SANTA CLARITA, Calif. -- Sarah Yoro and Theresa Broad each scored 2 goals, helping the NAIA’s No. 2-ranked Azusa Pacific overcome a 2-1 halftime deficit and avoid a potential upset with a 4-2 road win at The Master’s Wednesday afternoon.
However, the come-from-behind win might well be remembered more for the sheer number of shots that narrowly missed turning the game into an early rout than for the handful of shots that found their way to the back of the net.
For over 60 minutes, it seemed as if Yoro’s penalty kick 12-and-a-half minutes into the game was going to be the Cougars’ lone score. In the 26th minute, Azusa Pacific fired 3 consecutive quality chances at the Mustangs goal, but goalkeeper Maria Loza stopped Yoro’s initial shot, and freshman midfielder Lynsey Domene’s strike off the rebound caromed off the crossbar to Broad, who took another shot that hit the crossbar before the Mustang defense was able to clear it from danger.
Just 4 minutes later, another Yoro strike hit the crossbar, and in the 33rd minute, even the Cougar lead had disappeared when Tara McCrone evened the game at 1-1, putting away a cross from Natalie Totaro.
Over the next 12 minutes to close the half, The Master’s held Azusa Pacific to a single shot, and Sierra Goff scored the go-ahead goal for the Mustangs with less than 2 minutes remaining in the first half, sending the Cougars into the break with a stunning 2-1 halftime deficit.
The second half began slowly, with the teams trading shots on goal that were stopped by their respective goalkeepers, but Jill Colfer-Martinson’s save of a Katie McMannis strike just over 7 minutes into the second half would be the final shot surrendered by the Cougar defense.
Over the next 15 minutes, the patient Azusa Pacific attack generated 3 shots requiring a save, along with another Domene strike off the crossbar before Broad finally broke through with the equalizer in the 67th minute. Each of the Cougars’ next 4 shots in the next 15-minute stretch required saves, and Yoro converted another penalty kick with just over 10 minutes to play to give Azusa Pacific a 3-2 lead. With just under 7 minutes to play, Broad tacked on an insurance goal to provide the final 4-2 margin.
In all, Azusa Pacific finished with 14 shots on goal, not including the Cougars’ 4 additional strikes that hit the crossbar. Azusa Pacific registered a 22-8 advantage in total shots, and Yoro’s team-leading 10-shot total accounted for more than the entire Mustang team combined. The Master’s took all 8 of its shots in the first 52 minutes, including 7 in the first half alone.
With the win, Azusa Pacific remains unbeaten halfway through the Golden State Athletic Conference schedule with a 5-0 mark, and the Cougars improve to 9-1-1 overall on the campaign. The Master’s drops to 1-4 in conference play, 2-8-1 overall. Azusa Pacific continues GSAC play when it visits Biola on Saturday, Oct. 13, in a 4:30 p.m. contest.