AZUSA, Calif. -- The NAIA’s No. 1-ranked Azusa Pacific was coming off a pair of disappointing ties and could not afford to come out of this afternoon’s game against California Baptist with anything less than a win.
The Cougars were able to do just that.
Shannon Coe took a pass from Mari Kasamoto and beat Lancer keeper Heather Andrews far post to give the Cougars a the lead in the 13th minute and Azusa Pacific held on for a 1-0 victory to boost its overall record to 8-0-2 and gain 3 points in the conference race.
The Cougars took 15 shots in the game but took advantage of their best scoring chance. Kasamoto dribbled through traffic and found Coe running up the right side. She fed Coe the ball and, as Andrews slid in her direction, Coe fired a shot past her into the net for her thirteenth goal of the season.
On a hot day with no reprieve from a bright sun, head coach Jason Surrell utilized his team’s depth to provide energy for his team. “We knew that fatigue could be a factor and the girls responded. We need to make sure that if we have a chance to score more goals to take advantage of that but we are happy with the result,” he said.
Surrell used 6 players off his bench in an attempt to keep fresh legs out on the pitch. The ploy worked for most of the game until both teams appeared to tire late in the second half.
The Cougars took 10 shots in the first half but managed only 5 in the second. Still, they outshot the Lancers 15-5 for the game and the defense never gave California Baptist a quality scoring chance.
Jill Colfer stopped 4 shots in recording her fifth shutout of the season. The Cougar defense has only allowed 1 goal in 3 GSAC matches. After tying Biola, 1-1, Azusa Pacific has blanked Westmont and now California Baptist.
Earlier in the day, the Cougars retained their number 1 spot in the NAIA poll and the win today helps them get back on track.
Azusa Pacific will next be in action on Saturday, Oct. 8, when it travels to Costa Mesa, Calif. to take on No. 23-ranked Vanguard at 6:30 p.m.