By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- Nicholas Ballenger (Sr., F, Salem, OR/West Salem HS/Oregon State Univ.) of Willamette University scored on a 52-yard chip shot over the Trinity University (Texas) goalkeeper on a counter-attack in the first half, and the Bearcats went on to tie the #9-ranked Tigers, 1-1 in two overtimes, on Sunday, Sept. 1 at Paul McGinlay Field. Willamette and Trinity are both 1-0-1 on the season.
Willamette began the year with a 4-0 victory over Howard Payne University (Texas) on Saturday (Aug. 31). Trinity, which entered the weekend ranked #9 in the NCAA Division III Preseason Poll released by United Soccer Coaches, edged past University of Texas-Dallas, 2-1 in one overtime on Friday.
"This match was a fantastic test and experience for our guys. To be able to get a match with a team of their caliber and see what it's like to compete against a program that is regularly making deep runs in the national tournament is huge for us."
— Willamette Head Coach Jared Rust
Ballenger's goal was scored at 27:11, just seconds after Willamette stopped a Trinity attack near the top of the penalty area. Max Berner-Hays (Jr., D, Seattle, WA/Ballard HS) tackled the ball away and sent the ball 30 yards upfield. Tam Proctor (So., D, Seattle, WA/The Northwest School) received the pass and quickly sent a short pass to Ballenger just inside the center circle. Ballenger dribbled forward until he was several yards past the midfield stripe, then took a chip shot over Trinity goalie Blake Lieberman, who started the play about 28 yards away from the goal. Lieberman dashed back, but had no chance to prevent the goal.
Each team took five shots in the first 45 minutes, but only one shot per team was on target. Ballenger was successful with WU's shot on goal. Jacob Hallenberger took Trinity's accurate shot on a powerful free kick from 24 yards out with 1:22 left in the half. Willamette goalie Mason Kelliher (Sr., GK, Wellington, N.Z./Wellington College), positioned one the center of the goal line, used both hands to punch the shot wide of the net. Willamette maintained a 1-0 lead at halftime.
The Tigers equalized the score when Quentin Van Der Lee converted a penalty kick at 53:39. The penalty kick was given after a Trinity player went down near the top of the penalty area while battling a Bearcat for possession. Van Der Lee shot on the ground and a few feet inside the right upright. Kelliher dove in the correct direction, but just missed being able to deflect the shot.
Neither team scored a goal during the remainder of regulation or in either of the two 10-minute overtime periods. Trinity outshot Willamette 7-4 in the second half, but the Bearcats achieved a 3-2 edge in the first overtime and held a 5-2 margin in the second overtime. Willamette faced a couple of strong threats from Trinity early in the second overtime, but the Bearcats kept control of the ball for most of the final four minutes.
Ryan Sato (So., MF, Sunnyvale, CA/Homestead HS) took a shot for the Bearcats that was blocked and 106:28 and Carter McCleary (Jr., F, Port Hadlock, WA/Chimacum HS) followed with another shot eight seconds later. Sato sent a shot wide at 108:21 and Ballenger had a shot blocked at 109:05.
In addition, the Bearcats earned four corner kicks in the second overtime, including three in the final three minutes. The first corner led to a header by Berner-Hays that was blocked at 101:54, but the final three corners did not lead directly to shots for the Bearcats.
For the game, WU gained a 17-16 lead in total shots, while Trinity achieved a 5-2 edge in shots on goal. Willamette held a slim 8-7 margin in corner kicks. Kelliher finished with four saves. Juan Carlos Vidales, who played the final 65 minutes for Trinity, registered one save.
About 10 minutes into the game, the action was delayed by lightning for roughly 50 minutes. The game finished nearly three hours and nine minutes after it started.
"We are proud of the performance we put together, and now are focused on a quality week of training; correcting and perfecting some specific areas of our game in order to prepare for out next set of matches."
— Coach Rust
The Bearcats will return to Salem, Oregon, to take on crosstown rival Corban University on Friday, Sept. 6. Game time at Willamette's Sparks Field is scheduled for 7 p.m. (PDT). Corban, 1-0, is ranked #16 in the NAIA Preseason Poll released by United Soccer Coaches. Willamette also will play at home on Saturday, Sept. 7 against Northwest Christian University (Ore.) at 2 p.m.
Nicholas Ballenger (Sr., F, Salem, OR/West Salem HS/Oregon State Univ.) of Willamette University scored on a 52-yard chip shot over the Trinity University (Texas) goalkeeper on a counter-attack in the first half, and the Bearcats went on to tie the #9-ranked Tigers, 1-1 in two overtimes, on Sunday, Sept. 1 at Paul McGinlay Field. Willamette and Trinity are both 1-0-1 on the season