching for an equalizer, Whitman piled on the pressure throughout the remainder of the first half, holding the Bearcats without a shot for the rest of the period while finding five chances of their own.

At 30:48, the Missionaries' Brianna Brown found space to create Whitman's first shot on goal, but Willamette goalkeeper Nicole Price (Sr., Auburn, WA/Thomas Jefferson HS) made the save.

Brown was luckier on her second attempt, which came at the 42:03 mark of the first half. Brown latched on the end of a loose ball in the box and made no mistake, slotting into the lower right corner from 16 yards away to knot the score at 1-1.

With both teams searching for a victory, Willamette's Sarah Desautels (Jr., MF/F, Snohomish, WA/Glacier Peak HS) put the Bearcats' first shot of the second half on frame, forcing Davis into her first save of the match.

But it was Whitman's Kelsey Peck who ultimately broke the deadlock at 56:13, taking a pass from Brown and tapping home from two yards after beating Price to the ball.

The match's remaining 35 minutes featured few shots, but plenty of physical play, including 16 total fouls. WU's Malia Simpson (Jr., MF, Fairbanks, AK/West Valley HS) tallied the Bearcats' only other shot of the match, lifting an attempt over the crossbar at the 74:35 mark.

Whitman attained a 9-3 edge in shots, including a 4-2 margin in shots on goal. The Missionaries also earned a 3-1 advantage in corner kicks.

The Bearcats will play one more home games on Alumni Weekend, hosting Whitworth University on Sunday, Sept. 22, at 12:30 p.m. (PDT).

BOX SCORE

Whitman College 2
Willamette University 1

Post-game Interviews

Rachel Fleener scored her second goal in two games to give the Bearcats an early 1-0 lead.

Rachel Fleener scored her second goal in two games to give the Bearcats an early 1-0 lead.