AZUSA, Calif.-- It was a fitting performance. Before Saturday’s match 11 Azusa Pacific women’s soccer seniors were honored in their final home game of their careers. During it, they gave the Cougar faithful something to remember them by, combining for three goals, one assist, and a shutout, defeating Dixie State 3-0 for their ninth straight win.
Azusa Pacific (12-5; 11-2 PWC) dominated possession for the entirety of the match, out-shooting the Red Storm 27-7, and holding Dixie State (6-9-2; 6-7 PWC) to only one shot on goal as Michelle Wieland needed just one save to collect her 35th shutout.
Natalie Sun scored her 31st goal of her career, while Emily Wood and Heidi Witschi scored their sixth and fifth goals, respectively, of the season.
“This senior class has been one of the best ever. Their desire and commitment has been second to none; this is a special group,” said head Jason Surrell.
In the opening half Wood wasted no time in giving the Cougars the lead. The senior from Glendora corralled a pass from Sun and scored off the right post from 18 yards out on the left side in the 13th minute.
Azusa Pacific nearly made it a 2-0 contest in the 16th when Logan Chan crossed it to Amanda Hardy near the end line, but Hardy’s one-timer was saved by Abby Johnson. The Cougars had six shots on goal in the first 18 minutes.
In the 28th Sun received a through ball, and made a play past Johnson, and appeared to be too deep, but managed to score far post from the left side, placing it in the far corner to give the Cougars a 2-0 lead that they would take into the break. In the first half Azusa Pacific outshot Dixie State 14-5, and earned five corners.
In the second half the Cougars continued to control all facets of the game. Sun nearly scored again on a header attempt from Hardy, but pushed it right of the post. Then off a corner Shannon Righetti skied for a headed, but sent it over the bar. The Red Storm put its only shot on goal in the 67th minute, but Wieland was there to stop it.
In the 75th minute Witschi made it a 3-0 match, scoring on a fast break after placing it past the keeper, who came out towards the top of the box, from 20 yards out.
Following the goal the Red Storm failed to get anything else going as the Cougars posted their ninth consecutive victory. Azusa Pacific registered 11 shots on goal in the contest, and recorded its fifth shutout in the last six games.
The two teams will meet again next week in the Pacific West Conference finale on Saturday in Saint George, Utah where the Cougars will look to close the regular season with 10 straight wins.