AZUSA, Calif.--Azusa Pacific and California Baptist have had their fair share of battles, but through the course of their emerging rivalry the Cougars have typically been the victors, winning 33 of 38 contests, including 18 straight from 1995 to 2005. But in the first Pacific West Conference installment of the rivalry the Lancers came out ahead, defeating the Cougars 1-0 to post their second win in their last three matches against Azusa Pacific. The Lancers’ (4-1-1, 3-0) win, which was their first in Azusa since 1994, improved the 2011 PacWest champions to 3-0 in conference play, while handing the Cougars (3-4, 2-1) their first PacWest loss.
Azusa Pacific was out-shot 19-15 in the match, and put just four of its shots on frame, while the Lancers kept senior keeper Michelle Wieland busy with 11 shots on goal to register only their fourth victory against the Cougars in 39 meetings. CBU’s Bernadette Witz notched the game-winner in the 61st minute, recording her fourth goal of the season.
In the first half California Baptist came out aggressively, controlling possession and creating multiple opportunities. The Lancer tallied six of the first seven shots, and put five of their shots on target. Wieland, however, countered with an impressive showing, posting five first-half saves to help Azusa Pacific go into the break knotted with California Baptist at 0-0. The Cougars were out-shot 9-6 through the first 45 minutes and had just one shot on goal and one corner kick in that span.
In the second half the Lancers came out shooting, registering eight of the first nine shots of the period, including the eventual game-winner, over a 19-minute span. Following an Azusa Pacific foul California Baptist took an indirect free kick from 40 yards out and sent it into the box. After the ball pin-balled through a crowd, Witz settled it in the center of the box, near the penalty marker, and rolled it right post, just past a diving Wieland. The goal ended a 249 minute shutout streak for Wieland, who tallied a career-high 10 saves in the match.
The Cougars had a few equalizing attempts late in the match, the first in the 78th minute when senior Jacqueline Conforto had a one-on-one opportunity against Lancer keeper Rosie Nakata. On the play Conforto gathered a cross and shot it towards the goal from 15 yards out, but sent it straight into the arms of Nakata.
In the 90th senior forward Natalie Sun sent a cross from deep on the right side of the box to Shannon Righetti, who was wide open on the far side. Righetti put her header just off the mark and over the crossbar to seal CBU’s first win at the Cougar Soccer Complex. The loss was Azusa Pacific’s second consecutive conference-home opening defeat, and drops the Cougars to 3-4, giving the Cougars their first losing record after seven matches since 1996.