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Saturday, January 19 , 2019, 4:40 am | Fair 45º

Sports: A Noozhawk Partnership with Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table, The Lab, and American Riviera Bank
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Westmont Women’s Soccer Win NAIA Tournament Opener, 1-0

A goal in the 26th minute by Maddi Berthoud was all the Westmont women's soccer team would need to advance to the second round of the NAIA National Championship.

The Warriors blanked the Mountaineers of Eastern Oregon 1-0 in the opening-round game to extend their NAIA Tournament record to an impressive 35-10-8 (.736) and advance to the national tournament site in Orange Beach, Ala.

"It’s always an honor to host an opening-round game in our national tournament and not to be taken for granted," said Westmont head coach Chantel Cappuccilli. "It takes a lot of work to get to this point in our season. A lot of hard work, grit, determination, buy-in and leadership. The players have fought to get to this point and it was a joy to watch them cap off our final home game with a win. For our seniors especially, so many memories are formed on Thorrington, it’s a special gift to seal their last home match with a victory."

Bri Johnson was credited with an assist on the goal. After chasing down a ball on the right side, she passed it along the ground across the face of the goal. Berthoud charged toward the net and slammed it home for her 11th goal of the season.

"Ultimately, we knew our success in breaking down their backline needed to come from the width," said Cappuccilli. "Bri found herself in a good position to play a well-paced balled to Maddi making a successful third-player run."

The Warriors outshot the Mountaineers 14-6 with Westmont goalkeeper Gabi Haw producing saves on the only two shots on goal by Eastern Oregon. 

"We had a fair amount of opportunities created, but one was enough to earn the result," noted Cappuccilli. "Our backline working for another shut out prior to heading to Alabama is substantial."

Alanna Richards, Renee Gonsalves, Haley Johnson and Kira Nemeth started as defenders for the Warriors with Haylee Lopes coming in and contributing 68 minutes to the defensive unit.

Following Thanksgiving, Westmont will travel to Alabama for the remainder of the National Championship. On Tuesday, Nov.r 28, Westmont will take on the seventh-ranked and 10th-seeded Cougars of Columbia (Mo.). 

"Making it to the final site in Orange Beach is the desired destination come November," said Cappuccilli. "That’s step one. But it’s also time to get back to work and prepare for the next competition ahead. Making it to Alabama is part of the goal. Now we focus on the next game in front of us."

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