Women's soccer loses GSAC championship in 5-goal thriller
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The Westmont women’s soccer team entered the Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) Tournament with a 12-1-3 record on the season and the second seed. This earned the Warriors a first round bye and a semifinal matchup with The Master’s University Mustangs.
Unlike the previous meeting, where the Warriors won 2-0, the Mustang’s offense established dominance as they scored within the nineteenth minute. That was the only goal in the first half; however, the first half featured two saves by The Master’s and seven fouls each for both teams. The second half started with the Mustangs scoring a goal two minutes into the half, increasing their lead to 2-0. It wasn’t until six minutes later that the Warriors scored thanks to Katie Stella’s goal off an assist from Bri Johnson. When the game reached the 71st minute, Johnson tied the score at two apiece, with an assist from Savannah Scott. With the clock winding down, the Master’s pushed for one final score, but their opportunities were blocked by the Warriors’ defense. Westmont took its already increasing momentum into the 90th minute where Maddi Berthoud put the nail in the coffin, ending the Mustangs bid for the finals, and earning a 3-2 victory for Westmont.
Westmont’s opponent in the championship game would be the surging Hope International University, who upset the top seeded and number four ranked Vanguard University. Playing with the momentum from their last game, Hope scored within the first seven minutes of the game. After a couple missed opportunities by Westmont, they equaled the score at one apiece thanks to a Kira Nemeth pass to Maddi Berthoud in the 14th minute. The Royals offense pressed on, but goalkeeper Gabi Haw made two great saves. Unfortunately for the Warriors, on the second save, the Royals got the rebound and scored to go ahead 2-1 in the 23rd minute. While Westmont looked to tie the game up, the Royals looked to break the game open. Going into the second half with the game still in Hope’s favor, the Westmont offense attacked quickly but could not get by the Royals’ goalkeeper. Finally, after a foul by Hope, Westmont capitalized on a penalty kick by Teagan Matye in the 54th minute. Not long after, Hope struck right back to once again take the lead. The rest of the game showcased physical play from both sides as well as chances to score. However, both teams’ defenses held strong, giving Hope another upset in the tournament.
Sadly, for the Warriors, they fell in the championship match for the second straight year and fell just short of earning an at-large bid into the NAIA National Tournament. Westmont finishes the season with a 13-2-3 record.