Girls soccer concludes playoff run


Printed with permission Darlene Bible

Midfielder Gemma Ozturk ’24 passes the ball past a defender in the team’s 1-0 victory over Notre Dame on Jan. 27.

Alexander Dinh

The girl’s soccer team lost to Hart 1-0 in the Division 2 CIF Southern Section championship at College of the Canyons on Feb. 24 and then lost to San Marcos 2-0 in the Division 2 CIF regional semifinals March 2. The team finished their season as Mission League Champions with an overall record of 16-7-3, going 5-2 in the playoffs and 8-1-1 in league play.

Program Head Richard Simms said the team overcame many obstacles and ultimately grew closer together throughout the season.
“This group overcame a lot of adversity throughout the season, and they were really impressive in their ability to do that,” Simms said. “I truly believe that in my 18 years at Harvard-Westlake, this was the most that a team has ever improved.”

This year, the team had a much younger lineup, as seven out of the 11 starters were either ninth or 10th graders. Simms said he is grateful the team got to play so many playoff games because it will help the young players grow for the future.

“We got the opportunity to play seven playoff games, which is a lot,” Simms said. “I think these games are going to help these younger players in the future, as they’ll be really prepared for those big moments.”

Defender and Team Captain Dani Lynch ’23 said the team grew closer together throughout the season, which helped them during their important playoff games.

“In the playoffs, we showed how, even with many injuries, we just push through,” Lynch said. “It showed how this team progressed over the course of the year.”

Lynch is committed to play Division 1 soccer at Clemson in the fall. She said she is excited to continue to showcase her skills at the next level.

“In addition to playing with my sister, I am also excited to grow as a player and be at the best of my ability,” Lynch said. “I just want to go and be gritty when I play in college. It’s just everyone showing off what they have and I feel like that is the best part of it.”

Forwards Kaia Santomarco-King ’26 and Vicky Pugh ’25 led the team in goals scored. Simms said he is excited to see them grow as players over the next few years.

“It’s gonna be exciting to watch [Santomarco-King and Pugh] grow,” Simms said. “They both still have so much potential. The sky is the limit for them.”