BAKERSFIELD, Calif.-- Losing twice in one day is never good, but when you’re just a fourth year program and you put together a respectable showing against a pair of NCAA Div. I teams there isn’t much to hang your head about. The Cougars, competing at the Roadrunner Invitational, went 0-2 on Saturday, falling to Bucknell 14-10 before losing 14-8 to the nation’s 12th-ranked (CWPA) Indiana.
Jennifer Horchler scored five goals on the day and dished out four assists to go with four steals, while Gabrielle Kredel posted a hat trick against Bucknell. Seven Cougars found the back of the net on the day and five of them had two or more.
In the loss to Bucknell the Bison stormed to a 9-3 half time lead, but Azusa Pacific responded with a five-goal third quarter, three of which came from Kredel. Megan Minekime and Horchler tallied the other two in the quarter to cut the deficit to as few as four goals before Bucknell went into the final break leading 13-8.
In the fourth Azusa Pacific outscored the Bison again, registering two scores from Horchler, but despite the Cougars’ second half run Bucknell went away with a 14-10 win. The Cougars held a 6-4 scoring edge in the final 16 minutes and Brooke Sovick, who finished with13 saves, stopped eight Bucknell shots in the final two quarters.
In game two Azusa Pacific faced the nation’s 12th ranked Hoosiers, who came into the tournament having won nine of 10. Azusa Pacific held its own through the first eight minutes as Horchler and Alison Gonzales beat the Indiana keeper for goals. But the Hoosiers registered three of their own to take a 3-2 advantage into the first break. But for the second time today a bad second quarter spelled doom for Azusa Pacific.
After Taylor Whitney knotted the match at 3-3 Indiana went on a 6-1 spree to put the contest out of reach, taking a 9-4 lead into halftime. In the third quarter Kredel and Ashley Shoman each scored, but Indiana beat Sovick for three in the frame to push the Hoosier advantage to 11-6. In the fourth quarter Azusa Pacific and Indiana traded goals as Lora Donaldson and Gonzales hit the back of the cage before the Cougars went on to lose 14-8.
Minkeime drew a game-high six ejections in the loss, but the Cougars converted on only two of their eight 6-on-5 opportunities. Horchler finished with three steals and three drawn ejections.
Azusa Pacific, which recently broke a six game losing streak with an 8-3 win over Chapman, hopes to end this mini skid at next weekend’s Lancer Invitational. The Cougars have rematches with Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and Redlands on Friday before facing another set of NCAA teams on Saturday in Iona and Virginia Military Institute.