AZUSA, Calif. -- An otherwise impressive 3-0 home win over Biola ended on a sour note for the NAIA’s No. 3-ranked Azusa Pacific, with 2 Cougar seniors letting a single foul call cost them 2 cautions and a red-card ejection with less than 7 minutes to play.
Senior forward Bridget Brotherton got Azusa Pacific’s offense up to full speed early, scoring her 39th and 40th career goals in just over a 2-minute span, giving the Cougars a 2-0 lead less than 13 minutes into the game. Brotherton nearly registered her first career hat trick less than a minute later on a header saved by Biola goalkeeper Lauren Gregston, and then again in the 20th minute when her header hit the top of the crossbar.
“Our last game (against The Master’s) was really frustrating because we didn’t put away all the opportunities that we could have, so it was nice to put some away this time,” Brotherton said. “(Biola) had a lot of gaps in their defense. I was just trying to make the lateral run, and Lynsey and Stephanie slotted the ball right through. I just happened to be in the right place.”
Senior midfielder Sarah Yoro added a penalty-kick score with less than 2 minutes remaining in the first half after fellow senior Grace Eleyae was taken down by a foul in the box.
However, the 2 goal scorers got caught up in a disagreement on a foul call, earning Brotherton the first yellow card caution, immediately followed by another yellow card to Yoro for her vocal disagreement with the decision. Despite the warning, Yoro did not end the discussion, and she was sent off with a red card, costing her a 1-game suspension that will be served in Azusa Pacific’s next contest, a visit to No. 15-ranked Concordia on Tuesday, Oct. 21.
“We lost our cool,” Cougar head coach Jason Surrell said. “To have 2 seniors lose their cool is not acceptable. In a 3-0 game, there’s no reason to even open our mouth. You have to try to focus on the positives, but you also have to learn your lesson. I’m sure Sarah will not enjoy missing our next game.”
Yoro and Brotherton combined for 4 shots in the game’s first 8-and-a-half minutes, and Brotherton finally broke through in the 11th minute, collecting a pass high in the center of the penalty area from sophomore midfielder Lynsey Domene and firing a 10-yard strike to the far post past Gregston to break the scoreless tie. Two minutes and 16 seconds later, sophomore midfielder Stephanie Yoro played wide to Brotherton along the right edge of the box, and Brotherton dribbled in for another 10-yard strike, this time finding room at the near post for her second scoring tally.
For just the second time in her collegiate career, junior forward Theresa Broad did not take a single shot, drawing multiple defenders with every touch. Broad’s GSAC-leading season goal tally remains at 19, and Saturday’s contest was just the second game this season in which she has not scored or assisted a goal.
“Any given game, someone can step up for us,” Surrell said. “Theresa seems to be the focal point, but we don’t see it that way. We see that we’ve got a lot of weapons going forward.”
Azusa Pacific put up 14 of its 18 shots before halftime while holding Biola to just 2 shots on the afternoon, 1 in each half.
“I thought we knocked the ball around pretty well in the first half,” Surrell said. “We pressured well, and we came at them. I was a little disappointed in the second half. I don’t think the subs brought the intensity they needed to, but with that said, we were still in their end most of the second half.”
The shutout was the Cougars’ eighth of the season, and the victory extends a program-record GSAC unbeaten and winning streak to 24 games. Azusa Pacific also has 40-game unbeaten and 28-game home winning streaks, both of which are also program-records. Biola was the last visiting team to hand the Cougars a loss at home, posting a 2-1 win on Oct. 19, 2004, at the Cougar Athletic Stadium on Azusa Pacific’s East Campus, prior to the women’s soccer program’s move to its current home field at the Cougar Soccer Complex on the university’s West Campus.
Azusa Pacific is now 11-1 overall, 6-0 in GSAC play, while Biola drops to 5-5-2 overall, 1-4-2 GSAC. After Tuesday’s 3 p.m. visit to Concordia, the Cougars will host No. 18-ranked Point Loma Nazarene on Saturday, Oct. 25, 1 of 4 Azusa Pacific fall sports teams playing at home on Saturday during Azusa Pacific’s Homecoming weekend.