Azusa Pacific 0
AZUSA, Calif. -- Westmont’s Jessica Schoepke came off the bench and scored a hat-trick in the span of 14 minutes early in the second half to lift the NAIA’s No. 5-ranked Warriors to a 3-0 win over top-ranked Azusa Pacific Saturday in Azusa.
The win is the Warriors’ fourth straight over the Cougars, and it is Azusa Pacific’s second straight loss this year. It is also the first time since 1997 that Azusa Pacific has lost 2 GSAC games in the same season, and for all intents and purposes, the loss ends the Cougar’s 3-year stranglehold on the GSAC crown.
In a rematch of last year’s NAIA championship game, the first half went scoreless with neither team able to generate major threats. The Warriors had perhaps the best chance when All-American Karin Sullivan broke through but her point blank shot went straight at Cougar GK Melissa Strother. The Cougar best chance came on a corner kick as Erin Arbizu’s bending shot went just past the post.
The Warriors erupted in the early minutes of the second half to put the game away. In the 55th minute, Schoepke ran onto a Sullivan pass in the box, one-touched it past a diving Strother, then literally passed the ball into the middle of the open net for a 1-0 Warrior lead.
Just 6 minutes later, Jane Wyche sent a cross into the box that went through the hands of Strother. Schoepke found herself on the backdoor and promptly found an open net again for her second goal.
Schoepke then completed her first career hat trick in the 68th minute when she cleaned up a loose ball off a corner kick in front of the Cougar net.
Westmont controlled much of the play, out-shooting Azusa Pacific, 14-3. The Cougars, who were without the services of 2-time All-GSAC Stephanie Bays, had no shots on goal. The 3 goals allowed is the most since the Cougars’ allowed 3 to CS Fullerton Aug. 29, 2000 in head coach Jason Surrell’s first season.
With the win, Azusa Pacific drops to 10-2-3 overall, 5-2-1 GSAC. Westmont improves to 14-1-1 overall, 7-0-1 GSAC.