Despite an outstanding performance against the NAIA’s top-ranked team, Westmont Women’s Soccer saw its season come to an end in the quarterfinals of the NAIA National Championships. Westmont fell to second-seeded Keiser of Florida (22-1) by a score of 2-1.
The game started in what can only be described as a bizarre fashion with Keiser scoring on the opening kick-off. Josefine Troneby took an initial touch of the ball, passing it back to Benedikte Schroeder. Schroeder sent a towering shot that covered 55 yards and took one bounce before finding the back of the Warriors’ net.
“It was a shocking start of the game, but our team responded with an incredible intensity,” said Westmont coach Jenny Jaggard.
The Warriors gained an equalizer in the 36th minute. After Kira Nemeth sent a ball over the top along the left side, Bri Johnson collected the service and fired from 20 yards out, just above the 18-yard box corner. The ball clanged off the far post and ricocheted into the net.
“It was a beautiful goal,” said Jaggard of Johnson’s 15th and final goal of the season. “The Keiser keeper didn’t have a chance.”
Keiser scored the game winner in the 67th minute. Filippa Millqvist served a ball into the box from the left side that allowed Caroline Jensen to slip behind the defenders. Jensen fired off a shot into the far netting from eight yards out to record what would become the game winner.
Despite the loss, Jaggard felt her team played in peak form
“I have never seen a college team at any level play with the intensity that we did today,” she aid. “I was simply stunned at how they were able to sustain that level of play for 90 minutes.
“Keiser looked like giants compared to us,” Jaggard added, “and I definitely had the impression that everyone expected Keiser to give us a thumping. That just was not the case. We won nearly all of the 50-50 balls despite their size.”
While the loss brings an end to the collegiate careers of Maddi Berthoud, Kira Nemeth, Brooke Porter and Katelynn Merrell – all key contributors to the Warriors’ success, the majority of the roster will return.
“I think we sent a message that we are a talented, top-tier team,” said Jaggard. “We gained valuable playoff experience this year and I am looking forward to next year.”