AZUSA, Calif. -- Azusa Pacific used speed and precision to cut apart the Fresno Pacific defense on the way to a 6-1 GSAC victory over the Sunbirds Thursday night in Azusa.
Freshman Jolie Nitta recorded her first-ever collegiate hat-trick, leading a Cougar offense that out-shot Fresno Pacific by a 30-5 count which included an 18-1 pace midway through the first half. With Azusa Pacific already up 1-0 on a Stephanie Bays' header less than 5 minutes into the game, Nitta doubled the Azusa Pacific cushion when she beat Sunbird keeper Audrey Hadden on a shot up the middle. She later tallied on a rebound off a Megan Cardin shot that pushed the Cougar lead to 4-1 with 14 minutes left in the first half. Nitta completed her hat-trick less than 3 minutes into the second half by scoring on a penalty kick. She now has 5 goals on the season, second on the team.
Marilyn Montgomery and Stephanie Webber rounded out the Cougar scoring, both recording their second goals of the season.
Fresno Pacific registered its lone counter when Clarissa Myers beat Cougar keeper Melissa Strother from 15 from yards out on a nifty give-and-go with Cortney Barbrick in the 24th minute.
With the victory, Azusa Pacific, which is ranked No. 8 in the NAIA, improves to 10-2 overall and maintains its lead atop the GSAC with a 7-1 conference mark. Fresno Pacific falls to 5-9 overall, 3-4 in the GSAC.