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AZUSA, Calif.-- The Cougar women’s soccer redemption tour continued on Saturday, with Azusa Pacific paying back Cal State Dominguez Hills for a 2-1 loss in last year’s season opener. Just two days removed from defeating Lee (Tenn.) the Cougars nabbed their second win of the year, beating the Toros (1-1) 2-1 in an up-tempo match thanks to goals from Haley Williamson and Alyx Williams.
Williamson recorded her first career goal early in the first half when she sent a surprising, looping shot over the keeper’s head from 40 yards out in the 18th minute. Later on Williams gave Azusa Pacific a much-needed insurance score in the 62nd when the junior from La Habra Heights gathered a Toro deflection and found a hole on the bottom-left side of the goal, rolling it past the diving CSUDH keeper to make it a 2-0 match.
Just four minutes later the play proved its worth when the Toros cut Azusa Pacific’s lead to one on a penalty kick after a handball was called in the box. Melanie DeSalvo converted the attempt, placing it left post.
Cal State Dominguez Hills held a 23-18 shot advantage, and kept freshman keeper Sarah Klinkenberg busy all night. The Toros placed nine shots on frame in the run of play, and saw each of them turned away by the rookie keeper, whose only two goals allowed this season have come on PKs.
Each team had its fair share of chances throughout the night, with CSUDH applying a lot of late pressure as the match wound down. The Toros best missed chance came in the 60th minute when DeSalvo found herself wide open at the top of the box and rocketed it just over the bar. The Toros registered 12 second half shots, keeping the Cougars on their heels for much of the final 45 minutes.
But the Cougars had their chances as well, most notably on a play late in the first half. In the 42nd minute CSUDH’s Jennifer Ackerly dropped a deep shot from Kira Heggeland, setting up a chance for Stephanie Lossau deep inside the 18. But just as the freshman got to it, Ackerly recovered, and knocked the would-be goal out of harm’s way. Ackerly tallied seven saves as Azusa Pacific placed nine shots on goal in the match.
Azusa Pacific improved to 5-3-5 all-time against the Toros with the win. The Cougars will return to action on Saturday when they play their first match away from home, although they’ll only travel 13 miles down highway 57 to face Cal Poly Pomona. The game is slated for 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday.