Boxers Sneak Past Bearcats, 1-0, on Penalty Kick

Joe Plaster (Fr., D, San Diego,CA/University City HS)
Joe Plaster (Fr., D, San Diego,CA/University City HS)

By Timothy Walsh, Athletics Communications Writer

FOREST GROVE, Ore. – Willamette University outshot Pacific University on Saturday, Sept. 26, but a penalty kick in the 39th minute allowed the Boxers to topple the Bearcats, 1-0, in a Northwest Conference men's soccer match at Hanson Stadium.

Willamette suffered its third consecutive 1-0 loss, following identical defeats to Whitman College and Whitworth University last weekend. The Bearcats dropped to 1-6-1 overall, 0-3 in the NWC.  Pacific improved 3-5-0 on the year, 1-2 in the NWC.

The Boxers' Matt Kimball scored the game's only goal at 38:44, sending a penalty kick past Willamette goalkeeper Braydon Calder (Sr., Philomath, OR/Philomath HS) after a Bearcat was whistled for a hand ball in the box.

Willamette had two terrific chances to tie the match in the final two minutes. A shot by the Bearcats' Joe Plaster (Fr., D, San Diego, CA/University HS) caromed off the post at 88:17. Less than a minute later, a goal-bound effort from Tyler Yates (Sr., F, Kailua-Kona, HI/Kealakehe HS) was blocked with 49 seconds left.

The game began slowly, with over nine minutes passing until the Boxers' Kellan McNamara took the game's first shot. Calder made a comfortable save on McNamara's effort.

Royce Romero (Jr., D/M, Waipahu, HI/Punahou School) registered Willamette's first shot at 10:41, one of five Bearcat shots in the first half. However, none of the attempts forced Pacific goalkeeper Leyton Thommasen into a save.

Neither team recorded any more shots until 57:27, when Calder saved Kimball's attempt to double his tally. Calder notched another save at 69:05, stopping Shawn Opfer's effort.

The Bearcats dominated the game's final 20 minutes, putting four shots toward Thommasen's goal, including a header from Jesse Thompson (Sr., F, Santa Ynez, CA/Santa Ynez Valley Union HS) at 85:59 that Thommasen saved, Plaster's unlucky miss off the woodwork, and Yates' blocked effort.

Willamette outshot the Boxers 9-4 on the day, and held a 7-0 advantage in corner kicks. The two teams combined for 28 fouls, including three yellow cards. Thompson and Alan Hernandez (So., F, Tigard, OR/Tigard HS) went into the book for the Bearcats, while Eamonn Hartmann earned a caution for Pacific.

Willamette returns home to Sparks Field on Sunday, Sept. 27, to host George Fox University. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. (PDT).