FULLERTON, Calif. -- Any doubt as to whether Junior forward Theresa Broad’s scoring drought would extend to a career-long 4 games was erased quickly, as Broad buried the game-winner just 15 seconds into Azusa Pacific’s 3-0 win over Hope International Wednesday afternoon. The victory clinched at least a share of the fourth consecutive Golden State Athletic Conference regular-season title for the NAIA’s No. 3-ranked Cougars, and California Baptist’s 1-1 draw at Biola Wednesday night clinched the title outright.
While Broad’s game-winner came just 15 seconds into the match, it wasn’t even Azusa Pacific’s first shot of the game. That came just seconds before Broad’s scoring strike, when sophomore midfielder Lynsey Domene fired to the far post from the top of the penalty box on the right side. Hope International goalkeeper Kala Gabler dove to her right for the save, but the tip only re-directed the ball to the feet of Broad, who buried the open chance from 12 yards out to push her season scoring total to 20 goals.
Broad has scored 20 or more goals in each of her 3 collegiate seasons, and she is 6 goals off the Azusa Pacific single-season record of 26, set by Chrissy Sanford in 2001.
Domene, who put all 3 of her shots on goal, came up with a goal of her own, taking an assist from Broad in the 16th minute. Broad, who had also hit the left post in the third minute and forced another Gabler save at the 5-minute mark, got to the touch line along the left side ahead of the last Royals defender and crossed to Domene at the near post. Domene got just enough of the ball from 13 yards out to send it rolling underneath a charging Gabler and into the goal for a 2-0 Cougar lead in the 16th minute.
Senior forward Grace Eleyeae added another insurance goal late in the first half, collecting a loose ball deep in Hope International territory and putting away a 15-yard strike to the left side of the net to push Azusa Pacific’s first-half lead to 3-0. The Cougars, who fired 10 shots before halftime, added 11 more in a scoreless second half and finished with a 21-2 shooting margin over the Royals.
The 3-goal effort was the fifth straight game in which Azusa Pacific has scored 3 or more goals, and it was the fourth win by the exact 3-0 margin in the past 5 games for the Cougars. Junior goalkeeper Sammi Sheppard saved 1 of the Royals’ 2 shots to post the team’s 10th shutout victory of the season.
Azusa Pacific’s program-record 27th consecutive GSAC victory lifts the Cougars to 14-1 overall, 9-0 in GSAC play. The regular season wraps up with a 2:30 p.m. contest on Saturday, Nov. 1, at the Cougar Soccer Complex. The conference title assures Azusa Pacific the top seed in the upcoming GSAC Postseason Tournament, with first-round games in the 8-team tournament slated for Tuesday, Nov. 4.