WSoc: Warriors repeat as GSAC champions

The Westmont women’s soccer team claimed the title of GSAC Champions for the second year in a row as it defeated Biola 3-0 in the conference tournament final on Saturday

“This is an overwhelming feeling just because of how hard they have worked all season,” reflected first-year coach Chantel Cappuccilli. “To see the fruit of their hard work tonight was beautiful and I think it was a testament to what kind of team this is and their ability to do something very difficult. Biola is not an easy team to play against, nor is it easy to play in their environment and on their surface. For us to be able to capitalize on our set pieces, and finish our chances on their turf was incredible. I am very elated for the women and they should welcome the feeling of the victory tonight.”

The game was scoreless for the first 35 minutes, until sophomore Jackie Lopez scored two back to back goals a minute and one half apart. Both goals came off of two masterful set pieces taken by senior Angela Brown.

“On both services she (Brown) was more than precise,” explained Cappuccilli. “She dropped the ball exactly where it needed to be. She hit the first ball perfectly and it soared towards the top, back corner of the six yard box. Jackie timed it her run, and shot near the upper left corner of the goal – a very difficult angle to score from. After the first goal our momentum defiantly shifted in a positive way.

“The second goal came shortly after off of a free kick from about 55 yards out. The ball was a perfect distribution in that she hit it so that it curved towards the back post. Again, Jackie was there with perfect timing to capitalize and make a beautiful finish.”

Lopez reflected on the team’s performance and said, “I think we played extremely well – we held the ball extremely well, we didn’t let them get in behind us, and we had very high pressure for most of the game. After the two goals we defiantly upped our level of playing and the momentum was on our side.”

With a 2-0 lead, the Warriors came into the second half with even more intensity.

“Overall, the second half was a great representation of how we play and was at the level we are capable of playing to,” noted Cappuccilli. “So for us to get another goal in that half was very important.

The third goal happened in the 89th minute when senior Kelsey Steck bolted down the right sideline and played the ball across the face of the goal to Sophomore Haley Parzonko. Parzonko capitalized with a one touch shot into the lower right side of the goal to give the Warriors a comfortable lead.

“I am very happy that Haley got her first goal of the season in a game like today,” said Cappuccilli. “She has worked tremendously hard to get that goal. Overall, I am extremely happy for all of our players – it takes everyone to pull something like this off.”

Cappuccilli noted that the midfield was an important factor in tonight’s game. The midfield consisted of junior Brooke Lillywhite, sophomore Alanna Richards, and sophomore Destiney Adams.

“Collectively, our midfield was unreal. They are peaking at the right time and once they got control of the ball, things moved our way.”

In a week, the Warriors will host the opening round of the NAIA National Championship Tournament against an opponent to be determined. A win in this game will send them to the round of sixteen in Orange Beach, Alabama.

“I think it will be great for them to have tomorrow off,” explained Cappuccilli. “Then on Monday it starts all over again because the reality is we have to earn our next one. Nothing is guaranteed from here on out. We have done a fantastic job to put ourselves in this position to get an automatic bid in the national tournament but the focus, the mentality, and the emotional intent moving into the next game has to be there and that is why practices this week will have the same kind of focus that we have always had.”