COLUMBIA, Ky. -- Coming off a monumental victory over top-ranked Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) less than 24 hours earlier, Azusa Pacific faced a challenging task in playing No. 4-ranked Lee (Tenn.)as the Kelme Classic continued today in Columbia, Ky.
Although the start was expectedly slow, with both teams having played the day before, it was nonetheless another terrific ending for the Cougars as they scored 4 goals in the second half en route to a 4-1 win over the Lady Flames in the first-ever meeting between the schools.
The NAIA’s No.2-ranked Cougars got goals from 4 different players as they came out of a scoreless first half determined to pull out a the win after an inspired halftime talk. “We were sluggish in the first half,” said head coach Jason Surrell. “But Sara Odenthal spoke up at halftime and encouraged her teammates and they responded.”
The Cougars promptly began their assault on goal in the second half when Brooke Williams scored her first goal of the season in the 50th minute. Lee keeper Caitlin Wohlander deflected a shot and, on the rebound, the ball went right to Williams who found the back of the net to give Azusa Pacific a 1-0 lead.
In the 57th minute, Bridget Brotherton took a ball from Mandy Heins over the top. She scored her fourth goal of the season on the breakaway to make it 2-0.
After Janaina Novaes cut the lead to 2-1 with a goal for Lee in the 79th minute, the Cougars went back on the attack.
Randie Massro headed in the third goal of the night for Azusa Pacific on Shannon Coe’s flip throw-in. It was the first goal of the season for Massro.
Coe completed the scoring with a goal in the 90th minute that was assisted by Stephanie Hannemann to account for the final, 4-1, margin. Coe has now scored 11 goals on the season, including at least 1 in each of the last 6 games. With 81 career points, she now ranks eighth on the Cougars’ all-time scoring list.
“Tonight we didn’t come out with the same energy that we had against Lindsey Wilson,” said Coe. “At halftime we realized that we needed to take advantage of our situation and that we needed to step up.”
While it looks as though the Cougars are a lock to ascend to the top of the rankings, the schedule does not get much easier. Defending conference champion Biola is on the slate next as conference play begins to heat up and would like nothing more than to knock off Azusa Pacific.
“This is the hardest stretch of we have had since I’ve been here,” Coe said. “But the girls care and are working hard for each other.”
The Cougars (7-0) are off to their best start under Surrell. They last won the opening 7 games of the season in 1998 when Azusa Pacific went undefeated.
Azusa Pacific and Biola square off on Tuesday, Sept. 27, at Al Barbour Field, in La Mirada, Calif. at 7 p.m.