Westmont Women’s Soccer, ranked 16th in the NAIA, took sole possession of first place in the Golden State Athletic Conference standings with a 3-1 win over Hope International (8-6-1, 2-4 GSAC). The win improved the Warriors’ record to 8-0-3 overall and 3-0-1 in conference play. Westmont now has 10 points in the conference standings and is one point ahead of Vanguard (7-3-2) and Menlo (6-3-1) who are both 3-1 in GSAC play.

Reese Davidson led off the Warriors scoring in the 24th minute, recording her 11th goal of the season. Shayna  Stock threw a ball in from the left touchline to Taylie Scott near midfield. Scott booted a long ball diagonally toward the end line right of the goal. Katie DeMillo used one touch to pass the ball back in front of the net where Davidson one-touched it past the keeper from seven yard out.

“I’m really excited about how Reese scored the first goal,” said Westmont head coach Jenny Jaggard. “We have been working on that in practice all week.”

In the 32nd minute center back Makenna Meyers made an outstanding defensive save to preserve the Warriors one-goal lead. The Royals’ Sarah Ralston sent a ball toward the goal that teammate Ryley Candelario ran on in full stride and caught up with just outside the 18-yard box, firing off a shot with her right foot.

Westmont goalkeeper Kailey Meyer was running toward the ball at the same time and was able to get her left foot on the initial shot from Candelario.

“Hope is really dangerous on fast transitions and KK (Meyer) did a good job coming out to make some big saves today,” said Jaggard of her goalkeeper.

However, the ball went right back to Candelario, ricocheted off her left foot, and was headed straight for an empty net.

Meyers, who had been trailing Candelario, raced the Hope International player to the ball. Just before it would have crossed the end line inside the left post, Meyers slid and kicked the ball to the left, preventing the would-be game-tying goal.

Just five minutes later, senior Sadie Hill scored her first collegiate goal to give the Warriors a 2-0 advantage. Karley Kingsley headed a Royal’s punt at midfield toward Amelia Villa. Villa settled the ball and passed to DeMillo who one-touched the ball to Amarys Machado. Machado sent it right back to DeMillo as Hill sprinted down the right touchline.

DeMillo turned toward goal, drawing a defender with her, then used her left foot to send the ball to Hill. Hill, all alone on the right flank, touched the ball with her left foot, sending it inside the 18-yard box. Twelve yards from the end line, Hill chipped the ball over the leaping goalkeeper, landing it in the left side netting.

“Sadie’s goal was from a crazy angle,” noted Jaggard. “She did a great job getting that to the back post. Milo had a great game getting the two assists and helping create many other opportunities.”

The Royals drew within one in the 68th minute on a penalty kick by Ralston.  Westmont was called for a foul in the box when Candelario was dribbling toward goal inside the 18.

Following the penalty kick, the Royals appeared to pursue the game with renewed energy. In the 78th minute, however, Westmont restored their two-goal lead on Kingsley’s third goal of the season. Villa settled a headed ball from a Royals’ player, dribbled toward the top of the 18, then passed back to Kingsley on the left side. From 25-yards out, Kingsley planted her right foot then chipped the ball toward the right side netting. The Hope International keeper got two hands on the ball, but its momentum carried it behind her and the assistant referee quickly indicated that the ball had cleared the plane of the goal line.

“We knew that we needed to challenge their keeper with those types of balls today,” said Jaggard. “So, it was great that Karly was able to find one to solidify the win in the second half.”

One of the largest cheers of the game, from players and fans alike, came in the 84th minute of the game when Macey Preciado entered the pitch to replace Davidson.

“It was exciting to get Macey Preciado back on the field, the first time in over a year when she tore her ACL,” noted Jaggard of the junior midfielder.

Next week, the Warriors will hit the road for a pair of conference games. On Thursday, Westmont will take on Vanguard in Costa Mesa at 1:30 p.m. Then on Saturday, the Warriors will face the Hawks of San Diego Christian. Saturday’s game will be played in Temecula at Galway Downs.