Westmont Women’s Soccer (5-0-3, 0-0-1 GSAC) opened Golden State Athletic Conference play with a high-scoring tie against OUAZ (Ariz.) (6-2-1, 0-0-1) on Thursday evening. The Warriors, who have not played in 19 days, came from behind twice on Spirit Field to walk away with a 3-3 tie.
“It is one of those games you should come to expect when you are on the road and playing a quality opponent,” said Westmont head coach Jenny Jaggard. “We started poorly, but we figured it out 20 minutes in, started to adjust, and played a little bit more how I expected us to play.
“Ottawa is fast and gritty and finds ways to quickly counter and score goals,” noted Jaggard. “They definitely gave us a work out today. We pulled out a tie in a hard environment, but it is not the result we wanted.”
Ottawa scored first when Saipress Jones, the Spirit’s leading scorer, found herself the recipient of a fortunate bounce and went one-on-one with Westmont goalkeeper Kailey Meyer. Jones dribbled towards the goal, then shot the ball into the left side of the net in just the 12th minute of play. The goal was the first ever scored by OUAZ against Westmont.
Just two minutes later, Westmont’s Amelia Villa provided the Warriors with the first of two equalizers. Amarys Machado sent a ball to Villa who dribbled to her left and broke away from three defenders. Villa fired with her left foot from 15 yards out and found the netting on the right side. The goal was Villa’s second of the season.
In the 43rd minute, Grace Wilhelm gave the Warriors the lead when she scored her first collegiate goal. Shayna Scott drove a ball from the left touchline that was mishandled by two Spirit players. The ball popped loose in front of the goal where Wilhelm ran on it and delivered the ball into an empty net.
Less than 20 seconds into the second half, Ottawa’s Paige Murray-Hernandez tied the score at two. One-on-one with Meyer, Murray-Hernandez fired from 15 yards out. Meyer’s diving save prevented the goal, but the rebound allowed Murray-Hernandez another shot. This time, with Meyer out of position, the Spirit midfielder recorded the goal.
In the 55th minute, Jones scored again to give OUAZ a 3-2 advantage. Jones intercepted the ball near the left touchline and dribbled toward the goal before burying the ball in the back of the net, scoring her seventh goal of the season.
Andie Siegel knotted up the score in the 67th minute when her free kick from 35 yards out on the right side found the upper corner. The goal was Siegel’s third of the season and her second off a long-distance free kick.
Westmont outshot OUAZ 13-8, including 8-6 on goal, but was unable to turn that offensive edge into an advantage on the scoreboard.
“I think the players responded really well,” noted Jaggard. “Coming from behind twice in that game and pulling out the tie is a positive. It showed a little bit of grit and a little bit of mentality to get it done. I don’t think our team last year could have dug our way out of a deficit like that. One exciting piece about this team is that we are generating more goals. I am proud of the bounce back.”
Westmont has outscored its opponents 20-6 this season.
“Amarys had a pretty good night,” offered Jaggard. “She did a lot of work and was a piece of helping us get composed. She is definitely showing a lot more maturity on the ball to hold it and use her physical strength.
“Monica did a really good job coming in and out (of the game) and defending for us. She worked really hard.
“Taylie Scott and Makenna Meyers, our two center backs, had their hands full. Lesser players would not have been able to hold up under the pressure like they did.”
The Warriors will take on Arizona Christian in Glendale today. The game is scheduled for a 10 a.m. kick-off.
Ron Smith is the sports information director at Westmont College.