SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- Freshman forward Heidi Witschi came off the bench to score the game-winner 3 minutes into the second half, leading the NAIA’s No. 4-ranked Azusa Pacific to a 1-0 road win over No. 21-ranked Point Loma Nazarene Saturday afternoon. The victory was the Cougars’ third straight Golden State Athletic Conference win by a 1-0 margin.
The goal was Witschi’s third of the season, and she scored it unassisted after taking advantage of a bad Point Loma touch. She got behind the Sea Lions’ left back, put the ball to her right foot and beat the keeper to the far post to break the scoreless tie less than 2 minutes after she put her first shot of the game on goal.
“She’s definitely a very good finisher,” Azusa Pacific head coach Jason Surrell said. “When she’s got the opportunity in front of the goal, she does well with it.”
After the Witschi score, the Cougars spent the final 42 minutes of the game fending off 9 of Point Loma Nazarene’s 11 shots, as the Sea Lions sought the equalizer that never came. Sophomore goalkeeper Alexa Douglas made both of her saves in the final 12 minutes of the contest to preserve the shutout, her second of the season.
Only 2 other Cougars put shots on goal besides Witschi, with senior forward Theresa Broad and freshman midfielder Jacqueline Conforto each putting their lone shot of the game on goal. Point Loma Nazarene goalkeeper Tiffany Kracy made 2 saves, and Conforto’s shot was cleared from danger behind Kracy for a Sea Lions team save.
Azusa Pacific was out-shot for the first time this season, with Point Loma Nazarene holding the 11-8 shots advantage.
“They were an organized team, they were defensive-minded, and they made it tough to play,” Surrell said. “Maybe we didn’t have as many shots from the outside as we’ve had the last couple of games, but there were a couple quality chances we had.
With the win, the Cougars improve to 7-2 overall and are 1 of 3 remaining unbeaten teams in GSAC play. Point Loma Nazarene, which was unbeaten in 6 non-conference games, drops to 5-3-1 overall and 0-3 in GSAC play.
“Anytime you can go down to Point Loma and win a game, it’s a good day,” Surrell said. “I think the entire conference is up a couple levels. There’s just not an easy game this year.”
Up next for Azusa Pacific is 1 of the GSAC’s 2 other unbeatens, a Concordia team that is 2-0 in conference play following a 4-1 win over Fresno Pacific Saturday in Irvine. Azusa Pacific and Concordia meet on Wednesday, Oct. 7, at 3:30 p.m. in Azusa.