Warriors fall to Cougars in overtime battle

(SANTA BARBARA, Calif.) “I don’t have a lot of words because I am very proud of how they played,” said Head Coach Chantel Cappuccilli about the Warrior’s performance in this last Saturday’s away game against Division II Azusa Pacific University. “They played with a crazy amount of heart tonight. It was a rivalry type of environment; it was a fight.” According to the score, the Warriors lost the battle 2-1 in over-time. However, according to Cappuccilli the Warriors had an overall better performance than the Cougars.

After a scoreless and largely defensive first half, Freshman Hailey Parker put the Warriors on the board with her second goal of the season in the 57th minute of the game. The goal was an impressive passing combination between Brooke Lillywhite, Kelsey Steck, and Parker. Lillywhite crossed the ball to Steck near the upper right side of the goal; Steck quickly laid it off to Parker inside the box, who with composure slotted the ball with her right foot into the bottom corner of the goal. With this goal, the Warriors became the first team to score on the Cougars this season.

While Cappuccilli was proud of the Warrior’s offensive efforts, she points to the team’s defensive work as the heart of their performance.

“This is the best game we have played all year defensively: as a back line and as a unit,” said Cappuccilli. “We packed in the pressure all over the field and we dictated what they did offensively- it was extremely impressive.”

Particularly, Cappuccilli was impressed by the defensive performance of Junior outside back, Grace Lemley. “Lemley had one of the best games she has ever had- she was amazing to watch.”

Lemley is noted by her strength in 1v1 defensive battles, her boldness in going into tackles, and by her powerful offensive drives down the sideline.

Westmont maintained their lead until the 80th minute of the game when APU’s Mayra Almazan momentarily broke the Warrior’s defensive pressure and fired off a driven shot from the top of the 18 yard line into the top of the goal to tie the game 1-1.

With the game tied 1-1, the epic Warrior- Cougar battle continued on into overtime.

Initially, overtime looked hopeful for the Warriors, who created some great offensive opportunities right away. However, the Warriors were unable to capitalize and the Cougars ended up scoring first and defeating the Warriors when they converted a Westmont corner kick into a Cougar offensive counter attack. The ball got played into the box, was bobbled around by both teams, and was finally poked into the goal by APU’s Kaitlyn Rogan.

Though, frustrated that the result of the game did not reflect the Warrior’s overall performance, Cappuccilli is proud of and encouraged by the resilience and heart that the Women displayed.