By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SALEM, Ore. -- Ryan Sato (So., MF, Sunnyvale, CA/Homestead HS) scored on a direct free kick at 71:12 to break a 1-1 tie and send Willamette University to a 2-1 victory over Warner Pacific University in an exhibition game for the Bearcats on Monday, Aug. 19 at Sparks Field. It was the season opener for Warner Pacific, which fell to 0-1.
Willamette competes in NCAA Division III and the Northwest Conference. The Knights compete in the NAIA and the Cascade Collegiate Conference.
Sato's game-winning kick was taken from about 25 yards out near the center of the field. He blasted the ball into the upper right corner of the goal.
The Bearcats originally moved in front just 7:20 into the game, when Yushiro Shiomi (So., D, Kyoto, Japan/TIUA) headed in a corner kick taken by Edwin Ortiz (Fr., M, Salem, OR/North Salem HS). Yushiro was about eight yards out near the left post and powered the header back across the goal into the right corner.
Warner Pacific tied the game about 13 minutes later at 20:30. Alexis Figueroa scored the goal from just outside the penalty area after stealing a pass from goalkeeper Anthony Richard-Bassett (Jr., GK, Salem, OR/South Salem HS). The teams remained tied at 1-1 when the game reached the halftime break. The Knights outshot the Bearcats 7-4 in the first half, but they held a slimmer 4-3 edge in shots on goal.
Richard-Bassett registered three saves for the Bearcats during the half. Mason Kelliher (Sr., GK, Wellington, N.Z./Wellington College) moved into the goal for Willamette in the second half, but did not have to make a save. Juan Inzunza earned two saves for WPC with both occurring in the first half.
In the second half, Willamette gained a 4-1 advantage in total shots, as both teams finished with eight shots for the game. Sato's game-winner was the only shot on target in the second half, as both teams limited the number of quality attempts. The only shot in the final 45 minutes for the Knights was taken by Cesar Contreras at 47:31. His shot went wide right. Sato earned two shots for WU in the second half, including a shot that went wide left less than two minutes after he scored the Bearcats' second goal.
A total of 27 Bearcats played during the game, while the Knights used 19 players. A total of 36 fouls were called, with 25 infractions against Willamette and 11 fouls against Warner Pacific.
Willamette will play another exhibition game for the Bearcats on Saturday, Aug. 24, when the team will battle crosstown rival Corban University. Game time is set for 11 a.m. (PDT).