The second-seeded Westlake girls lacrosse program took another step Thursday in its steady progression, defeating visiting Newbury Park 21-12 to reach the LA Championship semifinals for the first time.
Westlake (17-1) didn’t make the 16-team LA Championship field in 2016 and 2017, instead playing in — and winning — the eight-team LA Invitational both those seasons. Last year, the Warriors made the Championship field as a No. 3 seed but were eliminated by West Ranch in the second round.
Thursday, they took the next step, winning a second-round game in the Championship Tournament and reaching the Final Four.
Westlake relied on both its high-scoring offense (17 goals per game) and stellar defense to hold off No. 7-seed Newbury (10-3), which controlled 60 percent of the draws thanks to Emma Ing (12 draw controls) and Erin Duffy (9 of 15 DCs). With goalie Rachel Blanton making 12 saves and the defense causing 14 turnovers, though, the Warriors were able to get the ball back to their scorers.
Westlake led 13-8 at halftime and limited the Panthers to only four goals in the final 25 minutes.
Shelby Tilton (6g, 4a) and Delaney Waggoner (6g) led the Westlake offense. Kailee Follette (4g), Sarah Sullivan (2g, 2a), Julia Dinerman (2g) and Mia Trilling (1g, 2a) filled out the scoresheet.
Tilton was a factor at both ends of the field and in the draw circle. In addition to her offense, she controlled eight draws and caused seven turnovers. Follette controlled five draws and caused two turnovers; Sullivan caused three turnovers; and Dinerman and Kaila Millan each caused one.
Panthers’ goalie Daniella Guyette prevented the Warriors from piling up even more offense, recording a remarkable 17 saves.
Ing led Newbury with six goals, four on free-position opportunities, and freshman Sierra Carey (3g), Duffy (2g) and Grace Therriault (1g) rounded out the scoring.
The Warriors will meet No. 3-seed Palos Verdes in Saturday’s first semifinal at 1 p.m. at Culver City HS. Westlake beat the Sea Kings 21-17 when the teams met earlier this season.