The Westmont women’s soccer, ranked eighth in the NAIA preseason poll, competed in its annual match-up with the UCSB Gauchos Saturday evening.
The Gauchos defeated the Warriors 1-0.
The Warriors held the Gauchos scoreless for 80 minutes before UCSB’s Meg Burling headed the ball into the back of the net off a cross from Avery Nicholas, producing the only goal of the game.
Westmont Head Coach Jenny Jaggard used the contest to experiment with different line-ups and evaluate the 25 players she sent onto the field. As a result, only one returning starter was on the field at the time that the goal was scored.
The Warriors were outshot 14-1 with Westmont goalkeepers Kailey Meyer and Maya Pablos producing six saves. Meyer was credited with four saves in the first half while Pablos produced two diving saves in the second.
“I feel like we had moments when we would find momentum and start moving the ball,” said Jaggard. “Honestly, I think we came out a little nervous and weren’t tactically making the right choices. We would do all the work defensively to win it. I thought we did a really good job holding them off. Our players worked really hard and stayed pretty compact.
“However, we would win the ball, then instantly give it back. We have to work on that moment of transition and the decision of the person who wins the ball to allow us the opportunity to build forward.”
In the 62nd minute, freshman Sierra Martin nearly gave Westmont a 1-0 lead. Senior Karly Kingsley intercepted a pass and forwarded the ball to Martin at the top of the 18-yard box. Unguarded, Martin set the ball to the near post, but Gaucho goalkeeper Sabrina Hinz dove to her left and punched the ball out.
“Sierra is a crafty player that gets in behind and creates a lot of problems,” said Jaggard. “If we can get her closer to the goal more, she is going to start scoring.”
On Thursday, the Warriors will open non-conference play when they host the Raiders of Southern Oregon at Thorrington Field. The game will be the first countable game for both teams. Last season, the Raiders went 12-5-2 and finished second in Cascade Collegiate Conference play
Ron Smith is the sports information director at Westmont College.