The Westminster girls’ soccer team won its fifth straight title and 13th overall with a 3-1 overtime win over Lovett in Powder Springs May 17.
The score was tied 1-1 at the end of regulation before junior forward Tori Penn scored the overtime session’s first goal, which proved to be the game-winner. She followed it up with an assist on Riley Patton’s goal later in the period for the Wildcats’ final goal of the contest.
“Lovett is our biggest rival and we compete with them for state titles in all of our sports,” Penn said. “There were tons of fans from both teams at the game, so beating them means a lot. We dominated the first half but (were) not able to finish chances. Going into overtime, our mindset was to not panic, stick to what we know and put away the chances we got. I took an open shot and it was the best feeling to have everyone run up to me and have that weight off my shoulders. It was fun.”
The victory was the seventh time in the season that Westminster was tied at halftime or end of regulation and won the contest.
“Our chemistry has been close this year and the team has stepped up,” Penn said. “In those tight moments, we’re able to not get mad at each other and stick to what we know by fighting through it.”
Penn concluded her stellar junior campaign with 27 goals. “My teammates helped me a lot with moving around defenders and getting the ball,” she said.
Westminster head coach Clark Meyer said, “Tori is a complete striker. She can create scoring opportunities on her own with her speed and aggressiveness, and she plays beautifully within our possession-based style of play, creating opportunities for her teammates and clinically burying the chances that they serve up to her. Off the field, she is surprisingly humble and is completely devoted to her teammates.”
Penn has played soccer since she was 4 and started attending Westminster in pre-first grade.
“Soccer is my passion” she said. Practicing outside with my team is what I love to do. It’s an outlet for me to run around and my favorite feeling in the world is playing with my teammates and doing well.”
Penn, who lists United States Women’s Soccer National Team player Megan Rapinoe as an athlete of inspiration, plans to continue her career on the pitch collegiately and has verbally committed to the University of Georgia.
“They have recruited teammates for my club team, Tophat Soccer Club, and I’ve gotten to know the school,” she said. “Both of my parents went to Georgia so I’ve grown up there. The coaches are nice and supportive and treat the players well. I love the environment.”
Before she becomes a Bulldog, Penn in the 2019-20 school year will play multiple sports including gymnastics, where she helped Westminster earn fourth in the Class A-5A team competition at the GHSA state championships May 3.
“It was super fun competing in uneven parallel bars for my team in another sport,” she said. “I used to play both sports until middle school, when I focused on soccer to go farther with it. However, I started doing gymnastics again because its an individual sport, and Westminster allows me to work around a practice schedule to play both sports at the same time.”
Penn was also a member of the school’s cross country and diving teams in the fall and winter, respectively, of her junior year.
“I’ve grown up with playing multiple sports and managing my time,” Penn said. “When I got into high school, only playing soccer outside of school wasn’t difficult. I’m good at balancing my time with sports and academics.”
Penn, the daughter of Sandi Penn-White and Darren White, is a standout off the field as well with a 4.0 grade point average, and lists biology and honors pre-calculus as her favorite classes. Penn plans to take calculus, French, AP English and AP Physics in her senior year. She’s also a member of the school’s Student Athletic Advisory Committee at Westminster with projects including improved nutrition for the athletes. Penn also has an interest in interior design and plans to pursue a career in that industry.