By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- The Willamette University Bearcats built a 2-0 lead in the first half of their Northwest Conference game at Whitman College on Sunday, Oct. 2. Whitman rallied to tie the score with less than 17 minutes remaining in the second half, before Sean Kim (Jr., F, Sunnyvale, CA/Homestead HS) scored the game-winner five minutes later, providing the Bearcats with a 3-2 victory over the Blues. The win gave Willamette two one-goal victories on the weekend after the Bearcats claimed a 2-1 win at Whitworth University on Saturday, Oct. 1.
Willamette set a school record with the team's 12th consecutive win or tie, breaking the previous record of 11 set in 1982 (all wins) and again from late in the 1999 season through early in the 2021 fall season. The current streak began with wins in the final two games of 2021.
In addition to the winning goal by Kim, the Bearcats also received goals from Pierce Gallaway (Sr., M, Carmel, CA/Carmel HS) and Luke Varav (So., M, Newbury Park, CA/Newbury Park HS). The Bearcats, who entered the weekend ranked #10 in the NCAA Division III Men's Soccer National Poll released by the United Soccer Coaches, improved their record to 8-0-2 overall and to 6-0-0 in the NWC.
Whitman's goals were scored by Sawyer Valero and Noa Taylor. The Blues fell to 5-6-1 on the season, 2-3-1 in the NWC.
"It's a historic weekend, getting six points on the Whits trip," Willamette Head Men's Soccer Coach Sam Adelman said. "We competed all 90 minutes of both games and fought through tons of adversity. It took the entire efforts of the staff and players to make this weekend happen. It's a good day to be a Bearcat."
Gallaway began the scoring 12:57 into the first half when he converted a penalty kick following a handball by the Blues in the penalty area. Gallaway's kick sent the ball into the lower left corner of the net.
Varav added WU's second goal at 38:37 on a 28-yard chip shot from the middle of the field over Whitman goalie Bernie Jones and into the upper right corner. Varav's goal gave the Bearcats a 2-0 lead that Willamette maintained at halftime.
Whitman cut the margin to 2-1 on a goal by Valero at 49:50 -- just under five minutes into the second half. Valero took the ball into the right side of the 18-yard box and shot from 10 yards to the lower left corner of the net. Taylor found the equalizing goal for the Blues at 73:35 on an assist from Zachary Stonier. With Taylor running toward the goal, Stonier provided a through-pass from 24 yards out. Taylor reached the ball about 10 yards from the goal and slotted the ball past on-rushing goalie Pierluca Carnovale (Jr., GK, Seattle, WA/Ballard HS).
About five minutes later at 78:26, Kim scored the winning goal on a shot from 24 yards. Jones dove to his right in an attempt to register a save, but Kim sent the ball just out of Jones' reach and into the lower left corner near the post. The play began with a pass from the right side by Dylan Ray (Fy., D, Torrance, CA/West HS) who was credited with an assist.
Whitman attained an 8-6 advantage in total shots, but Willamette held a 5-4 lead in shots on goal. Carnovale and Jones were both credited with two saves. A total of 28 fouls were called and each team received three yellow cards.
The Bearcats are scheduled to host Linfield University at Sparks Field on Sunday, Oct. 9. Game time is set for 2:30 p.m. (PDT).