Perfect start to GSAC
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The Westmont women’s soccer team kicked off conference play with two big games against the Northern California sides of William Jessup on Thursday and Menlo on Saturday.
On Thursday afternoon against William Jessup, both teams looked to start off their seasons on a high note. Westmont came out with a spark and quickly established a solid pace and rhythm to the game. The backline was able to knock the ball around, looking to break lines by slipping through the forward runners, who were making creative and intertwining runs off the ball. After a couple of close attempts, the Warriors took the lead in the 25th minute when Junior Maddi Berthoud poked the ball first time past the William Jessup goalkeeper off of a lofted pass from teammate Teagan Mayte. The momentum continued a couple minutes before halftime when Valerie Swisher chased a ball down the sideline and slotted it across the face of the goal where Mayte was able to make contact, firing into the back of the net sending the Warriors into halftime with a scoreline of 2-0.
The collective effort of the Warriors continued throughout the second half, and the team set itself up well by working the ball into dangerous positions through accurate passing, creative movement, and an organized and united defensive effort. In the 60th minute, Sophomore Bri Johnson took a free kick and delivered a striking ball to the back post where Hailey Parker came up big with a diving header to put the Warriors up 3-0. The next goal was scored by Maddi Cuculich off a redirect on a corner. This was her first goal of her collegiate career. Last but not least, the Warriors sealed the deal in the 82nd minute when freshman Katie Stella received a pass from Kira Nemeth and struck the ball past the keeper, resulting in a final score of 5-0.
Two days later, the Warriors took the field again, this time against the Menlo Oaks, a formidable foe. The first half was spent dominantly in the Oaks’ half of the field with all 11 of the Oaks players playing bunker defense. However, Westmont came out strong and were combining in order to break pressure with much success. The first goal of the game came in the 35th minute when Tagan Mayte cut around her oncoming defender, setting herself up well around the 18 yard box, before placing the ball in the back of the net with composure and class. The Warriors went into the second half with a lot of confidence and looked to continue this run of form. However, Menlo also came out second half with a lot of intensity and aggression. Menlo did a good job of disrupting the Warriors’ rhythm and found some success at catching Westmont out of position by dispossessing the Warriors higher up the field. The last half of the game was scrappy and intense as Westmont desperately clung onto their 1-0 lead, with both sides finding opportunities. Goalkeeper Gabi Haw worked hard to keep her defense organized and pulled out the clean sheet, giving the Warriors their second win of the week.
Westmont now travels to Costa Mesa to take on Vanguard on Saturday, Oct. 6 at noon.