AZUSA, Calif. -- The NAIA’s No. 2-ranked Azusa Pacific kicked off its 2008 campaign with an 8-0 win over William Penn (Iowa), the largest margin of victory and the most goals scored by a Cougar squad in a season opener in program history.
Senior forward Sarah Yoro led the way with 2 goals and 2 assists, and senior forward Bridget Brotherton added a pair of scores, but freshman Brittany Flanagan stole the show with a 2-goal effort in her collegiate debut.
The Cougars held William Penn without a shot, ending the scoreless tie less than 6 minutes into the contest on sophomore midfielder Lynsey Domene’s shot from just outside the box. Domene dribbled to the center of the field and found the back of the net at the far post, converting the Cougars’ second shot of the game into a 1-0 lead. In the 16th minute, a corner kick led to Azusa Pacific’s second score, as junior forward Theresa Broad played the ball from in front of goal to the right post, where Yoro touched it in.
Flanagan made her way, undefended, through the William Penn midfield for an uncontested 23-yard strike that cleared the goalkeeper and dipped back into the goal for a 3-0 Cougar advantage. Brotherton wrapped up the first-half scoring in the 23rd minute, positioning herself deep in the box to put away a Yoro cross from 6 yards out.
Yoro needed just 70 seconds of second-half action to tally her second goal of the game, putting Azusa Pacific up by a 5-0 margin with a 12-yard laser from the left side to the far post. The senior forward tandem of Brotherton and Yoro hooked up again in the 56th minute, with Yoro crossing from the left side to the near post where Brotherton put it away from 10 yards out for a 6-0 lead.
Flanagan dribbled through several William Penn defenders along the right side, and the true freshman made it 2-for-2 on shots with an 8-yard strike to the near post in the 68th minute. Sophomore Jennie Cress rounded out the scoring in the 80th minute with a 25-yard strike to the near post.
The final shots tally was 33-0, and Cougar goalkeeper Sammi Sheppard registered the shutout following the 2007 graduation of 4-time NAIA All-American goalkeeper Jill Colfer-Martinson. Colfer-Martinson started 69 straight games, making Sheppard the first player other than Colfer-Martinson to start in goal for Azusa Pacific since Nov. 9, 2004.
With its eighth consecutive home-opening victory, Azusa Pacific is 1-0 heading into next weekend’s contests with Ohio Dominican on Sept. 5 and the NAIA’s No. 18-ranked Bethel (Tenn.) Sept. 6. The Cougars are 6-2-1 in season openers under 6-time GSAC Coach of the Year Jason Surrell.