CARSON, Calif.-- For the first 75 minutes the Azusa Pacific women’s soccer team looked ripe to open its 2012 campaign with a road win over Cal State Dominguez Hills. The Cougars led 1-0 for most of the match, but endured a flurry from the Toros over the final 15 minutes of regulation, giving up the equalizer in the 86th minute before the Toros scored the golden goal midway through the second overtime to snag a 2-1 victory over Azusa Pacific.
Cal State Dominguez Hills outshot Azusa Pacific 6-2 over the final 15 minutes of regulation, putting two on frame against a Cougar defense that hadn’t allowed the Toros a clean look for the majority of the contest. Dominguez outshot Azusa Pacific 16-10 in the match, and 3-2 in overtime, before finally breaking through with the game-winner.
“Our effort and execution were poor,” said head coach Jason Surrell.
Natalie Sun, who was the only Cougar named to the preseason All-Pacific West team, scored the first goal of the match in the 30th minute, beating Dominguez’ keeper Tiffany Hollis on a breakaway and then knocking it into the open net. Sun finished with four shots, putting two on goal.
The Toros knotted the game at 1’s when Michelle Wieland’s save fell into Claudia Toledo’s lap. With Wieland out in the box Toledo looped it into the back of the net, just barely over the head of Allie Stone.
A few minutes later the Cougars nearly regained the lead on a set piece, but Danielle Ross’ header just sailed over the bar to keep the match tied. In the 90th minute Molly Lavin almost gave the Cougars the lead again off a cross from Natalie Nick, but her header was stopped by Hollis. In the first overtime both teams exchanged shots, with Kendra Trifonovitch placing her shot wide in the 97th minute.
Just two minutes into the second overtime the Toros nearly ended it on a launch from Toledo, but Wieland just got her fingertips on the ball, sending it into the crossbar for the most impressive save of the night. On the following possession Amanda Hardy, who played as well as anyone, had her only shot of the night stopped by Hollis. The Toros’ game-winner came in the 106th minute when Toledo took a give from Olivia Patterson and somehow slithered a ball through a crowd past Wieland from 25 yards out on the right side, scoring far post for the golden goal.
Azusa Pacific put six of its 10 shots on goal compared to five of 16 for Dominguez. The Cougars also earned four corner kicks, while the Toros registered only one. Wieland recorded three saves in the match.
The loss puts Azusa Pacific’s record in season openers at 1-2-1 over the past four years. The last time the Cougars dropped the opener (2009) the team went on to post a 17-3-2 record. Azusa Pacific will have a chance to even its record when the Cougars host Biola on Saturday at 5 p.m.