CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- The NAIA’s No. 2-ranked Azusa Pacific started with a 5-goal burst in just over 22 minutes en route to an 8-0 win over No. 14-ranked Savannah College of Art & Design (Ga.) Friday evening at the Lee (Tenn.) University Lady Flames Classic.
“I felt like we needed to come out hard and set the tempo early,” Cougar head coach Jason Surrell said. “To get 5 goals in 20 minutes, I don’t know that you could ever expect that, but it was good to see the girls were hungry for the goal. We didn’t give (SCAD) much time to play, and we put good pressure on them.”
The game was barely 2 minutes old when senior forward Bridget Brotherton lofted a 25-yard strike from outside the right corner of the box, finding an opening over the SCAD goalkeeper for a 1-0 lead just 136 seconds into the contest. Less than 2 minutes later, senior midfielder Saxony Ifland got into the act, doubling the lead to 2-0 at the 4:10 mark when she put away sophomore midfielder Lynsey Domene’s second straight corner kick from the left side.
Freshman midfielder Brittany Flanagan set up the Cougars’ next strike, crossing from right to left in front of the goal to junior forward Theresa Broad, who headed it into the net for a 3-0 lead just 8-and-a-half minutes into the game. Broad tacked on her second goal after Azusa Pacific built up a furious attack that featured 5 shots in a 3-minute span, finishing the flurry in the 18th minute by touching in a cross from Brotherton from the right.
The pair of scores moved Broad into second on Azusa Pacific’s all-time scoring list with 55 goals, passing Melissa Myers, who tallied 54 goals in 4 seasons from 1997 through 2000. Kendra Payne, who also played the same 4 seasons as Myers, holds the Cougars’ career scoring mark of 90 goals.
Broad put another shot on goal in the 21st minute, the first of 3 shots in less than a minute that put the SCAD defense on their heels once more. Brotherton hit the crossbar, then had another opportunity off the rebound that was saved. Once the Cougars re-established possession, Broad broke free along the left side, curling a low cross from the touch line towards the front of the goal. Her pass bounced off the legs of a SCAD defender and into goal at the near post, resulting in an own-goal that gave Azusa Pacific a 5-0 lead just past 22 minutes into the game, an advantage it held through the halftime break.
On the Cougars’ opening second-half possession, Brotherton crossed from the right to Broad at the near post. She used her head to flick it back near the top of the box to Domene, who buried the opportunity to give Azusa Pacific a 6-0 lead just 32 seconds into the second half.
Sophomore defender Kjersti Lang added a goal in the 87th minute, finding room over the keeper with a shot from the top of the box, and sophomore Jennie Cress scored unassisted on a long strike with 20 seconds remaining to round out the final 8-goal tally.
“From the time this team was put together, we thought we were as deep as we’ve ever been, and I think we still feel that way,” Surrell said. “It’s a good group, top to bottom, and we’re pretty excited about it. This group wants to win whatever they do. Regardless of who they’re playing, they’re excited to play and face good competition, and they’re hungry for it.”
Azusa Pacific finished with a 28-2 shots advantage in its first-ever meeting with SCAD, and with the win, the Cougars are now 5-0 on the season with a 32-1 scoring margin. Although it has scored 8 goals 3 different times in 3 previous seasons (1994, 1998, 2000), it only did so in a 5-match span one other time, during 1998’s unbeaten run to the NAIA title.
The Cougars face tournament host and No. 3-ranked Lee Saturday night at 7 p.m. (EST), the fourth straight season the NAIA powers have met in non-conference action. Lee posted a 5-0 win over No. 7-ranked California Baptist in Friday’s night game, setting the stage for Saturday’s showdown under the lights.