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Easy as 1-2-3

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Published
October 11, 2003
By
Micah McDaniel
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Azusa Pacific 4
Christian Heritage 0

AZUSA, Calif. -- All-American Erin Arbizu celebrated her return to the field after missing nearly a month with an injury with 2 goals and 2 assists to lead the NAIA’s No. 1-ranked Azusa Pacific to a 4-0 GSAC win over Christian Heritage.

The Cougars, who move their unbeaten streak to 11 straight with the win, are now 3-0 all-time against the Hawks, outscoring them 18-1 in the process.

Azusa Pacific turned to its 3-headed scoring attack of Arbizu, freshman Ellen Clark and junior Stephanie Bays, who has split time between the defense and the attack, and the trio provided in a big way accounting for all the goals and assists.

“It’s hard to sit out and watch for the past 3 weeks, so to get back on the field was a great feeling tonight,” said Arbizu.

Bays got the Cougars on the board in the third minute with a blast to the top left corner of the net off an assist from Arbizu. Bays added 2 more assists in the game.

Less than 15 minutes after Bays’ goal, Clark got her team-leading sixth of the season when she tucked away a ball into the lower left corner off a nice combo with Bays and Arbizu in the 17th minute to give the Cougars a 2-0 lead at the half.

Exactly 5 minutes into the second half, Clark carried the ball down the left side, beat a defender and slid a ball towards the net that Arbizu deflected into the net for her third goal of the season.

Twelve minutes after that, Arbizu received a through ball from Bays and blasted a one-timer into the right corner to complete the Cougars’ scoring.

“Having Erin made a huge difference,” said head coach Jason Surrell. “Just having her on the field changes the complexion of the game. Defenses have to respect her scoring ability, so it opens things up for us.”

Azusa Pacific dominated play the entire night, out-shooting the Hawks, 31-3. Cougar GK Melissa Strother made 1 save and recorded the 35th shutout of her career, moving her into fourth on the NAIA’s all-time career saves list.

With the win, Azusa Pacific moves to 8-0-3 overall, 3-0-1 GSAC. Christian Heritage falls to 2-10-0 overall, 0-4-0.