AZUSA, Calif. -- Bridget Brotherton, Katie Rorabaugh and Sarah Yoro each scored and assisted goals to lead the NAIA’s No. 3-ranked Azusa Pacific to a 3-0 victory over Point Loma Nazarene Saturday afternoon.
The Cougar trio accounted for 1 goal before halftime, followed by a pair of second-half strikes less than 6 minutes apart. The defense took care of the rest, limiting Point Loma Nazarene to just 2 total shots in the game while posting Azusa Pacific’s ninth shutout of the season.
“We definitely wanted to make sure we focused in on (our defense), and we did a good job of that,” Cougar head coach Jason Surrell said. “We didn’t let them generate a whole lot of chances today. Our focus is always just trying to get better, trying to tighten things up.”
A foul about 25 yards out from the Sea Lions goal set up the Cougars’ first scoring tally in the 32nd minute. With 3 players on the ball, Rorabaugh tapped the free kick short to Brotherton, who rolled it to the left for Yoro’s clean strike from 22 yards out to the near post, 1 of just 5 Cougar shots in the opening half.
In the 62nd minute, Brotherton added an insurance goal with a brilliant strike from 16 yards out. Yoro played from the top of the box in the center out wide to Brotherton, who drilled a line drive to the far post that pushed the Azusa Pacific lead to 2-0.
In the 68th minute, both teams assumed an errant Cougar pass would cross the goal line near the corner for a goal kick, but the ball bounced off the corner flag and rested just inbounds in the corner. Brotherton was the first to realize the ball was still in play, and she raced to the corner to keep the attack alive. She sent a cross to the right side outside the box, where Rorabaugh collected it and fired from 23 yards out to the top corner of the far post for the score.
“I’m a defender at heart, but of course I love going up top to help make some goals happen,” said Rorabaugh, who helped spark Azusa Pacific’s rally from a 3-1 deficit with a move from defense to forward in Tuesday’s 4-3 overtime win at Concordia. “On defense, I’m pretty focused on not letting anyone by me, but when I move up to the offense, it’s more about working hard, trying to beat people and get by them and making plays off the other forwards. It’s a change for me, both mentally and physically.”
Rorabaugh’s score gave her goals in back-to-back games, and Brotherton and Yoro have scored in 3 straight games. Azusa Pacific’s leading scorer, junior Theresa Broad, who has a GSAC-leading 19 goals on the season, was held without a goal for the third straight game and took just 1 shot in the game. However, the Cougars have scored 10 goals during that span and now have 3 players with double-digit goal totals, with Brotherton pushing her season total to 13 and Yoro scoring her 10th in the win.
“The second half was one of the better performances we’ve had all year,” Surrell said. “I feel like getting some momentum and getting some players in some better spots made a big difference for us. I wouldn’t expect to win 3-0 against anybody, but I know we’re capable of it.”
Azusa Pacific’s 1-game lead in the GSAC standings over California Baptist, a 1-0 winner over The Master’s today, remains intact, as the Cougars improve to 13-1 overall, 8-0 GSAC. The Azusa Pacific victory extends 3 program-record streaks, pushing the Cougars’ GSAC winning streak to 26, its home unbeaten streak to 41 games and its home winning streak to 25. Point Loma Nazarene drops to 9-5-2 overall, 2-4-2 GSAC.
The Cougars visit Hope International on Wednesday, Oct. 29, before hosting Vanguard to wrap up the regular season on Saturday, Nov. 1 at 2:30 p.m.