Nearly three weeks had passed since Westfield’s girls’ soccer team had last won a game, leaving its players antsy but not necessarily panicking in hopes of a turnaround. In the Bulldogs’ minds, the shortcomings of their past three games could all be erased with a valiant effort Monday at Virginia Conference 5 rival Chantilly, a team they hadn’t beaten since 2011.
In reversing this recent losing trend, the No. 8 Bulldogs relied on an unlikely offensive source, with junior forward Monica Horinko scoring her first two goals of the season to help spark a 5-3 victory over the No. 6 Chargers in Chantilly.
“It’s the best feeling ever to beat our rival and score my first two goals of the year,” Horinko said. “We just had to be patient because we knew we had the potential to do it.”
Chantilly tested Westfield’s poise early, as Laila Gray turned a misplayed pass into her ninth goal of the season during the game’s fourth minute. But the Bulldogs (5-3-1, 3-0 in Conference 5) responded soon after, as freshman Jada Massey knocked in a goal from the left side to knot the score at 1.
“I’ve really tried to be on my game and build my confidence because, as a freshman, I came in not really knowing anyone or where I might fit on the team,” said Massey, who has a team-high five goals. “But I just try to focus and do my best.”
Massey’s active play and game-breaking speed along the sidelines sparked the Bulldogs to seven shots and two more goals in the first half. First, Horinko capitalized on a mishandled corner kick by booting a short shot into the net. Then after the Bulldogs drew a foul inside the box, Brittany Fary deposited a penalty kick into the right side of the net to push Westfield’s lead to 3-1 at halftime.
Behind the technical play of senior Kat Bukovsky, Westfield’s defense maintained its lead by recovering against Chantilly’s talented forwards and clearing away a handful of balls that rolled into the vicinity of the net. Still, the Chargers (6-3, 2-1) eventually broke through, as Gray headed in a goal, followed moments later by a Karina Castillo goal off a pinpoint pass by Kayla Christian to push Chantilly back into a tie in the 65th minute.
Horinko and Massey, however, ensured that Chantilly’s run was short-lived. Less than 60 seconds after Castillo’s goal, Horinko found an opening in the middle of the box and kicked a shot into the left pocket of the net. Then, following a deflected corner kick, Massey cleaned up the rebound with a laser that made for the final margin and kept Westfield perfect in conference play.