SALEM, Ore. – Austin Jacobson's goal one minute into the second overtime period lifted Willamette to a 3-2 upset of 10th-ranked Whitworth on Saturday afternoon.
The Bearcats improved to 9-7-1 overall and 6-5-1 in the NWC. The Pirates suffered their first loss of the season and fell to 12-1-3, 9-1-2.
Whitworth rallied from a 2-0 second half deficit to force overtime, despite playing down a man due to a red card. But Willamette got the match-winner, preventing the Pirates from clinching the conference championship with three games to play in the regular season.
Tyler Yates gave the Bearcats a 1-0 lead in the first half with his third goal of the season in the 28th minute. Willamette controlled much of the play in the opening period, outshooting the Pirates 6-3.
The Bearcats appeared to take total control of the match when Trevor Jenson scored from long distance only three minutes into the second half. It was his fifth goal of the season.
Then Whitworth drew a foul in the penalty box one minute later. Balin Larson converted the penalty kick to tie the match. It was Larson's second goal of the year.
Playing a man down finally caught up with Whitworth in the overtime period. Willamette outshot the Pirates 4-0 in the first OT, but did not score. They finally broke through at 101:00 on Jacobson's goal from near the top of the box.
"We were slow in reacting on three dead ball situations and Willamette capitalized," said Whitworth head coach Sean Bushey. "We did well to fight back and dealt with a lot of adversity. We would have liked better results but credit to them, they played well."
The three goals allowed were a season-high by the Whitworth defense and nearly doubled the total of four allowed previously all fall.
The Pirates will play at Linfield on Sunday afternoon with one more chance to clinch the NWC championship.