Westmont (6-1-1, 2-0 GSAC) utilized a 46th minute goal to defeat Vanguard (3-5-1, 0-2) 1-0 on Saturday.
The 19th-ranked reigning GSAC champs opened up conference play last week with two victories.
During the opening minutes, Vanguard threw its best punch at Westmont, threatening in and around the box for 10 minutes. However, Westmont held down the fort in large part due to the play of defenders Taylie Scott and Sadie Hill, who held down the backline in front of Kailey Meyer.
“That seems like how it always goes against Vanguard,” said Westmont head coach Jenny Jaggard. “It’s always a little bit back and forth in these games. Their style always challenges us, and sometimes we have a tendency to try to match it. Today we really emphasized that desire to play with fire, but also to stay calm. It took us a few minutes, but then, we did a great job.”
Fifteen minutes into the match, Amarys Machado had the first legitimate attacking opportunity of the day. With Vanguard possessing the ball in its lower-third of the field, Machado stripped the ball from the Lions’ center back and carried the ball to the top of the eighteen.
The freshman had an open shot on a retreating Ashley Levi, and got it past the Lions’ keeper, but it spun wide of the right post, keeping the game tied at zero.
The first shot on goal didn’t come until the 32nd minute, when Teagan Matye dribbled through a trio of Lions on the edge of the eighteen, before firing a shot directly into the hands of Levi. Westmont threatened again in the 40th minute, when Kendall Morton came within inches of her first collegiate goal, but instead was thwarted by an excellent kick-save from Levi.
At the end of the first half, Westmont had outshot Vanguard 7-2, including 2-0 on goal, but the score remained knotted at zero.
“Obviously we’re generating a ton of opportunities right now,” noted Jaggard, “but we’re not finishing them. The thing is, creating those opportunities can be even harder, so I kept saying, ‘You have done the hard part, keep at it and you’ll get the result’.”
Twenty seconds into the second half, lightning struck.
Matye played the ball to Shayna Stock, who was making a run on the near sideline, and Stock had more than 20 yards to go before being challenged by a Lion. When even with the 18, Stock juked around a defender to set up her right foot, and she played a perfect cross to the back of the six-yard box, even with the right post.
On came Machado, who timed her run perfectly and used her head to drill the ball into the back of the net for the 1-0 advantage. It was Machado’s second goal of the season, and Stock’s team-high fourth assist.
“What a great play by Shayna,” said Jaggard, “To have the awareness to slow down in order to get some people in the box, then get on her right foot and send in a beauty, it was perfect. Amarys couldn’t have done a better job finishing it.”
Over the remaining 44:40, Westmont continuously maintained possession and threatened on the Vanguard half of the field. What was most impressive however, was the Warriors’ ability to drain time off the clock while not yielding a single scoring opportunity for Vanguard.
Outside of two corner kicks, not once did Vanguard threaten inside the Warrior box. Ninety minutes came and went without the Lions ever recording a single shot on goal, and Westmont moved to 2-0 in GSAC play with a 1-0 win.
The Warriors outshot the Lions 15-3 over the match, controlling the pace of play completely.
“We’ve really been trying to work on killing the clock,” said Jaggard. “We know it probably drives the fans crazy, but it’s a skill we need to develop for later on in the season. Now, it’s time to get ready for Hope.”
The Warriors are back in action Thursday down in Irvine, when they head down to take on Hope International. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.
Jacob Norling is a Westmont College sports information assistant.