Willamette Strikes Early and Often in Opening Win against Howard Payne

Fleener and Desautels Record Goals for the Bearcats

By Brandon Chinn, Athletics Communications Writer

SALEM, ORE. -- In what served as the season opening match for both teams, the showdown between Willamette University and Howard Payne University (Texas) remained scoreless through the first 29 minutes of play.

But suddenly, in what felt like the blink of an eye, the game was essentially put out of reach. 

The Bearcats scored two goals in a span of 27 seconds to quickly jump ahead 2-0. With the game in hand, a WU goal in the closing minutes delivered the knockout punch, sending Willamette to a 3-0 victory in its first match of the 2013 campaign.

With the win, Willamette is off to a 1-0 start for the first time since 2009. Howard Payne, a Division III affiliate out of the American Southwest Conference, dropped to 0-1.

The Yellow Jackets threatened midway through the first half on a powerful shot by Marley Zochert.

Shooting from nearly 20 yards out on the left wing, Zochert directed the ball toward the left side of the goal. Nicole Price (Sr., GK, Auburn, WA/Thomas Jefferson HS) alertly positioned herself and rejected the ball back into the field of play, preserving the scoreless tie.

Willamette's offensive attack responded to the fierce defensive effort. The Bearcats struck first at the 29:12 mark, after a corner kick from Sarah Desautels (Jr., F/MF, Snohomish, WA/Glacier Peak HS) deflected off an opposing defender's head and into the net.

The 'Cats didn't waste much time celebrating their inaugural goal of 2013. Less than half a minute later, Malia Simpson (Jr., MF, Fairbanks, AK/West Valley HS) dribbled the ball and dished it to sophomore forward Rachel Fleener (Olympia, WA/Olympia HS), who successfully launched a shot from 16 yards out at 29:39.

For Fleener, who attempted only two shots as a freshman, it was the first goal of her Willamette career.

The Willamette defensive unit continued to frustrate Howard Payne's offensive front. Ahead 2-0 in the final minutes of regulation, the Bearcats received some extra insurance.

Charging down the middle of the field, Desautels fired off a strong shot from about 26 yards away. The shot bounced off the right post before hitting the goalkeeper near the goal line and then finding the net.

The goal by Desautels, who tied for the team lead with five goals in 2012, cemented the 3-0 shutout victory.

Willamette dominated the statistical categories in shots and shots on goal. WU ended the night with 21 shots and 11 shots on goal. On the other side of the field, HPU was only able to muster a mere three shots, two of which went on goal. Desautels led all participants in shots (5) and shots on goal (4).

Price notched the win for Willamette, serving as the goalkeeper throughout the entire match. She earned two saves, both of which occurred before Willamette's opening goal.

Adrienne Walker earned three saves in 45 minutes of action for HPU, but took the loss after yielding two of Willamette's three goals.

Willamette will look to continue its winning style of play next Friday, Sept. 6 when the Bearcats challenge the University of La Verne (Calif.) in Santa Cruz, Calif. as part of the Slug Fest Tournament. Kick-off is set for 4 p.m. (PDT).


Willamette University 3
Howard Payne University 0

Junior Sarah Desautels scored the third goal of the night. She led all players with five shots and four shots on goal.

Junior Sarah Desautels scored the third goal of the night. She led all players with five shots and four shots on goal.