Westmont is headed back to Orange Beach, Ala., as a participant at the NAIA Women’s Soccer National Championship Final Site.
The Warriors earned a spot in the 10-team tournament with a 5-0 victory over the Mariners of Marymount (9-11-2) in Saturday’s championship game of an NAIA Opening Round Tournament hosted by Westmont.
“This team is very hungry,” described Westmont head coach Jenny Jaggard. “We have been focused on a lot of process goals — how we move the ball as a team. We have been trying to put together that final piece in the final third, which is the hardest piece. We did it today in an amazing style.”
The Warriors first goal came in the 10th minute. Karly Kingsley beat two defenders to get open on the left side. Instead of taking the shot, she passed the ball to Grace Duckens who was at the top of the 18. Duckens fired into the side netting to put the Warriors up 1-0.
Five minutes later, the Warriors doubled their advantage. Teagan Matye delivered a cross from the left flank to the front of the goal. Katie Stella allowed the ball to bounce in front of her, then redirected it with her right foot inside the near post.
Matye set up the Warriors’ third goal as well. In the 27th minute, Matye chipped a pass forward to Amarys Machado just inside the 18. With her back to the goal, Machado settled the ball, then spun around clockwise and lofted the ball with her left foot over the keeper’s outstretched arms for the goal.
In the 33rd minute, Machado passed the ball from the center of the field over to Kingsley on the left side. This time, Kingsley took the shot from the top of the 18-yard box herself, burying the ball in the far-side netting.
Westmont added one more goal when Duckens scored again in the 74th minute. Shayna Stock sent a ball over the top that Duckens chased down. About 10 yards from the end line and at the left edge of the 18-yard box, Duckens used her left foot to lift the ball over the keeper and into the top of the far-side netting.
Defensively, the Warriors allowed the Mariners just three shots, none of which were on goal. Westmont took 26 shots and placed 11 on target.
“This is obviously something we have been pushing for and hoping that this moment would happen,” said Jaggard of the Warriors prolific offense. “This team is really special and is coming together in ways that are very exciting. We can play with anyone if we are sharp.”
Westmont, the number nine seed at the final site, will take on eight-seeded Cumberlands (Ky.) at 11 a.m. PST on Nov. 30. The winner will advance to face top-seeded William Carey (Miss.) at the same time on Dec. 2 in the quarterfinals.
Ron Smith is the sports information director at Westmont College.