OLATHE, Kan. -- After spanning the season without a loss, it is difficult to consider the suddenness with which it could come to an end.
However, such is life in any single elimination tournament and Azusa Pacific had to deal with that gut wrenching reality after falling to Simon Fraser (B.C.), 2-1, in the NAIA Tournament quarterfinals, Saturday, in Olathe, Kan.
The Cougars fell behind early when their defense was unable to clear a ball instead knocking it into their own goal giving Simon Fraser a 1-0 lead in the 7th minute. Azusa Pacific bounced back quickly and began to mount an attack on the Clan defense.
Bridget Brotherton scored in the 21st minute to get the Cougars even at 1-1. It was the ninth goal of the year for the freshman who is second on the team in points.
Over the course of the rest of the first half the Cougars had several opportunities but could not convert. “We had some good chances including 1 off the post,” said head coach Jason Surrell. “We just couldn’t quite finish.”
Simon Fraser retook the lead with a goal in the 43rd minute when Carlen Oates hit a left footed shot from 30 yards out high into the goal to make it 2-1. It was a floater hit toward the back post that squeezed into the upper V.
“That was just the luck we had today,” Surrell said.
The Cougars applied more pressure still in the second half as they would up outshooting Simon Fraser 19-6 for the game.
“I don’t know if outplayed was the word but we had our chances against them,” he said.
Azusa Pacific ripped 10 shots in the second half but came up empty.
The Cougars end the year with their first loss and finish 17-1-4. “This is 1 of the top teams ever in school history and they deserve to be recognized as one of the best we’ve had,” Surrell said.
After buzzing through Indiana Wesleyan 3-0 in their first round game it was a disappointing conclusion to what had been a hopeful beginning to the tournament. Azusa Pacific drops to 15-7 all-time since 1998 at the national tournament.
The loss ends the careers of several outstanding Cougars including Shannon Coe, Megan Cardin, Stephanie Hannemann, Julie Fennel and Brooke Williams. Coe wraps up her career fifth on the Cougars’ all-time scoring list with 97 career points.