SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- Junior Jolie Nitta missed a large portion of last season with an injury. She is already at work looking to make up for lost time. Her goal in the 89th minute lifted Azusa Pacific to a 2-1 win over Calvin (Mich.) in their season opener.
Trailing 1-0 at halftime to Calvin (Mich.), the NAIA’s No. 10-ranked Cougars (1-0) put together a second half rally to overcome the deficit and post their first victory of the season, 2-1.
An early test of resolve was necessary after Calvin (0-1) scored just a shade over 2 minutes into the match on a header by Sarah Weesies that quickly put the Cougars in a hole. However, despite the shaky start, the defense fortified and allowed only 3 shots on goal for the remainder of the game.
Azusa Pacific came back to knot the game at 1-1 when freshman Bridget Brotherton found the back of the net in the 56th minute. For Brotherton, a decorated player out of Etiwanda High, it was her first collegiate goal. The Cougars applied pressure throughout the contest taking 30 shots, 15 of which were on goal peppering keeper Linda Heilman from a variety of angles.
As the game progressed the Cougars wrestled away momentum and set up the game up for Nitta’s heroics. After a corner kick was deflected into her area, Nitta cleaned up the loosed ball by firing a shot into the lower left corner off her left foot that found the back of the net.
"It was a great goal," head coach Jason Surrell said. "She drilled it and we're happy with the win. There wasn't a great flow to the game but the girls kept fighting."
Azusa Pacific will be in action next Friday, September 9, against Chapman in Whittier, Calif.