NORTON SHORES – Western Michigan Christian is a traditional soccer power, and the school already has a pile of conference championship trophies from the girls and boys programs from years past.

But school officials will have to make room in the trophy case for one more pretty soon, because the Warrior girls wrapped up the Lakes 8 conference title with a 3-0 victory over a good Orchard View team on Monday night on their home field.

The championship is a special one, because the Lakes 8 will be defunct after this season, so WMC will remain on top of the hill of that conference forever.

The Warriors, who play a challenging non-conference schedule, are now 7-6-4 overall on the season, but 6-0-2 in the conference.

WMC’s Kaiya Betten lets a shot fly. Photo/Jeremy Clark

“It’s great,” said WMC senior Sydney Betten, whose late goal helped sew up the victory. “I know it’s been a couple years since we last won the conference. It was really exciting that we pulled it off.”

WMC won the title by beating a dangerous Orchard View squad that has a number of players who score a lot of goals.

The Cardinals were the aggressors in the early part of the game, getting the first four shots on goal.

But the Warriors took the lead for good when they cashed in on their first shot, which came from sophomore Brooklyn Watts on a breakaway midway through the first half.

Western Michigan Christian senior Sydney Betten looks for a teammate to pass to. Photo/Jeremy Clark

“It’s an issue we have struggled with all year,” said Western Michigan Christian coach Deb Pekel about her team capitalizing on opportunities. “It has kept score lines closer than what the games really were. So it was exciting that our training paid off and we got it in on our first real chance.”

Sophomore Kaiya Betten scored with about eight minutes left in the half, and the Warriors led 2-0 at the break.

WMC finished off the Cardinals by maintaining the offensive pressure in the second half and outshooting the visitors 8-4.

Sydney Betten scored the final goal of the game on a penalty shot with about 16 minutes left on the clock.

“Sometimes we get in our own way and we get complacent thinking a 2-0 lead is enough,” said Pekel on her team’s mindset. “It’s a very dangerous score line, and we knew OV would give us a battle in the second half.”

Warrior goalkeeper Libby Mast posted the shutout with 10 saves on the night. Orchard View keeper Elizabeth Estelle also played well, making 11 saves.

Orchard View’s Aubrien Coleman (14) and WMC’s Emily Matz race for the ball. Photo/Jeremy Clark
Orchard View’s Kylee Carmean (7) tries to work her way past WMC’s Haley Breuker (14). Photo/Jeremy Clark