AZUSA, Calif. -- The NAIA’s No. 3-ranked Azusa Pacific quickly adjusted to Southern California’s first rain in weeks, holding unranked William Jessup without a shot in a 3-0 win Saturday afternoon at the Cougar Soccer Complex in the 2010 NAIA Women’s National Championship Opening Round.
The Cougars improve to 17-1-2 overall and advance to the national tournament final site in Decatur, Ga., where the 16 winners of today’s Opening Round games will gather for the remainder of the tournament beginning Monday, Nov. 29. Azusa Pacific’s second-round opponent, No. 14-seed Oklahoma City University, advanced into the second round on penalty kicks (4-3) after a double-overtime scoreless draw with Bellevue (Neb.).
Freshman forward Laura Feehs was fouled in the box in the 33rd minute, and she converted the ensuing penalty kick for the game’s first goal. Hers was 1 of 14 first-half shots for Azusa Pacific, which took the 1-0 lead into halftime after spending much of the half getting accustomed to the soggy field conditions.
The overnight rain soaked the game field, and showers continued throughout the game, with the hardest rain pouring down over the final 15 minutes of the first half. After a first half where only 4 of their 14 shots were on goal, the Cougars found a comfort zone within the conditions after halftime.
Sophomore forward Natalie Sun added an insurance goal in the 60th minute, and junior midfielder Brittany Flanagan added another in the 79th minute. Azusa Pacific fired 17 shots in the second half, including 12 on goal, to give the Cougars a final shooting margin of 31-0.
Sun’s goal finished a 15-minute flurry to start the second half, a stretch where Azusa Pacific took 7 shots and won 5 corner kicks. Sun brought the ball into the box on the dribble, getting past her defender for an open look from the left side of the goal. She deposited an 8-yard strike inside the far post for her eighth goal of the year.
Flanagan’s goal, her sixth this season, came directly off sophomore midfielder Markie Gleason’s shot that was blocked to Flanagan’s feet by a William Jessup defender. Flanagan knocked the rebound into the right side of the net to push the lead to 3-0 with just over 10 minutes to play.
Azusa Pacific wraps up the first day of final-site action in Decatur, Ala., taking on Oklahoma City at 7 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 29. William Jessup dropped to 11-5-3, and both of the Warriors’ NAIA Tournament trips in 2008 and 2010 have resulted in Opening Round losses to Azusa Pacific.