KISSIMMEE, Fla.-- After edging out a 2-1 win over Houghton on Tuesday, the Azusa Pacific women’s soccer team was firing on all cylinders Wednesday, defeating Trinity Christian (Ill.) 3-0 to advance to the semifinals of the National Christian College Athletics Association national championship tournament. The Cougars (14-3-1) outshot the Trolls (16-4-2) 23-3, and allowed just one shot on goal to clinch a spot in the final four and keep their bid for the program’s first national championship since 1998 alive.
Katelyn Rogers scored her second game-winning goal in as many days early in the first half before Alyx Williams gave the Cougars a commanding 2-0 lead at the break with a 24th minute score. Allyn Brown, who found the back of the net for the first time this season in Tuesday’s win, put the finishing touches on the scoring when she scored off a set piece in the 48th.
Over the balance of the match the Cougar defense continued its dominant season, holding the Trolls without a goal for the team’s first scoreless loss of the season. Trinity Christian had previously tied each of its shutouts earlier this year.
“I felt like we certainly took the rust off of yesterday’s game and played well from the start. Katelyn and Stephanie Lossau played well and had a big impact for us today, and I think everyone, from the midfield to the back line, played really well today. Our forwards were sharp and Alyx does a good job of being hungry around the box, and did good job of finding the back of the net,” said head coach Jason Surrell, who recorded the 52nd postseason win of his career.
Rogers picked up where she left off after Tuesday’s win, giving the Cougars an early lead when she connected on an Amanda Hardy cross in the 16th. The freshman midfielder rattled off six shots on goal in the match, which included a pair of chances out of the gate when she placed two shots on frame from the top of the box in the opening minutes.
Williams scored her seventh goal of the season off a beautiful cross from Haley Arft, and nearly got another goal minutes earlier when Hardy played a ball to her on a dead sprint towards the six. The pass, however, was a tad too heavy and Williams arrived just a second late.
Brown notched her second goal as a Cougar in the 48th minute when Natalie Nick connected with her on one of 10 Azusa Pacific corners to make it a 3-0 match.
Freshman keeper Sarah Klinkenberg registered one save in the match as the Azusa Pacific defense recorded its 11th shutout of the season, albeit its first since Nov. 2. The Azusa Pacific defense held the Trolls without a shot over the final 45 minutes of the game, and limited Trinity Christian to just two corners.
With the win Azusa Pacific sealed its 11th national semifinal appearance as the winner of Pool B with a 2-0 mark, while Trinity Christian will have to wait and see what happens in the final match of pool play between Grace and Judson before knowing its wildcard fate.
Point Loma clinched a semifinal spot out of Pool C with 4 points after playing Grace to a 0-0 tie on Monday and defeating Judson 3-0 on Tuesday. Dallas Baptist advanced out of Pool A with six points with an impressive 3-0 victory against Lee (Tenn.) and a 1-0 win over Palm Beach Atlantic (Fla.).
Azusa Pacific and Dallas Baptist will be the top-two seeds in the semifinals, setting up a match against Point Loma for the Cougars on Friday. Azusa Pacific and Point Loma have met twice this season, with the Sea Lions taking 2-0 wins in back-to-back matches.