College of the Canyons women’s soccer (6-2-1, 3-0) soundly defeated the shorthanded West LA Wildcats (0-8-2, 0-3) on Wednesday.
The Cougars were led by striker Rebekah Brooks, who notched a hat trick in the first half before subbing out for the remainder of the Western State Conference matchup.
The visiting West LA only started 10 players before going down to nine due to an injury late in the first half.
The Wildcats were resting players and were well aware of the task ahead of them, coming in with a conservative approach. They moved the ball around well when they had possession but just couldn’t force anything
It didn’t take too long for COC to start applying pressure.
Forward Ryan Shepherd put a ball right in front of the goal and two Cougars were there, but they couldn’t get a touch.
Sophomore Lauryn Bailey then got a clean look at the 10-minute mark. West LA keeper Wendy Nunez was able to deflect the ball for a nice save but it would land right in front of Brooks, who netted her first goal.
Brooks would strike again at the 17th minute. Just after turning the ball over, Brooks picked a defender’s pocket right in front of the Wildcats goal. The sophomore got another clean look and fired it past Nunez.
Finally, at the 38-minute mark, Brooks punched in her third of the day. The striker broke free on a ball from Jessie Bonsness and sent in a ball just behind Nunez for the hat trick. Brooks now has 10 goals on the season and six goals in her last three games.
“Our team is crazy this year,” said Brooks. “We have a lot of individual players who are very strong. We’re still working on working together and learning how to be options for each other but I think for the most part we have a very strong team.”
Canyons midfielders played well, setting up attacks on top of shutting down any Wildcat attack forming.
The visiting Wildcats only could only work a couple balls into the Cougar box.
West LA center back Leslie Walker would then go down with an injury, leaving the Wildcats down two players to finish the half. It’d only for a few minutes but her absence on the back line was felt and Canyons took advantage.
Midfielder Lauren Bailey got in on the scoring at the 43-minute mark on a nice pass from Katie Russell to go up 4-0 just before the half.
Canyons had a ton of shots just miss over the crossbar. The offense was rolling and head coach Justin Lundin didn’t want to change a thing.
“We have a good attitude,” said Lundin. “We talked about it beforehand that every game matters. So even if it’s a game like we had today, we have to get something out of the game. So it’s just about redirecting their focus.”
Walker returned in the second half and led an early defensive stand to keep the Cougars scoreless to start the second half.
COC kept applying the pressure but just couldn’t find the back of the net. Meanwhile, the Cougar defense was flying to every ball on every Wildcat possession.
“The [biggest] growth on our team is the intensity,” said Brooks. “We have a very intense team.”
The Wildcats managed to move the ball around again but still couldn’t muster up any offense.
The head umpire would then chat back with some spectators who didn’t agree with some calls.
After 80 minutes, Canyons’ freshman Emma Amaya made it 5-0 with a scorcher of a shot from 70 feet out.
“I think what stands out for us this this year would be just our creativity in the midfield,” said Lundin. “A lot of athleticism at the top and even in the back. We’re kind of strong in every position and then we’ll even go four or five players deep on the bench. So that’s a big luxury that we haven’t always had every year.”
The Cougars are now on a three-game win streak with 19 goals scored in the stretch. The win also marks 15 in a row against West LA.
The team will head to Bakersfield College on Friday for another conference matchup at 7 p.m.