AZUSA, Calif.-- After an uneventful first half, the Azusa Pacific women’s soccer team scored twice over the course of the second frame to stay unbeaten in Pacific West Conference play with a 2-0 victory against Hawai’i Pacific on Monday night. Mayra Almazan put the Cougars on the board in the 60th minute, and Amanda Hardy gave Azusa Pacific (5-1-1, 3-0-1) breathing room in the 76th with her first goal of the season.
The Cougar defense had another stellar performance, posting its third shutout in four PacWest games, and limiting the Sea Warriors (2-5, 0-2) to seven shots, all of which came in the final 45 minutes of play. Freshman keeper Sarah Kilinkenberg tabbed her second consecutive clean sheet in the win, and has given up just one goal in four matches against PacWest competition.
The Cougars and Sea Warriors played a relatively sloppy first half, with Azusa Pacific generating eight shots and placing just two on frame while HPU was held without a shot through the first 45 minutes. But in the second half both teams came alive, and Azusa Pacific broke the scoreless tie when Alamzan controlled a cross from Haley Fisher, and sent a right footed strike past HPU’s keeper. The goal was the sophomore’s fourth of the season on just 10 shots, while Fisher registered her team-leading third assist on the play.
Sixteen minutes later Hardy took advantage when the Sea Warrior goalie was out of position on a failed clear. The junior from San Diego quickly recognized the keeper in the middle of the box, and sent a looping right-footed shot from 30 yards out into the back of the net for her first goal of the season to pad Azusa Pacific’s lead.
The Sea Warriors rallied with seven shots in the final 45 minutes, and nearly got on the board in the 85th minute when Andrea Aguirre gathered a ball in traffic, got past Klinkenberg, and looked primed to score deep in the box. But senior defender Allie Stone slid in for the rescue, stopping the would-be goal to preserve the team’s third shutout of the season.
Ten minutes earlier Klinkenberg made an impressive stop in a one-v-one situation, kicking her left leg out for a sliding save against Sky Nanoo deep on the Cougar side to keep the score at 1-0. Klinkenberg tallied two saves in the match, and lowered her goals-against-average to 0.58 this season.
Azusa Pacific finished with 21 shots, putting five on frame, and now have outscored PacWest opponents 13-1 through the first four league games of the season. The Cougars will have a chance to improve on that later this week when they take on Hawai’i Hilo on Thursday and Chaminade on Saturday. Each match is slated to start at 5 p.m.