AZUSA, Calif. -- Azusa Pacific knows that if it is to have any chance at claiming its fourth straight GSAC title, it has win games like this.
With their backs to the wall, trailing 1-0 with 14 minutes to play, the NAIA’s No. 1-ranked Cougars rallied to score a pair of goals, the winner coming in the 88th minute, for a 2-1 win road win Saturday over Vanguard.
It’s not the first time Azusa Pacific needed a comeback win this year. Some 3 weeks ago, in their GSAC-opener against Concordia, the Cougars trailed 2-0 with 15 minutes to play, only to comeback with 2 goals and an eventual 2-2 tie.
With the game tied 1-1 with 2 minutes remaining, Megan Cardin collected a deflected ball in the box and fired a rocket into the upper net for her second goal of the season and the eventual game-winner.
Vanguard took a 1-0 lead and seemed ready for an upset when Jennifer Zipprich buried a through ball from Amber Waddle in the 16th minute.
Coming out of the intermission, head coach Jason Surrell made a familiar move he has done more than once this year when the Cougars have needed a goal, moving sweeper Stephanie Bays to the attack. Bays responded with a one-timed shot off a deflection for her fourth goal of the year to tie the game in 77th minute.
Cougar GK Melissa Strother collected 4 saves in the win. After 3 straight shutouts, the Lions’ were the first to solve the Cougar defense and get a goal. The Lions’ goal is the first against the Cougars in 345 minutes of action. It was also the first goal in GSAC play since the Cougars allowed a pair in the opener against Concordia Sept. 29.
With the win, Azusa Pacific improves to 10-0-3 overall, 5-0-1 GSAC. Vanguard drops to 8-6, 3-3.