The NAIA No. 4-ranked Westmont men’s soccer team dropped 3-0 decision to Ottawa University (Ariz.) Thursday in the semifinal round of the Golden State Athletic Conference Tournament at Thorrington Field. The loss is the first for the Warriors (13-2-1) at home this season.
OUAZ (13-5-1) will face Menlo in the tournament final on Friday.
Westmont gave up two goals in the first half, just five minutes apart.
“I think we’ve been grounded throughout the success of the season, but not today,” explained Westmont coach Dave Wolf. “In the first half, we didn’t look like a team with chemistry, a team that loved each other.
“There’s no pointing fingers though, because if I’m going to point a finger I’m going to start with myself, at my leadership and my preparation of the group. We didn’t get it done today and hopefully we learn from it.”
In the final forty-five, the Warriors came out firing. Westmont outshot the Spirit 14-4 and again took the edge in corner kicks, 4-0. For all the action, it did not result in a Warrior score. Instead, OUAZ netted an unassisted goal in the 66th minute, by All-GSAC forward Christian Gennaro, bumping their lead up to 3-0.
There is still a postseason horizon for the Warriors. Because the GSAC is the host conference for the NAIA National Championship Tournament and because the Warriors won the GSAC regular season championship, they earned a bye in the first round of the NAIA National Tournament, scheduled for November 22 and 23. Westmont will await those results to find out their next opponent. The Warriors next game will take place the week of December 2 at the Great Park in Irvine.
“We have nearly three weeks to prepare and it’s always tricky to manage the postseason schedule, but this going automatically to the round of 16 is just uncharted territory for us,” noted Wolf. “Some of the good from a tough day like today is that I’m expecting we’re all going to be more alert and attentive as we prepare for that challenge. We want to keep our season alive.”
OUAZ will play Menlo for the 2019 GSAC Men’s Soccer Tournament Championship on Friday at 1:30 p.m. on Thorrington Field at Westmont.