FRESNO, Calif.-- In the final weekend of the season Azusa Pacific was hoping to end its up and down year on a high-note at the NAIA National Invitational. Now if the Cougars want to leave 2012 with a positive feeling they’ll have to wait until Saturday after they fell in overtime 9-8 to Fresno Pacific before losing to Concordia 10-6.
In the opening match Azusa Pacific and Fresno Pacific traded goals throughout. The Sunbirds struck first to take a 1-0 edge into the first break, but the Cougars responded with back-to-back scores from Taylor Whitney to grab a 2-1 advantage with 5:23 to go in the second quarter. Fresno Pacific tied the match at 2-2 before grabbing its second lead of the day with 3:10 on the clock. The Sunbirds would take that edge into halftime.
Then in the third quarter the see-saw affair continued when Courtney Folsom found the back of the net for her first goal of the game before Jennifer Horchler put the Cougars back on top at 4-3 with 2:30 to go in the frame. The edge, however, was short-lived as the Sunbirds knotted it at 4-4 with 1:40 on the clock. Folsom then beat the Fresno Pacific keeper for her second goal of the match to put the Cougars on top before Lora Donaldson pushed the advantage to two with 56 seconds left in the third.
In the fourth quarter Fresno Pacific cut it to one on a goal with 3:20 on the clock, but another Horchler score appeared to give Azusa Pacific a sizeable lead at 7-5 with 2:32 to go. The Sunbirds, however, rattled off two goals in a 30-second span to tie it at 7-7 and send the match to overtime.
In the extra frame Fresno Pacific scored two goals in three minutes to make it a 9-7 contest and give the Sunbirds a comfortable lead. A Horchler score with 27 seconds left gave the tournament hosts a minor scare, but the Sunbirds eventually held on for the 9-8 overtime win. The loss gave Fresno Pacific its second win over Azusa Pacific in three meetings this year. Whitney finished with two assists and two steals in the loss, while Brooke Sovick recorded 12 saves.
In the second contest the Cougars were facing a Concordia team that beat them 12-4 in the only meeting this year. And while the result was the same, Azusa Pacific fared much better in the rematch, falling 10-6 to the Eagles.
Through the first three quarters Azusa Pacific kept the match tight, trailing just 6-5 going into the final frame before the Eagles pulled away with a 4-1 scoring disparity over the final eight minutes. Allison Gonzales had a team-high two goals and two assists in the loss, while Horchler scored her fourth goal of the day.
The losses drop Azusa Pacific’s record to 8-26 this season and 0-2 at the NAIA Invite. The Cougars will face No. 17 California Baptist and Vanguard tomorrow, with the first match starting at 9 a.m. against the Lancers. Azusa Pacific is 1-1 this season against Saturday’s opponents.