Women’ soccer make Nationals despite loss
After losing to Westmont College Saturday in the GSAC Championship, the Eagles were still selected to go to Nationals. | Becky Mitchell/THE CHIMES
Despite a tough loss to Westmont College in the Golden State Athletic Conference Championship game, the Eagles’ regular season mastery was enough to catapult them into the Nationals Tournament. Biola will travel to La Grande, Ore. to take on the Eastern Oregon Mountaineers in the opening round Nov. 21.
A DIFFERENT NARRATIVE
On Nov.12, in the semifinal round against Menlo College, the Eagles cruised to a lopsided victory over the Oaks. With the help of goals from junior midfielder Jessie Burns and junior forward Taylor Venegas, accompanied by a shutout performance by the defense, Biola won 2-0. This win advanced the Eagles to the GSAC Championship round against Westmont College.
Nov. 14 was a different narrative for the women’s team in the championship round of the tournament. Although the same level of urgency and intensity carried over from the semifinals, two fluke goals were scored within minutes of each other towards the end of the first half.
Westmont sophomore forward Jackie Lopez’s two goals sank the Eagles and contributed towards a 3-0 win over Biola. After the loss, the Eagles’ chances of making Nationals were severely threatened, despite finishing first in the GSAC regular season standings.
“I think we lost because we didn't capitalize on the offensive opportunities we had,” Venegas said. “We need to work on our crosses into the box and being more dangerous offensively and learning how to deal with set plays defensively.”
Despite the lopsided score, the Eagles played well, especially on defense as they kept GSAC Player of The Year and Westmont senior forward, Kelsey Steck scoreless.
A TICKET TO NATIONALS
Even though the Eagles did not win the GSAC Championship, they still earned a ticket to Nationals. The Eagles get a chance at redemption to show the NAIA their selection was worthy.
“We are over the moon that we are going to nationals. We are so excited that we get a second chance to redeem ourselves from Saturday against Westmont,” Venegas said.
The Eagles will take on the Mountaineers in hopes of advancing to Orange Beach, Ala. in the next round. This is women's soccer’s third appearance in Nationals and first since 2004. The selection is a testimony The selection is a testimony to the Eagles solid performance throughout the regular season, despite the loss to Westmont.
Even with the joy of being selected for the tournament, the Eagles still have a big obstacle in front of them heading into the first round against Eastern Oregon — the weather. The weather forecasted sy La Grande anticipates a high of 46 degrees.
“The weather is definitely going to be the hardest part. I especially don't handle the cold too well so hopefully we can just let our adrenaline keep us warm,” Venegas said.