AZUSA, Calif. -- At halftime against Hope International, the No. 1-ranked Azusa Pacific found itself in a precarious position. With the score tied, 1-1, and with missed chances mounting maybe indeed hope was enough; or maybe the Cougars were just unlucky.
Either way, the Cougars stormed back in the second half and ended all thoughts of a Royals upset by adding 2 more goals en route to a 3-1 win.
The Cougars (10-0-2, 3-0-2) were able to overcome a series of missed opportunities in the first half including several shots that either hit the post or were saved by Royal keeper Taryne Blomgren.
However, Azusa Pacific’s attack could only be contained for so long and it broke through with a pair of goals in the second half. The tally that broke the tie was scored by Shannon Coe who ran up the right side and slotted a pass from Jolie Nitta far post to give the Cougars a 2-1 lead.
In the 83rd minute, Megan Cardin broke free and fired a shot past Blomgren for the final margin of victory.
The Cougars got on the board first in the 13th minute when Randie Massro scored in the 13th minute on a feed from Coe as Azusa Pacific took a 1-0 lead.
The Royals (5-5-2) of past years may have simply rolled over and gone away but not this year’s edition. Nicole Collins tied the game in the 20th minute as she dribbled the ball up the right side and slotted the ball far post out of the reach of Jill Colfer.
Collins has been an explosive scorer for the Royals all season and her sixteenth goal of the season this afternoon continues to lead the GSAC.
The Cougars took a multitude of shots particularly in the first half when the game was seemingly an Azusa Pacific shooting drill.
The Cougars took 27 shots to only 1 for Hope International. Azusa Pacific also compiled 10 corner kicks without allowing the Royals to take one.
Amazingly enough, the 1 shot that the Royals took was the goal scored by Collins. It was the first goal that Colfer had allowed since the Sept. 27 game against Biola.
It was an important win for Azusa Pacific as it now heads into Saturday’s showdown with Point Loma Nazarene with an unbeaten streak of 12 consecutive games. The Cougars battle the Sea Lions at 1 p.m. in San Diego, Calif.