AZUSA, Calif. -- Historically, Cal Poly Pomona has had Azusa Pacific's number in the battle between Southern California women's soccer powers, winning 6 of 9 meetings, including identical 1-0 verdicts in each of the past 2 season openers. On this night, however, the Cougars won the battle, convincingly no less, pasting a 3-0 decision on the Broncos, who are ranked No. 9 in NCAA Division II.
The Cougars, ranked No. 3 in the NAIA, dominated the run of play all night, and with the exception of a 5-minute flurry midway through the second half, rarely allowed the ball across midfield, outshooting the Broncos 12-5.
"I couldn't have asked for a better first half, but from start to finish that was one of the most dominating games I've ever been a part of as a coach," said Azusa Pacific mentor Jason Surrell. "I think we got a little comfortable with our lead in the second half and began to sit back, but we were still able to counter-attack with the pace we have up top."
Freshman Stephanie Hannemann got the Cougars rolling early when she took a perfect through pass from Erin Arbizu and pelted it into the net for her first goal of the game and a 1-0 Cougar lead less than 5 minutes in.
In near identical fashion just 12 minutes later, Stephanie Bays sent a perfect through ball down the right side to Arbizu, who shot to the far post and sent the ball past a diving Bronco GK Katie Kreps for her third goal of the year.
"I just tell myself that I have to keep working and step up," said Arbizu, who has 3 goals and 2 assists in the first 2 games. "We need someone to step up offensively, and I try and do that each night. We totally outplayed this team, and this is a big win for us. It shows that we can play with anybody."
Hannemann finished things up in the 70th minute when a miscommunication by the Bronco defense resulted in a loose ball. Hannemann collected the loose ball and sent it into the open net for her second of the game and third of the season.
"Stephanie is the fastest kid on this team and she just goes and goes," said Surrell. "Every time she gets the ball, the other team has to think twice about giving her space because she's so fast, and that keeps the other team on its heels all night."
Once again, the Cougar defense was solid the entire night, keeping Cougar All-American GK Melissa Strother from any danger for most of the night. Strother was tested just twice, making a save while another Bronco shot deflected off the crossbar.
Azusa Pacific, now 2-0 on the season, has nearly 3 weeks off before taking the field again when it travels to CS Bakersfield September 24 at 5 p.m. in the opening game of a doubleheader with the men. Cal Poly suffers its first loss under first-year head coach and former U.S. National Team member Paul Caligiuri, falling to 2-1 on the year.