By Alan Grosbach, Manager of Communications and Sports Information
ORANGE BEACH, Ala. – (Bracket | Schedule | Box Score) No. 2 Westmont (Calif.) advances to the title match for the sixth time in program history, as the Warriors tied No. 3 Northwood (Fla.) at the 2013 NAIA Women’s Soccer National Championship, presented by the Sports Medicine Center at Orthopaedic Group, P.C., in semifinal action on Friday. Westmont, who advanced due to a 7-6 score on penalty kicks, will take on No. 4 Concordia (Ore.) in tomorrow’s national championship final at 5 p.m. CST at the Orange Beach Sportsplex.
“I think it was the whole team today,” said Westmont head coach Kristi Kiely. “Obviously we’re excited to be there. Northwood is a very good side and made it difficult for us to come from behind. The girls, there’s something about them, they won’t quit. I’m really proud of them.”
With the win, Westmont improves to 5-2-2 all-time in the semifinals and advances to the championship final for the first time since 2003, which is also the last time the Warriors won a national crown.
Defense dominated a majority of the first half until Northwood forward Helen Lynskey scored her first of two goals on a free kick from approximately 30 yards out. She added her second of the match in the 56th to give the Seahawks a 2-0 lead with 34 minutes remaining in regulation. With the two goals, Lynskey, who has more than 100 goals and 50 assists in 80 career games with Northwood, upped her season scoring total to 25, including six goals at the national championship.
However, the Westmont would not back down. The Warriors cut the deficit to 2-1 on corner kick header by Brooke Lillywhite – her second goal of the national championship. Approximately 12 minutes later, Westmont tied the score on another set piece when a Northwood defender accidently cleared the ball into her own net for an own goal.
Westmont had the best opportunity to claim the outright win in the second overtime when Kelsey Steck had her shot saved by a sprawling Matilda Ojaniemi before Mallory Mitchell’s follow-shot hit the crossbar and was cleared away by the Northwood defense.
In the shootout, Westmont goalkeeper Lindsey Smith saved the first and the last penalty kick to propel the Warriors into the title game.
The two teams were nearly even on the score-sheet with Northwood holding a 14-13 edge in shots, while Westmont claimed a 3-2 advantage in corner kicks.
Northwood, who was making its first-ever appearance in the national championship semifinal, ends its season with a 17-1-2 record.
NeuLion, the NAIA’s official video streaming company, will be broadcasting all final site games of the 2013 Women’s Soccer National Championship, presented by the Sports Medicine Center at Orthopaedic Group, P.C., in Orange Beach, Ala. Single day packages can be purchased for $9.95, while an all-championship pass is available for $29.95. For more information and to pre-register, click here.
Westmont (Calif.) head coach Kristi Kiely