For the fourth year in a row, Westmont Women’s Soccer has claimed the title, “Golden State Athletic Conference Champion.”
The Warriors, ranked 16th in the NAIA, earned the 2022 Regular Season Championship with a 2-1 win over William Jessup at Thorrington Field. That victory only guaranteed Westmont a co-championship. Five minutes later, however, a game between Menlo and The Master’s in Santa Clarita ended in a 2-2 tie, securing a stand-alone title for the Warriors.
“Since I have been here at Westmont, this is the first time we have won a GSAC Regular Season Championship outright,” noted Westmont head coach Jenny Jaggard. “In 2019 we shared it with Vanguard. In 2020, we won our division, but that was a COVID year and there wasn’t a regular season champion. (The Warriors were, however, named champions when a title game could not be played by Westmont’s opponent due to COVID-19 protocols.) In 2021 we shared it with Hope International. This is the first time the players on this current team have won it outright and they did it early – before the end of the season. I’m excited about that.”
The game started with the Warriors a bit on their heels as WJU came out strong and made several excursions into Westmont’s defensive third of the field.
“We were definitely slow to start playing our game,” acknowledged Jaggard. “There were some little things that were off today. Some of our shots were a little off balance. Some of the passes, we just weren’t reading it. One person had an idea and it wasn’t clearly communicated and the other person was not on the same page.
“So, it took a few minutes to settle in and figure out what the other team was giving us. They were sitting really deep and blocking up the goal. That makes it much more challenging to figure out a way to break them down and score.”
Within 10 minutes of the opening kick-off, Westmont controlled the majority of possession, keeping the ball on their offensive end the majority of the time.
In the 36th minute, Karly Kingsley notched her sixth goal of the season to put the Warriors on the board with a 1-0 advantage. Grace Duckens passed the ball to Kingsley on the left-hand side. Kingsley’s shot from 20 yards out hit the bottom of the crossbar. The ball ricocheted off the crossbar, hit the back of Jessup’s goalkeeper Mya Rodriguez, then bounced back into the goal.
“What a ball,” exclaimed Jaggard of Kingsley’s shot. “She has been doing those in training all year long. It is fun when you get one in an actual game that you have been doing a lot over the course of training.”
In the 45th minute, Kingsley drew a foul and Westmont was awarded a free kick from 25 yards out. Sophomore Ande Siegel took the free kick and drove the ball along the ground, just inside the near post for her fifth goal of the season.
As the second half ticked down, Jaggard began inserting her bench onto the field, giving her starters some rest in anticipation of Saturday’s final regular season game, and giving her reserves some extended time on the field.
“Taylie Scott did a good job of consistently keeping us organized as we were shifting different people into the line,” praised Jaggard. “She was calm to the end.”
Jessup scored in the 84th minute when Kye Johnson hit a shot from 35 yards up the right touchline to account for the final score.
With the win, Westmont also secured a quarterfinal bye in the upcoming GSAC Women’s Soccer Tournament. The quarterfinals will take place next weekend with the third-seeded team hosting the sixth-seeded team and the fourth-seeded team hosting the number five seed. Winners will advance to the semifinals on Thursday, November 10 at Westmont to meet the Warriors and the yet-to-be-determined second seed. The championship game will be played on Saturday, November 12, also on Thorrington Field.
Before all that happens, however, Westmont will conclude the regular season on Saturday in a game against Menlo, scheduled to begin at 3:15 p.m.
“Menlo is a super dangerous team,” noted Jaggard. “They are really quick and have a veteran player that is the pivotal piece to their game. When she gets the ball, she is incredibly fast and good on transitions. She’s a dangerous goal scorer, so we are going to have to shut her down. It will be a battle.”
Before the battle begins, Westmont will conduct a Senior Day ceremony to honor eight graduating student-athletes for their contribution to the program over the last four years.
Ron Smith is the sports information director at Westmont College.