ORANGE, Calif.-- It wasn’t the biggest loss of the season, but it certainly was the most painful. After jumping out to a 5-0 advantage at the first break the Azusa Pacific women’s water polo team suffered a 7-6 loss to Chapman after the Panthers outscored the Cougars 7-1 in the final 24 minutes. Azusa Pacific (7-18) missed 25 shots in the match and allowed Chapman to score two critical goals in the final frame, including the game winner with just over a minute to play.
Keeper Brooke Sovick finished with 11 saves in the match, and blocked a 5-meter penalty shot deep in the second quarter to help the Cougars keep their tenuous lead. Courtney Folsom and Megan Minekime each had two goals in the match, both coming in the opening quarter, while Lora Donaldson and Jennifer Horchler added one score apiece to the Cougar cause.
After the opening sprint Minekime beat Kirstin Spice for the first goal of the match before adding her second with 5:44 on the clock to put Azusa Pacific ahead 2-0. Horchler found the back of the net at the 3:33 mark and Folsom tallied back-to-back goals to put the Cougars up 5-0 with 2:13 left on the clock as Azusa Pacific looked primed for the blowout.
But at the end of the period Chapman finally broke through with a goal to trail 5-1 after eight minutes of play. In the second quarter the Panthers shut out the Cougar offense and added two more scores to cut the deficit to 5-3 at the half.
In the third quarter Donaldson registered her lone goal of the day to give Azusa Pacific a 6-3 edge, but Chapman responded with two more goals in the frame to make it a 6-5 affair with just one quarter left.
In the fourth Azusa Pacific had chance after chance, but couldn’t get it past Spicer, who notched six saves in the quarter. Midway through the period Taylor Whitney appeared to have given the Cougars another goal, but her score was wiped away by the officials to keep it a 6-5 contest. Then with 5:17 on the clock the Panthers tied it up on a skip-shot before eventually taking its first lead of the match on Sam Martin’s third goal of the day at the 1:05 mark.
Azusa Pacific had a chance to tie it up with the clock winding down, but the Cougars couldn’t convert as they fell to a Chapman team they beat 8-3 earlier this year.
The loss drops Azusa Pacific’s record to 7-18 and the team has now lost 14 of its last 16. The Cougars will have a chance to buck that trend next Friday when they face Brown (R.I.) and Fresno Pacific in a double header in La Jolla, Calif.