By RON SMITH
WESTMONT SPORTS WRITER
The field has been set for the NAIA Women’s Soccer Opening Round Tournament – Santa Barbara Bracket.
Sixteenth-ranked Westmont (10-1-5) has been named the No. 2 seed and will host No. 24 Embry-Riddle of Arizona (14-5-1) in a semifinal match-up today. Kick-off is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.
The Golden Eagles are the third seed.
Prior to Westmont’s game, top-seeded and ninth-ranked Southeastern of Florida (15-3) will take on Marymount of California (8-10-2), the fourth seed, in the tournament’s other semifinal game. Those teams will kick off at 11 a.m.
The winners of the two semifinals will meet in the championship game on Saturday at 1 p.m. At stake will be a chance to advance to the NAIA National Tournament Final Site, located in Orange Beach, Ala. They will be joined by the winners of the other nine opening round tournaments to compete for the national title.
Southeastern won the Sun Conference Tournament Championship for the second consecutive year after finishing second in the conference standings behind No. 2 Keiser (Fla.) (14-2). The Fire are making their fifth-straight NAIA Opening Round appearance, having advanced to the finals on all four previous occasions.
Southeastern outscored their opponents 51-20, led by senior forward Aisha Solorzano of Guatemala. A member of the Guatemala National Team, Solorzano recorded 12 goals and 10 assists for the Fire this year. Senior midfielder Shara Randez of Spain has added seven goals and seven assists.
Embry-Riddle was the winner of the California Pacific Conference (CalPac) Tournament, defeating Marymount 3-1 in the championship game. The Golden Eagles went 6-2 in conference play, finishing second in the Southwest Division behind Saint Katherine (7-1).
The Golden Eagles are making their sixth appearance in the national championship and have put together a record of 3-4-1 in national tournament play. Embry-Riddle has advanced from the Opening Round in three of the four tournaments in which it has participated.
Senior forward Sierra Vincent leads the team offensively with eight goals and nine assists. Sophomore midfielder Haley Harris has also scored eight goals while senior midfielder Lauren Foster, and freshman midfielder Rea Yoshioka have each contributed seven.
Marymount struggled in the first half of the season, going 0-8-1 in August and September. However, the Mariners turned things around with the arrival of October, posting a record of 8-2-1 since then.
In the CalPac Tournament, the fifth-seeded Mariners defeated fourth-seeded Simpson and top-seeded Saint Katherine to earn both a slot in the championship game and a berth in the national tournament.
Olga Luna, a junior forward, leads the Mariners with four goals and three assists. Four other Mariners have scored three goals each – Maileena Faaita, Sophia Ceman, Elise Padilla and Bri Flores.
Westmont earned its spot in the national tournament as an automatic qualifier by claiming the GSAC Tournament Championship last week. The Warriors tied Hope International 2-2 in the championship game, then prevailed in penalty kicks 5-4.
Westmont is led in scoring by junior forward Grace Duckens with seven goals and four assists. Teagan Matye, a senior midfielder, has produced five goals and two assists while junior forward Reese Davidson and sophomore midfielder Daisy Alvarez have each added four goals.
Tickets for the event are available at athletics.westmont.edu/tickets.
Ron Smith is the sports information director at Westmont College.