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Caught In The Cress-fire

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Published
August 25, 2010
By
Joe Reinsch
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AZUSA, Calif. -- Senior forward Jennie Cress nearly doubled her career scoring total in just a pair of games to start the 2010 campaign, adding 2 goals including the game-winner to lead the NAIA’s No. 5-ranked Azusa Pacific to a 5-2 win in its home opener over Trinity Western (B.C.) Wednesday afternoon at the Cougar Soccer Complex.

Cress, who brought 4 goals in 51 career games into her senior season, scored on a 35-yard free kick in last week’s 2-2 draw at Cal State Dominguez Hills, and it didn’t take long for the 5-foot-7 senior to find the back of the net in the Cougars’ first home game Wednesday. Just over 12 minutes into the game, Cress headed in sophomore forward Natalie Sun’s cross from the right side, converting Azusa Pacific’s first shot of the contest into a 1-0 lead that held up through halftime.

After Trinity Western equalized in the 49th minute, a Daniela Gerig header into the upper right corner of the net, sophomore midfielder Markie Gleason put the Cougars back in front just 5 minutes later with an unassisted goal from 12 yards out. Her 54th-minute score came after a scramble for possession in front of the net, and she drilled it to the near post with a left-footed strike that gave Azusa Pacific a 2-1 lead.

That’s when Cress struck again on a free kick, this time hitting the far post side netting from 24 yards out beyond the right corner of the box. Cress’ second goal of the game was the first of 3 goals in less than 5 minutes, with sophomore forward Heidi Witschi adding 79th-minute and 81st-minute goals that pushed the Cougars’ lead to 5-1. Sun assisted both of Witschi’s scores, crossing it in from the right to Witschi, who slid towards the net with a defender and touched it into the net to push the lead to 4-1. Just 2 minutes later, Sun drew several defenders 5 yards away from goal and found Witschi unmarked at the top of the box for a one-timed strike to the left post.

Cress’ free-kick goal turned out to be the game-winner when Trinity Western’s Nikki Wright scored for the Spartans in the 86th minute with a 16-yard left-footed strike from the left corner of the box to the far post.

Azusa Pacific enjoyed a 13-8 shots advantage, and all 7 of the Cougars’ second-half shots were on goal. Witschi’s 3 shots (all on goal) were a Cougar team-high, and Gerig was Trinity Western’s shots leader with 3 also.

With the victory, Azusa Pacific wins its home opener for the 10th consecutive season and improves to 1-0-1 on the year. The Cougars, who have now won 17 straight home games (regular- and post-season) against non-GSAC opponents, remain home for its next 2 contests, the first coming Friday, Sept. 3, against Colorado Christian. Trinity Western wraps up its 3-game road swing down the Pacific coast with an overall mark of 0-4-1.