WSoc: Seniors make it happen for Westmont

Before the final home game of the regular season, #11 Westmont Women’s Soccer (12-3, 7-2 GSAC) honored its eight seniors – Carly Holly, Mallory Mitchell, Courtney Stonesifer, Christine Adams, Sophie Judd, Kaci Mexico, Tiffany Dimaculangan and Sofia Smati. Then the Warriors went out and claimed a 3-1 Golden State Athletic Conference win over #18 Biola (12-4, 6-3). The victory was sweetened by several special moments.

Just 55 seconds into the game, Mitchell was attempting a header near the goal when she was mowed over by Biola goalkeeper Briana Williams. Both players fell to the ground but Williams was unable to get up for several minutes.

When she did return to play, Williams found herself immediately facing Dimaculangan for a penalty kick. The diminutive Dimaculangan went high with the kick, lifting the ball over William’s outstretched arms to give the Warriors a delicious and early 1-0 lead.

“It felt very good to get the early goal,” said Westmont head coach Kristi Kiely. “We tend to be successful when we can get an early goal.”

The Warriors extended their advantage is the 22nd minute. Just 25 seconds after entering the game, Smati took a pass from Mexico and took a shot from 25 yards on the right side that landed sweetly in the left side of the goal.

The score was made all the more tasty because Smati’s parents had come from France and were watching their daughter play soccer in the U.S. for the first time.

“Frenchie didn’t know her parents were going to be here until about two and one-half weeks ago,” said Kiely. “It was a beautiful goal in such an important and big game.”

In the 42nd minute, Biola offered a sour dish on the Warriors’ plate when Samantha Verduzco scored from just beyond the 18 to make it a 2-1 game. However, that only set the stage for perhaps the sweetest moment of all.

Stonesifer was sidelined with an injury that kept her out of the game, but not out of the hearts and minds of her teammates.

“For all that Court has contributed for nearly four years, it is hard to be out on Senior Day,” said Kiely. “Mal told her early on, ‘If I score it is for you’.”

In the 51st minute, Mitchell scored from six yards out to put the Warriors back on top by two.

“Mal ran over to Courtney right away,” said Kiely. “Courtney was getting tears in eyes, so I was getting tears in my eyes.”

The win gives Westmont sole possession of first place in the GSAC standings. The Warriors have 21 points and lead #13 The Master’s (11-4-1, 6-2-1) by two points. #10 Vanguard (13-2-1, 6-2) and Biola are tied for third place with 18 points.

If the Warriors win their final game of the season against William Jessup (6-10, 1-7) on Tuesday, they will claim at least a GSAC regular season co-championship. Vanguard has two games remaining and if they win out, they will tie the Warriors for first place – assuming the Warriors defeat William Jessup.

Since Westmont beat Vanguard earlier this week, however, the Warriors would be awarded the top seed in the upcoming GSAC Championship Tournament and receive a first round bye.

“We want to put ourselves in a place where we can have a little bit of time off to heal some people, get the team mentally and physically fresh, and put ourselves in a good spot regarding the playoffs,” said Kiely.

A win on Tuesday would do just that and provide a perfect dessert at season’s end.