RIVERSIDE, Calif. -- California Baptist took an early lead with 4 first-quarter goals, and the Lancers never looked back in a 15-6 win over Azusa Pacific in Riverside. Freshman Alyssa Hess was the Cougars’ leading scorer, rifling 1 past the goalkeeper on a first-quarter penalty shot and 2 more in the fourth for a total of 3 goals on the day.
California Baptist senior Rachel Esau scored the first goal in the first 30 seconds of the match, and Mallory Montano and Alyssa Birch added 2 more for the Lancers halfway into the first quarter to make it 3-0. The Cougars closed the deficit to 2 when Hess put a penalty shot past goalkeeper Kristen Post to cut the lead to 3-1. The Lancers struck right back, as Esau scored in the final minute on a 6-on-5 advantage due to an ejection.
California Baptist scored 5 more goals in the second quarter for a 9-3 halftime lead, adding 5 more in the third, and 1 in the fourth before the Cougars finally broke through with back-to-back Hess goals in the fourth quarter. Esau scored three goals and Post had nine saves in the match for the Lancers. Azusa Pacific goalkeeper Shannon Oliphant tallied 4 saves on the day and freshman Kelsy Zarick added 3 saves.
Half of Azusa Pacific’s 6 goals came from 6-on-5 advantages. Seniors Ivonne Garcia and Michelle Lutz each scored a second-quarter goal, and freshman Angelina Castaneda scored 1 goal in the third.
The loss, just the fourth in the past 15 games for Azusa Pacific, dropped the Cougars to 13-12 on the season, while California Baptist improved to 22-11.
Azusa Pacific hosts NCAA Div. III Whittier College on Saturday, April 9, at the Slauson Park pool in Azusa, in the final match of the regular season before the Cougars participate in the California Baptist-hosted NAIA Invitational that caps the second season of Azusa Pacific water polo April 15-16 in Riverside.