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First-Year Warriors Remain Unbeaten

By Brandon Petersen, 09/21/19, 11:15PM PDT

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5-0-1.

Not bad for a bunch of rookies.

It’s been a first-year no one could see coming for the Westcliff women’s soccer team, and it got even better Saturday night on the Championship Stadium pitch at OC Great Park, where the Warriors sent home Providence Christian with a 4-1 loss.

What made it even more impressive was the fact the Warriors found themselves in a position they haven’t found themselves in much this year, down early.

The Sea Beggars controlled the first 20 minutes of action Saturday, culminating in a 1-0 lead after Kin Spencer found Chanel Cundy for the game’s first score.

“The girls showed great determination,” Westcliff head coach Joey O’Keefe said. “We were unfortunate not to get ahead early, there were a couple of one-on-one opportunities we couldn’t finish, and we got punished on the other side, went down 1-0.

“But we showed that fight, that determination to get that one goal back, and go up 2-1 at halftime. There was a lot of boosted morale in the locker room.”

Sandra Nantunbwe equalized the contest in the 29th minute, then found Blair Gunderson streaking through the right side of the box seconds later for a beautiful sliding-kick finish.

Gunderson leapt to her feet afterward and let out a primal scream toward her teammates, lighting the fuse.

“It’s easy to get up for these kind of games, when you get down early and come back” O’Keefe said. “To not only be able to keep a clean sheet in the second half, but to also score some goals is huge, it’s big time.”

Nelly Galeana went top-shelf for an incredible finish in the 52nd minute to make it 3-1, and Gunderson iced the cake with her second score in the 77th.

Westcliff outshot the Sea Beggars 24-9.

Keeper Abby Craig was fantastic, finishing with five saves.

“We maintain that undefeated record, which is fantastic, it’s unreal,” O’Keefe said. “But what’s even more important to me is that we never lose at home. So we have one more home match, and that will be the focus when we get there.”

But first the Warriors will head back out on the road for the three-step that includes stops at William Jessup, Sierra Nevada and Cal Miramar.

First up is a meeting with William Jessup in Rocklin Thursday.

Kickoff is scheduled for 4:00 p.m.

To contact Brandon Petersen, e-mail brandonpetersen@westcliff.edu.