ORANGE BEACH, Ala. -- For the first time since 2005, Westmont (17-1-4) has advanced to the semifinals of the NAIA Women's Soccer National Championship. The Warriors defeated the No. 7 Panthers of Davenport of Mich. (19-3-1) by a score of 1-0 in overtime. Westmont, the number two seed, will take on No. 3 Northwood of Florida in the semifinals on Friday at 3:30 p.m. CST, 1:30 p.m. PST.
"It was a good match," said Westmont head coach Kristi Kiely. "Davenport was fantastic today and made it very hard. I thought our players battled and did everything we asked."
The golden goal came just two and one-half minutes into overtime. The Warriors earned a corner kick from the right side which was taken by Mallory Mitchell. The ball went off a defender and Sophie Fuller shielded the ball as it was going out of bounds to provide Westmont another corner kick opportunity, this time from the left side.
Mitchell's second kick headed toward the front of the goal and found the head of a Panther defender who inadvertently put the ball in the net for an own goal.
Senior goalkeeper Lindsey Smith recorded her 10th complete game shutout of the year. It was the 16th shutout this season for the Warriors as a team.
"I thought both keepers were great today," said Kiely, referring to both Smith and Panther keeper Michelle Marcus. "Lindsey has been so consistent this year. She has been strong on the ball, has had fantastic distribution, great leadership in the back and ownership of her box. It is a lot to get through her.
"Lindsey would be the first to say that her back line has been very good," continue Kiely. "Courtney (Stonesifer) stepped into the back and was tremendous today. This whole tournament, she has been close to being the player of the game. Amanda Diesen was fantastic and our center backs (Fuller and Sophie Judd) were strong. I couldn't be more proud of them."
In the first half, both squads took five shots with only one for each team being on goal. In the second half, however, the time of possession and number of scoring opportunities moved in favor of the Warriors. Westmont tallied 10 shots in the second half to Davenport's five. Half of Westmont's shots in the second period were on target while none of Davenports were. Westmont enjoyed a 7-2 corner kick advantage which ultimately proved to be the difference maker in the game.
Friday's semifinal game will be a rematch from last year's NAIA National Championship Opening Round game in which Northwood prevailed 1-0 in overtime.
"Obviously, we have a little extra something for them because they knocked us out of the tournament last year," said Kiely. "No doubt it will be a hard game. Helen Lynskey, their leading goal scorer, is very good."
Lynskey has scored 23 goals this season while Johanna Engberg has added 20. Northwood has outscored their opponents 76-17. The Seahawks advanced to the semifinals with a 2-1 victory over unseeded Robert Morris of Illinois (15-5-1).
"We are going to need to get forward, get more numbers in the box," continued Kiely about Friday's contest. "(Today) we did a good job with possession and did a great job defensively, but we struggled getting numbers in the box. We will be looking at some film tomorrow on our day off and have a chance to make those adjustments."
With today's win, Westmont has improved its NAIA Championship record to 30-6-7 (.779)