AZUSA, Calif. -- A slow start proved costly to Azusa Pacific in its 2011 home opener, as the Cougars were unable to overcome a 4-goal first-quarter deficit in a 14-10 loss to the NCAA Div. III’s top-ranked Occidental Saturday afternoon in Azusa.
Senior Michelle Lutz scored a team-high 3 goals for the Cougars, including the first 2 after halftime that cut Occidental’s lead to 9-6 early in the third quarter. Azusa Pacific had 3 others with multiple goals, hitting double-digits for the second consecutive game after the Cougars averaged 6.7 goals over the first 6 games of the 2011 campaign.
Sophomore Jennifer Horchler registered a pair of second-quarter goals, cutting Occidental’s lead to 7-2 early in the period and again with 8 seconds left in the quarter to pull Azusa Pacific to within 9-4 heading into halftime. The Cougars scored in the final minute of 3 of the game’s 4 quarters, and 3 Azusa Pacific goals came on 6-on-5 opportunities.
Occidental jumped out to a 4-0 lead behind a pair of Karie Nickle goals, and Nickle scored her third midway through the second quarter to give the Tigers a commanding 7-1 lead. Julie Monday scored 3 second-quarter goals for Occidental, helping the Tigers to the 9-4 halftime edge.
Freshman goalie Jessica Armagost registered 6 third-quarter saves, limiting the Tigers’ potent offense to just 2 third-quarter scores, and she finished with 9 saves on the day. Occidental was led by 4-goal performances from Nickle and Monday, with 5 other Tigers registering in the scoring column.
Junior Rebecca Edwards scored twice for Azusa Pacific, and freshman Alyssa Hess added a pair of fourth-quarter goals for the Cougars. Senior Ivonne Garcia rounded out the scoring for Azusa Pacific with a second-quarter score.
With the loss, Azusa Pacific drops to 1-7. The Cougars are back in action when they visit Vanguard on Thursday, Feb. 24.