All-GSAC sophomore forward Theresa Broad accounted for all 3 of the game’s goals to lead Azusa Pacific to its 14th straight victory.
Making their tenth straight tournament appearance, the Cougars looked experienced and poised as they faced off against a Houghton team that has been in the tournament 5 of the past 6 years and in the Elite Eight each of the last 2 seasons.
The Highlanders packed the defense to thwart the potent Cougar offense, but when Highlander keeper Lauren Foster moved out to stop an attack 6:50 into the game, Broad was able to move around her into the open box and knock the ball into the empty net. From that point on, Azusa Pacific firmly controlled the run of play.
Both teams were surprised by the intensity of a sudden squall midway through the first half, which whipped up the wind and changed its direction and first brought ten minutes and later five minutes of driving rain. Despite moments during which players said they could barely see, the Cougars battled on.
Following the first burst of rain Azusa Pacific scored the second goal in the thirtieth minute. This one was a team affair, with quick touches by Bridget Brotherton and Sara Yoro credited as assists for the eventual Broad tap into the net. With just under five minutes left in the first half, and the second session of rain diminishing, Broad carried the ball deep into the penalty box for a final punch into the upper right hand corner of the goal. Both she and the Foster both went sprawling on the slippery turf.
In the second half, the rain was gone, but much cooler temperatures prevailed. The Cougars dominated possession and continued drives deep into Highlander territory. A number of Azusa Pacific substitutes contributed to the attack, thwarted Houghton attempts, and gained valuable national tournament experience.
“If I were to script a first-round tournament game, this one would be close to it”, said Cougar head coach Jason Surrell. “To be up 3 goals in the first half is ideal. It permitted some of the girls to get some rest and others to gain experience. They played hard in less than ideal conditions. Now we need to get ready for the next one.”
Houghton was held without a shot throughout the game, while Azusa Pacific recorded 20 shots by 9 different players, with 8 on goal. Jill Colfer-Martinson, earned her 12th shutout of the season of the season and the school-record 46th of her All-American career.
The hat trick by Broad brought her season goal total to 21 and her career total – in just 2 seasons – to 45, fourth among the Azusa Pacific career leaders, and just one shy of third place. It also gives her a 2- season total of 16 postseason goals.
“It was great to be on the field again with everyone working hard for each other”, said Broad. “That second goal tells a part of the story – each of the forwards had a role in making it happen. The same thing was taking place all over the field.”
With the win, Azusa Pacific is now 18-1-1 on the season moves into the NAIA Elite Eight for the third straight season and the ninth time in the past 10 years . On Saturday (Nov. 17) the Cougars will face the winner of Friday’s game between William Jewell College (Mo.) and Northwood University (Fla.) with kickoff set for 2 p.m. (PST). Houghton ends its season with a record of 13-3-3.