On Nov. 2, Point Loma Nazarene University’s women’s soccer team won its 10th match of the season, beating Academy of Art University 5-1.
The Sea Lions were led by head coach Kristi Kiely and assistant coaches Tanner Wolf and Mark Yeeles. The Urban Knights were led by head coach Lauren Nadler and assistant coach Kaylyn Toyama.
From the jump, the Sea Lions were in control. Two minutes into the first 45-minute half the Sea Lions took the first shot of the 29 they would take over the course of the game, and five minutes into the match, they scored the first goal thanks to a corner kick from defender Emma Thrapp that was directed into the goal by a header from defender Jensen Shrout.
In the 18th minute, midfielder Nikki Ross, with assistance from forwards Alyssa Ketcham and Jillian Tubbs, put PLNU up 2-0.
The Sea Lions, led by head coach Kristi Kiely and assistant coaches Tanner Wolf and Mark Yeeles, kept up their offensive possession, not letting any shots come their way from the Urban Knights until there were 16 minutes left in the first half. The Urban Knights fired off their first shot of the game from beyond the penalty arc and missed the goal. This was one of only two shots that the Sea Lions would allow the Knights to take.
Lily Paulson, a second-year midfielder for the Sea Lions, said the team is playing its best soccer now.
“I feel like our team chemistry is just growing and growing,” said Paulson. “At the beginning, it was definitely harder to play together because it felt like a new team, honestly. But I feel like through the few losses and just a lot of adversity, the team is all of a sudden clicking.”
With 13 minutes remaining in the first half, midfielder Grace Nelson scored a goal with another Ross assist, bringing the score to 3-0 off 18 shots.
Samantha Wilson, a second-year midfielder for the Sea Lions, said PLNU took its lead coming into the second half as an opportunity to put in some of its players that are new to the team.
“It was also a good opportunity and a good game for players who don’t always get a lot of minutes to be able to play,” said Wilson.
Paulson agreed and said that it was a great time for the freshmen to get more experience in college-level play.
“It was exciting to see some of our freshmen stepping into new positions and get more confident as they continued to play,” said Paulson.
In the 70th minute of the match, the Sea Lions scored their fourth goal. With an assist from Nelson, forward Bethany Arabe landed a shot into the goal. At this point in the match, the Sea Lions had taken 25 shots, 10 of which were on goal.
Athletics Department member Owen Hearn was in charge of shagging the soccer balls during the match and said the number of shots PLNU took had him working extra hard.
“Because of the extra amount of shots, the high number of shots, I was running way more because I also have to go pick up the ball every time it goes out of bounds behind the goal,” said Hearn. “So I was really running.”
With 17 minutes left in the second half, a cross from the right corner from Arabe was blocked by a handball from the Urban Knights, setting the Sea Lions up for a penalty kick (PK). Defender Naomi Ellis scored a goal on the PK, making the score 5-0.
With 15 minutes left in the match, PLNU made a defensive error, allowing the Urban Knights to score their first goal of the game, bringing the score to 5-1.
The Sea Lions soon regained control of the ball, putting more shots on goal as they ran out the clock. They ended the game outshooting Academy of Art 29-2.
“It was really fun after the game,” said Wilson. “We were all celebrating as a team because we had found out some information of some other games that went in the direction that we needed them to go to. We just need a lot of games to go our way. And they have been.”
The Sea Lions currently sit at the third in the conference, and the first official NCAA regional rankings recently announced PLNU as the top team in the West Region.
PLNU looks to celebrate Senior Day and keep improving its record against PacWest newbie Westmont College on Wednesday, Nov. 8.