AZUSA, Calif.-- On Thursday the Azusa Pacific women’s soccer team opened up with a dud, falling to Cal State Dominguez Hills in double overtime on the road. On Saturday night Biola (0-2) felt the brunt of the Cougars’ frustration in a 5-0 blowout on opening night at the newly renovated Cougar Soccer Complex in front of a record-crowd.
Azusa Pacific (1-1) got goals from five different players, recording the highest total against the team’s age-old rival since a 5-0 victory back in 2006, while also registering its fourth shutout in that span.
“Anytime you score five goals you feel good about it. I thought from start to finish we played well. We learned our lesson on Thursday and the girls were really motivated,” said head coach Jason Surrell. “Against Dominguez we had a lot of uncharacteristic defensive plays. Tonight we corrected those. It’s great to score five, but I’ll take a shutout every time.”
Senior keeper Michelle Wieland notched her 27th career shutout on the night, thanks in large part to a dominating defensive effort for the Cougars. Led by junior centerbacks Allie Stone and Danielle Ross the Azusa Pacific defense held Biola without a shot until the 67th minute. The Eagles finished with just three shots in the match, putting only one on goal; quite a contrast from the Cougars’ stat line.
Azusa Pacific finished with 17 shots and put 10 of those on target in a balanced five-goal onslaught that saw the team reach the five-goal plateau for just the third time in three years. Senior Emily Wood put the Cougars on the board in the ninth minute thanks to a perfect cross from Rachael Harding at the front of the box. Natalie Sun made it a 2-0 match in the 14th minute, posting her second goal of the season on a breakaway to give Azusa Pacific a two-goal halftime lead. The Cougars outshot the Eagles 10-0 in the first 45 minutes, and held a 7-0 advantage in corner kicks.
Off a set piece Molly Lavin headed in the first score of the second half in the 56th before Shannon Righetti crushed a left-footed shot past the diving Briana Williams to make it a 4-0 contest in the 84th minute. Sophomore Kendra Trifonovitch put the finishing touches on the night when she took a penalty kick and placed it past the keeper in the 86th, giving Azusa Pacific a 5-0 win to improve to 25-5-2 against Biola in the schools’ all-time series.
Natalie Nick, Alyx Williams, and Cassidy Burr each recorded assists on the night in front of an Azusa Pacific women’s soccer record-crowd of 1,110. The match was the opener of Azusa Pacific’s first night-time double header at the 10-year old Cougar Soccer Complex.
“The girls were very motivated tonight and I think the crowd had a lot to do with that. I’m real excited about the new lights. If we don’t have the lights, we don’t have the atmosphere and it was pretty cool tonight,” said Surrell.
The Cougars, who have three more night double headers this season, will fly up to the North West next week for matches at Seattle Pacific (Wash.) and Western Washington.