Lady Warriors kick off playoffs with shutout over White Plains


Photo: Westbrook Christian’s Jillian Shoars (4) marks White Plains’ Madisyn Mckenzie during the Lady Warriors’ 10-0 victory in the Class 4A girls state soccer playoffs on Tuesday, April 30 in Rainbow City. (Chris McCarthy/Messenger)

By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor

With pun most certainly intended, the Westbrook Christian girls soccer team got off on the right foot in the postseason on Tuesday, April 30.
Sparked by five goals from freshman Anna Grace Whittemore, the Lady Warriors (17-4-3) opened the Class 4A state playoffs with a 10-0 victory over White Plains in Rainbow City. The contest ended with 10:38 left in the game via the 10-goal mercy rule after a goal by Ava Staton.
“Our girls came out fired up tonight,” said Westbrook head coach Jody Keene. “The average age of our roster is between 13 and 14 [years old], so we’re very much a young team. With no expectations, the focus for this year has been to earn the respect that our previous teams had, and these girls have most definitely done that.”
Four of Whittemore’s goals came in the first half, during which Westbrook built a 5-0 lead. She scored at 20:48, followed by a goal from Ashton Zemo approximately 10 minutes later.
Whittemore then scored three goals in the space of six and a half minutes – the first at 3:09 off an assist from Piper Beck, the second at 2:29 and the third with 44 seconds remaining until halftime.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said Keene of the explosive offense. “We were throwing a lot of shots at the goal early in the year and weren’t get anything to sink. Now we’re finally starting to hit the back of the net, and tonight’s result reflected that.”
After graduating three out of the four defensive starters from last season, Keene pointed to the rapid development of his 2024 backline as a key to the team’s success. Junior Jillian Shores is the lone returnee.
“These girls (Elyn Cantrell, Lexie Seawright and Izzy Warren) got some playing time last year, but not a whole lot, and they’ve stepped in and made a seamless transition. In our four losses, the average was by one goal, so that kind of tells how our defenders have shut down some pretty potent offenses. [Goalie] Maddy [Machen] is starting to feel a little bit lonely out there.”
Beck resumed the scoring 28 seconds into the second half, with Whittemore netting her fifth goal of the night at 36:21. Avery Greer scored less than six minutes later, while Staton’s goal at 25:44 made it 9-0. Lilly Ostendorf also had an assist.
Westbrook visits Jacksonville in the second round on Saturday, May 4 at 6 p.m.
“Jacksonville is solid in the center of the field with an attacking center midfielder and speed on the outside,” said Keene. “They also have a center back who is aggressive and gets after it. So we’re definitely looking forward to putting our tag up against that defense and crating some opportunities.”

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