John Brown (Ark.) 1
AZUSA, Calif. -- Any hopes John Brown (Ark.) had of shocking the NAIA women’s soccer world were put to rest early as Ellen Clark scored 2 goals in the first 10 minutes to lift the NAIA’s top-ranked Azusa Pacific to a 2-1 win over the No. 19 Golden Eagles in a nonconference match in Azusa.
The Cougars, who earlier in the week garnered the NAIA’s top spot, may have done just enough to hold onto that No. 1 ranking despite tying Concordia, 2-2, Monday night.
“I thought we let it get away from us a little bit in the second part of the first half,” said Azusa Pacific head coach Jason Surrell. “We got up 2-0 and just sat back a little. When we get up early like that we need to put teams away right then. But overall, I thought we controlled the play tonight and played well for the most part, especially since we weren’t sure what to expect with them being nationally ranked.”
Azusa Pacific dominated from the get-go, out-shooting the Golden Eagles, 23-4, on the night, including 12-1 in shots on net. The Cougar also had 7 corner kicks to John Brown’s none.
Jourdan Whistler had 2 assists on the night, the first coming just 6:31 into the match when she a through ball to Clark. With nothing but John Brown GK Amy Menegaz between her and the net, Clark chipped the ball to the right corner for a 1-0 Cougar lead.
Less than 3 minutes later, Clark again received a through ball, this time from Stephanie Lemburg. Clark placed the ball in the lower left corner for her fifth goal of the year and a 2-0 Cougar lead, and the route was on.
JBU cut into the deficit when Amber Aparicio’s errant cross sailed over the head of Cougar GK Tiffany Mitchell, who was filling in for injured All-American Melissa Strother, and into the net in the 31st minute. Strother suffered an eye injury in Wednesday’s win over Fresno Pacific and should be ready to go next week.
Leading 2-1, the Cougars gave themselves a cushion in the 60th minute on Heather Hannemann’s first goal of the season. Whistler headed an airborne ball to Stephanie Weber, who headed it to the feet of Hannemann, who blasted a one-timer into the top of the net.
In the final minute of play, Stephanie Bays scored her second goal of the season after Shannon Coe carried the ball nearly 50 yards, beat a handful of John Brown defenders and sent a sliding ball to Bays’ feet. Bays touched it once then sent the ball to the left corner of the net to round out the Cougars’ scoring.
With the win, Azusa Pacific improves to 5-0-2 overall. John Brown falls to 8-2.