Just like she did a year ago, Reese Davidson scored the only goal of the game in the Warriors’ season opener to give #8 Westmont a 1-0 victory over the Raiders of Southern Oregon (0-1). This year’s game winner came on a penalty kick in the 70th minute.
Amarys Machado drew the penalty kick for the Warriors. After winning a 50-50 ball on the right flank, Machado dribbled on the inside of the 18-yard box toward the end line. As she ran parallel to the box, a Raiders’ defender attempted to strip her of the ball. Instead, the defender hooked Machado’s left foot, sending her to the ground.
“This was the best game Amarys has ever played,” said Westmont head coach Jenny Jaggard. “For me, this was her breakout college game. She was receiving the ball, turning it into space where she was not exposing it to the defender, and getting herself going forward. Other times she was playing simple – checking, receiving, playing in underneath and then looking to get it back again. She played a smart game and used her power well.”
On the penalty kick, Davidson approached the ball calmly, then sent the shot just inside the right upright. While Southern Oregon goalkeeper Jessie Selby guessed correctly on the direction, she was unable to cover the distance required to reach Davidson’s shot.
“I was really happy with the energy we brought,” noted Jaggard. “We decided to high press them early and see if we could knock the ball and make them chase. We did a good job of creating a really big shape out of the back that kept their wing forwards from having a legitimate chance of pressing. That was a huge piece of the game. We knew they were really fast, so we wanted to discourage them early that they were going to be able to cover that distance. That made them have to sit deeper. Our players executed the plan very well and we were connecting passes like crazy today.”
The Warriors outshot the Raiders 23-7 in today’s game and held a 10-2 advantage of shots on goal.
“We didn’t have Shayna Stock available today and so we moved Sadie Hill to outside back. Sadie is a good outside back and I think she was perfect for the game today.
“Southern Oregon was playing us in a 4-3-3 and with us sitting in a 4-4-2 diamond, that meant that every time there was a defensive situation, they had to decide how to deal with the number up that we had in the middle. They chose to do that by curling up their outside back, which basically left them in a defensive shape of a 3-4-3. I thought that was a mistake against us, so I told Sadie to sit high and create problems on that side where they were exposed. I thought she did a really good job of that. Some of the passes she sent were phenomenal.”
Taking over Hill’s normal role at center back was freshman Makenna Meyers-McNerney. “Makenna is a talented freshman who is very composed on the ball, technically clean and pretty strong,” assessed Jaggard. “Southern Oregon is big and physical, but she handled her own in there today.
“Ande Siegel, who normally plays right back, started at the holding mid position because Daisy Alvarez was not available today. We converted her to a right back last year, but she actually is a center mid. After a whole year of not having played at center mid, the way she stepped in and was a pivot point for us and won those 50-50 balls was a crucial piece of this game.
“Amelia Villa was amazing today,” added Jaggard. “She played both our 10 and at the outside of the diamond. She has very good body positioning, good composure on the ball, and has some moves that let her get in behind people.
“Today, as we were building out of the back, our center backs were stretching wider apart and our outside backs were getting really high. Doing that, means we must rely on using our keepers’ feet more. That is something that Kailey Meyer has not been comfortable doing in the past. Today, however, I thought she did a fabulous job of coming out of her comfort zone and doing just that.”
The Warriors will have more time to refine their game in two scrimmages over the next four days. On Saturday, Westmont will travel to Azusa Pacific, and then return home to host Point Loma Nazarene on Monday. Kick-off in Azusa is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. with the home event on Monday slated to begin at noon.
Ron Smith is the sports information director at Westmont College.