AZUSA, Calif.-- The Azusa Pacific women’s soccer team celebrated its four-game winning streak in PacWest play with a 3-0 victory against Hawai’i Hilo on Thursday night. Junior forward Alyx Williams, tallying two goals for the night, partnered with Katelyn Rogers to solidify the victory against Hawai’i Hilo, which marks the fourth shutout for the Cougars in conference play this season. The Cougars have now outscored their PacWest opponents 17-1 in their five conference game.
The Cougars started strong as Natalie Nick sent a beautiful cross to the center of the box in the 22nd where Williams was able to get a head in on the play, precisely placing the ball into the right corner of the frame to register the only goal of the half. Azusa Pacific’s solid defense did not allow the Vulcans a single shot in the half, compared to the 17 Cougar attempts.
“I think from the defensive scheme we are continuing to do well from the forwards, midfields and backs. We understand what we are all doing together which is very important. You have Danielle Ross, Allie Stone and Natalie Nick, with the experience they have; they know what to do,” said Cougar head coach Jason Surrell.
Midway through the second half, Haley Williamson tallied her second assist where she found Williams alone on a cross inside the 18 yard-line allowing for shot into the upper left corner of the goal. Williams now leads the team with five goals for the season.
Thirteen minutes later on a set piece, Nick sent the ball into the box where Rogers was able to tap the ball from within the five into the frame for the last score of the game. Rogers’ touch was her only shot of the night. Vulcan goalkeeper, Jenna Hufford had three saves against Azusa Pacific.
“I thought the first half was good, we just didn’t capitalize on enough opportunities,” said Surrell. “I thought it was a good start. They definitely sat numbers in behind the ball and they didn’t come out of that shape much. The second half caught us off guard, but they came out and played and we didn’t adjust to it. Once we started to settle the game down, I felt like we started to play like we know how to play. We started moving the ball around really well, creating good opportunities.”
Hawai’i Hilo with no attempts in the first half, improved to tally a total of five shots compared to Azusa Pacific’s 29 shot total at the end of the match. Two of the five Vulcan shots were on goal, giving Sarah Klinkenberg two saves for the night. The freshman goalkeeper now has a total of 30 saves for the season, with the only goal allowed in conference play coming in the slippery tie against Academy of Arts.
“Klinkenberg has been great; there is no question about it. She’s been phenomenal for us in the net this year. You trust her, you don’t get nervous on any of the balls that come into the box, you feel comfortable with her in there, and I have a lot confidence in what she is doing for us,” said Surrell.
The Cougars have improved their conference record to 4-0-1 (6-1-1 overall), while the Vulcans drop to 1-3, 4-3-1 overall. Azusa Pacific is looking to continue its unbeaten streak Saturday at the Cougar Soccer against Chaminade.