Whitman men score early in 1-0 win over Willamette

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SALEM, Ore. - Junpei Tsuji scored two minutes into the game and goalkeeper Michael Bathurst made seven saves as Whitman College clipped Willamette 1-0 in Northwest Conference soccer action here Sunday afternoon.

Whitman improved to 4-2 in the NWC, staying one victory behind three teams tied for first place. The Missionaries evened their season record at 4-4-1.

Tsuji, a sophomore midfielder, scored his second goal of the season on a powerful 16-yard strike that found the right corner of the net. Sam Freedman crossed the ball from the left side of the field to get the assist on the play.

Whitman nearly doubled its lead less than two minutes, but Jesse Mirman knocked his shot off the crossbar.

The Missionaries spent most of the second half playing defense.

"Willamette is quite dominant in the air," Whitman coach Mike Washington said. "They like to play a lot of balls into your box and make you work to clear it.

"They got corner kick after corner kick in the second half. We had trouble relieving the pressure, but Bathurst was phenomenal in goal along with our back line."

Bathurst, in posting his second shutout in two days, made five of his saves in a second half that saw the Bearcats outshoot Whitman 12-3 and roll up an 11-1 edge in corner kicks.

Washington credited seniors Brian Percival and Nathan Ord, along with sophomores Jack Morgan, Cooper Schumacher and Reid Shaw, with helping keep Willamette off the scoreboard.

"We grew up and matured a bit today in the back," Washington said. "We played very well and earned a great result."

Whitman hosts Whitworth at 4 p.m. Saturday at the Whitman Athletic Fields.

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