COLUMBIA, KY. -- Head coach Jason Surrell spent time this week examining the past success Azusa Pacific has had against Lindsey Wilson (Ky.). What he saw was a program that had never lost to the vaunted Blue Raiders. So why begin this week?
The Cougars traveled east and defeated the Blue Raiders, 2-1, in the midst of a loud, hostile environment at Lindsey Wilson Park on the opening day of the Kelme Classic. The nation’s No. 2-ranked Azusa Pacific built a 2-0 lead and would have recorded a shutout had not a late goal found its way into the back of the net. The once boisterous crowd of 891 was stunned at the outcome.
The blow dealt by Azusa Pacific was a mighty one as it brought Lindsey Wilson’s 35 game home unbeaten streak to an abrupt end. The Blue Raiders had not lost at home since Sept. 7, 2002, when Missouri Baptist beat them, 3-2.
“The girls were ready,” said Surrell. “It took the first 5 minutes to adjust but we did and the girls stepped up. Our subs were great and our defense did everything right.”
As has been the case throughout the season, Shannon Coe was involved in each of the Cougars’ goals. After a foul gave Azusa Pacific a free kick, Coe turned to her coach to get instructions. “She turned to me and asked me what I wanted her to do,” Surrell said. “I just told her ‘do what you do.’”
She responded in grand fashion. Coe’s free kick into the upper 90 in the 31st minute from just over 20 yards out gave Azusa Pacific a 1-0 lead it would take into halftime.
In the 55th minute, Coe’s counter attack led to the Cougars’ second goal. While running at the last defender, she spotted Mari Kasamoto and delivered a perfect ball. Kasamoto then promptly beat the keeper by sliding the ball inside the right post to make it 2-0.
With Lindsey Wilson attacking at every opportunity as the game wore on keeper Jill Colfer proved up to the task. Her 5 saves helped turn away the Blue Raiders throughout the match although Hishamar Falconer scored in the 89th minute to make it 2-1.
The Cougars and Blue Raiders each took 9 shots. Lindsey Wilson had 6 shots on goal to the Cougars’ 5. The Cougars had 9 corner kicks to 6 for the Blue Raiders.
Surrell, who improved to 2-0-1 against Lindsey Wilson, spent time this week focused on instilling confidence in his team. “We talked about the past success we have had against Lindsey Wilson. We wanted the girls to be confidant,” he said. “They will enjoy this one tonight but then we have to get right back to work tomorrow. We have a long season ahead of us but this win helps the girls realize how we can play.”
The Blue Raiders, last season’s national champion, had spent all of 2005 perched atop the polls as the No. 1-ranked team in the land. While their time at the top has ended, the Cougars have not sewn up the top spot yet.
With the win, Azusa Pacific improves to 3-0-1 all-time against Lindsey Wilson (5-1-1), including 1-0 in the Blue Grass state. The Cougars do not have much time to savor the taste of victory. They must turn around and tomorrow face a No. 4-ranked Lee (Tenn.) that was upset Friday afternoon, 2-1, by Robert Morris (Ill.). The kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. (CST) in Columbia, Ky.