RIVERSIDE, Calif.-- It’s been a tough stretch for the Cougar women’s water polo team, and Azusa Pacific did its best to end it in style, winning in dramatic fashion with a sudden-death goal from Alynn Reade to defeat Occidental 9-8 in the final match of the Lancer Invitational.
The Cougars and Tigers were tied at 7-7 at the end of regulation, and after Occidental took an 8-7 lead in the second overtime before Courtney Folsom knotted it at 8-8 to send the match into sudden-death. Then, with 2:14 remaining, Reade clinched the victory with her second goal of the afternoon to end Azusa Pacific’s 10-match losing streak. Three Cougars finished with two goals apiece in the win, with Folsom, Reade, and Brittany Garrigan each finding the back of the net twice.
Katie Margot and Jessica Armagost combined to stop 15 shots, and allowed just three Tiger goals in the final five periods after Occidental held a 5-4 lead at the half. Azusa Pacific was a terror on the defensive end, recording 15 steals and holding the Tigers to 0-for-8 in 6-on-5 chances. The Cougars went 2-for-6 in their power-play opportunities.
Garrigan, and Breana Echevarria led all players with three steals apiece, while four other Cougars tabbed a pair of takeaways. Lora Donaldson, Maryann Slama and Megan Minekime each found the back of the net in the win, and Reade led the Cougars with two assists in the match.
Azusa Pacific sprinted out to a 4-2 lead in the first quarter after getting two goals from Garrigan, and one goal each from Minekime and Slama. Occidental, however, struck back with three unanswered scores in the second quarter to take a 5-4 advantage into the break.
In the third quarter Azusa Pacific tied up the match when Donaldson beat the Tiger defense to make it a 5-5 game before Reade put the Cougars up 6-5 with her first goal of the match. In the fourth Folsom tied it at 7-7, and again knotted the score in the second overtime before Reade clinched the sudden-death victory.
The win was Azusa Pacific’s first since beating Fresno Pacific in the season opener. The Cougars have played one of the toughest schedules over the first 11 matches, playing seven of them against teams ranked inside the CWPA Top-25.
Azusa Pacific will get back to action next week when it takes on Sonoma State on Friday before facing Pacific for the third time this season on Saturday.