GEORGETOWN, Texas – The Southwestern University Pirates put together a dominant defensive performance and got another double-digit points game from senior Hayley Donnelly to defeat the Willamette Bearcats 16-2.
Both teams sought to move the ball but Southwestern did a much better job of moving bodies in tandem, spacing the field and running various routes cutting to the goal in coordinated precision.
Ten of the Pirates' 16 goals were assisted with only three coming unassisted and the other three coming off free position shots created by movement with Southwestern threading passes through the middle of the defense, forcing fouls from out-of-position defenders.
Directing everything was Donnelly, who scored three of the Pirates' nine first-half goals and assisted on three others before the break.
Donnelly finished with a game-high 10 points, scoring four goals on five shots and assisting on six others. The Pirates' leader drew a crowd of defenders everywhere she went with her gravity pulling up to three defenders towards her at a time. Southwestern took advantage of the attention, running a variety of off-ball routes to free teammates up heading towards the net.
Three other Pirates scored three goals with Madison Godleski getting hers on four shots with all three coming off assists from Donnelly, diving hard towards the net while Donnelly directed traffic from behind the goalie. Johnee Wolter opened the game with the Pirates' second goal, using her height to back her defender down until a driving lane opened, getting the unassisted goal.
Wolter's size provided a target for Donnelly on her other two goals with Hayley delivering passes up high, out of the reach of the defense, and Wolter bringing the shots down hard in one motion, sneaking shots under the goalie's stick.
Natasha Perez-Krause also had three goals on four shots, all coming in the second half with one from Wolter, one unassisted, and the other from Donnelly.
The Pirates' finished with a 34-16 advantage in shots, limiting the Bearcats to just six attempts in the second half.
Though Willamette moved the ball around patiently, it often did so without purpose, failing to puncture the Pirate defense or even pull at the seams. Southwestern defenders met drives with hard checks and pounced on the Bearcats' sloppy ball control, swarming to loose balls to collect 29 ground balls to Willamette's 15.
The few times the Bearcats' did get a clean break towards the net, Southwestern goalie Mckenna Zinke stopped them in their tracks, saving 11 of Williamette's 13 shots on goal. Perhaps drawing on her background as a softball catcher, Zinke blocked every shot in the ground as the Bearcats attacked her with low shots repeatedly.
Williamette managed only one goal in each half with both coming off fouls leading to free position shots of which the Bearcats finished 2-for-7.
With the win, the Pirates improve to 6-3 on the season and 4-2 at home with one more home game left against Wisconsin-River Falls on Thursday, March 28 at 5:00 p.m. before closing out the regular season on Saturday, April 13 on the road against Oklahoma Baptist.