Westminster soccer: Westminster upset bid falls short in NAIA Opening Round

By Josh Fisher

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, Nov. 23 2013 6:45 p.m. MST

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The Westminster College women’s soccer team saw its upset shot at second-seeded Westmont (Calif.) come 12 minutes short in a 2013 NAIA Women's Soccer National Championship Opening Round game Saturday afternoon. The teams played to a 2-2 draw through two overtimes before Westmont (15-1-4) advanced in penalty kicks, 4-1.

Westminster (11-7-3) got on the board first when Lexi Tucker finished a strike from just inside the penalty area in the 32nd minute to give the Griffins a 1-0 lead. That lead held for less than three minutes as Kelsy Steck got Westmont even in the 35th minute.

After the game reached halftime level at 1-1, Tucker struck again for the Griffins in the 48th minute. Brianna Wilson played the ball to Tucker at the top of the box where she scored her eighth goal of the season and gave her team a 2-1 advantage.

It was starting to look as if the Griffins would find a way to pull the upset when Sofia Smati took a through ball by Brooke Lillywhite and scored from inside the box. The equalizer in the 78th minute would be the final tally of the game as neither team scored during the final 12 minutes of regulation and 20 minutes of overtime.

Westmont’s Alison Hensley opened the best-of-five penalty kicks with a goal that was matched by Carissa Cooper for the Griffins. After Jenny Martinez scored for the Warriors, Tucker had her shot saved by the Westmont keeper. Christine Adams made it 3-1, and that was followed by an empty trip from Westminster’s Miranda Miner. Westmont sealed the victory when Grace Lemley put her attempt in the net.

Westmont finished the afternoon with an 18-16 edge in shot attempts with the Griffins putting seven on goal to the six by the Warriors. Tucker led Westminster with five shots and three shots on goal. Miner took four shots with one on goal, and Jennifer Beaudoin put all three of her attempts on frame.

Abi Yanke finished the game with four saves, but she saw her streak of consecutive minutes without allowing a goal snapped at 430. This was the first game in over a month that she has allowed multiple goals in a game, and she finished the season with a 0.61 goals-against-average.

This was Westminster's second-ever trip to the NAIA National Championships, and it is now 0-2 in Opening Round games.

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