Costa Mesa, Calif.- No. 8 Vanguard and No. 12 Westmont faced off to determine the 2012 Golden State Athletic Conference Champion on Saturday at the VU Soccer Field. With a perfect slate in league play headed into the showdown, the Lions were insured their first-ever women's soccer title, win or lose. The matter to be decided was whether or not the Blue and Gold would split a co-championship with the Warriors.
Apparently, Lions do not like to share. A greedy and resolute group showed up to play, posting three goals while holding WC scoreless, to claim the solo crown and secure a spot for the 2012 women's team in the Vanguard record books.
The early minutes of the first period were played in the midfield and it appeared that the deadlocked match would stay there. At 24:21, however, freshman Ashley McCutcheon (Aliso Viejo, Calif.) broke the silence, firing off the matches' first shot. McCutcheon's shot served as the catalyst for VU's offense, which came up with four other opportunities in the half but failed to connect.
Just under six minutes into the second half senior Rachel Rucireta (Yorba Linda, Calif.) spotted classmate Amanda Couch (Fair Oaks, Calif.) standing wide open in the middle of the field. Rucireta sent a perfect pass across the pitch and a determined Couch had time to wind up and blast a powerful and unreachable ball into the upper right corner over WC's goalkeeper Lindsey Smith (Pleasanton, Calif.).
Junior Jordan Davidson (Tucson, Ariz.) gave VU some insurance at 64:51 when she stole a bobbled ball from a WC defender and somehow managed find the back middle of the net while lunging and simultaneously sliding to her knees on the shot.
Vanguard's third tally came in the 85th minute when Davidson found Couch on a cross to the right side of the box. It appeared that Couch missed the sweet spot on the ball, but her placement was accurate and the ball trickled into the right corner past Smith.
Vanguard outshot Westmont 13-2 in the match.
Lauren Terry (Corona, Calif.) recorded the shutout in goal for the Lions to remain undefeated in conference play with a league-best 10 wins. She sits at 11-2 overall and now boasts six shutouts in her sophomore campaign.
As the top-seeded teams in the upcoming GSAC tournament, Vanguard and Westmont have secured first-round byes. The semifinal round is set for November 2nd. The Lions and the Warriors will wait for the outcome of Tuesday's first-round matches to see who they will host.