WESTFIELD, Mass. – Westfield State fell to #4 ranked Christopher Newport (Va.) University, 4-0, in a season-opening tournament at Virginia Wesleyan University in Virginia Beach.
For the first 42 minutes the two teams battled to a 0-0 stalemate, before the Captains finally got on the board when the Owls turned the ball over near the midfield stripe, and CNU's Ryanne Davidson launched a shot from nearly 40 yards out that caught Owls' freshman goalkeeper Lauryn Davis off her line. Davis leapt to defend the shot and got a hand on it, but the ball had enough momentum to find the back of the net for a 1-0 lead.
Davis' play helped keep the game tight. She made a diving save to her left on the first official shot faced in her collegiate career, then stood her ground against CNU striker Riley Cook in a 1-v-1 situation a few minutes later, deflecting a point blank shot over the cross bar, in total making seven saves in the first half.
Westfield's best chance of the first half came in the first 10-minutes of play, as Jenn Rennich crossed the ball from the right side for Madi Dufries, but Dufries' half volley carried high over the cross bar. The Owls (0-1) had a good run of play early and mustered another attempt with a dangerous long through ball to Lydia Kinsman, but Kinsman was unable to control the ball and get a shot.
CNU (1-0) distanced themselves with two goals in a 10-minute span early in the second half. Cook tallied in the 49th minute, then Karina Vasquez scored the first of her two goals in the 58th minute to give the Captains a 3-0 lead.
Westfield's Mary Kate MacAleavey whistled a shot just wide left from the top of the box in the 82nd minute
Christopher Newport opened the season as the #4 ranked team in the nation in the D3soccer.com preseason poll. The Captains advanced to the Division III Final Four last season.
Westfield will play Virginia Wesleyan tomorrow in the second day of the four-team tournament, in which the pairings were pre-arranged. The Marlins were 4-0 winners over Luther (Iowa) College earlier today.
The Owls are completing a week-long trip that concluded their preseason with several days of training in Virginia Beach in advance of the tournament. The Owls have regularly traveled to open the season under 15th year head coach Todd Ditmar, making trips to Montreal, Germany and Holland, California and North Carolina in recent years.