The Master’s University women’s soccer team was oh-so close to almost wrapping up a first-round, home playoff game Tuesday afternoon by beating one of the nation’s top teams on Reese Field.
Minutes away from upsetting No. 11 Westmont, the Mustangs watched the Warriors come out of a scrum in front of the net to score the game-tying goal that eventually led to a 1-1 double-overtime draw.
The tie, which gained the Mustangs a point, temporarily put the club’s postseason plans on hold as it remained entrenched in fourth place in the GSAC. The Mustangs, who have one regular-season conference match remaining, are 4-3-2 in GSAC play (8-5-4 overall) with 14 points while fifth-place Menlo (3-4-1), which has two games left, trails with 10 points.
Lynnae George’s goal in the game’s 36th minute (35:57) got the Mustangs off on the right foot and nearly held up the rest of the way. It was the sophomore’s team-high tying fourth goal of the season and came from 15 yards out off a pass from Jenae Garcia.
It was the Mustangs’ only shot in a first half dominated, at least on paper, by a Westmont team that kept pounding away at the TMU net to the tune of seven shots, four of those on goal.
However, Mustangs keeper Jessica Zubia was up to the challenge. The senior goalie registered four first-half saves and added one in the second stanza and one more in the second overtime to finish with six.
The one she couldn’t stop came with 4:25 remaining in regulation when Westmont’s Sophie Fuller headed one by her from about a yard out to keep her from her seventh shutout of the year.
Following the match, Mustang head coach Curtis Lewis described the game-tying goal this way, “Credit Westmont on its continued pressure toward the end of the game. They finally broke through off a set piece.”
Westmont almost won the match in the first extra stanza, however, Avalon Albright hit the post at the 92:32 mark. A little over a minute later (94:05) TMU’s Kinley Kane came right back with a shot that Warrior keeper Amber Rojas kept out of the net.
Zubia literally saved her best for last when she turned back a Grayce DeGroot shot with 4:10 left in the second overtime to preserve the tie.
On his way off the field after the game, Lewis said, “I’m extremely proud of our girls and how they played today. We showed heart, courage, and belief that on any day we can compete with the best in the nation.”
They’ll have another chance to display all of that this Saturday in the regular-season finale when they travel to Costa Mesa to take on ninth-ranked Vanguard. A victory would sew up that playoff home game on November 4.