BOX SCORE (PDF)
AZUSA, Calif.-- If nothing else, they know how to put on a good show. Just days after posting a thrilling 9-8 win over Cal State Monterey Bay, the Azusa Pacific women’s water polo team was at it again, getting the game-winning goal with just two seconds left on the clock to come away with a dramatic 8-7 victory over Chapman in its home finale.
The Cougars failed to convert three earlier fourth-quarter 6-on-5 opportunities before forcing another Panther ejection with 15 seconds left in regulation. Following an Azusa Pacific (9-18) timeout the Cougars moved the ball around the outside with the clock winding down before finding Brittany Garrigan, who slotted the ball past the Chapman defense with two ticks remaining to clinch the team’s fifth win in the past 10 days.
“I was definitely holding my breath on that last play, but I have confidence in our girls that when they take a shot they’re going to make it,” said head coach Julie Sondgrass.
“The girls did a really good job of composing themselves. I was really proud of the execution. We had a lot of opportunities that unfortunately barred out, or hit the post, but ultimately we made it happen when it counted. It was a great goal from Brittany at the end of the game.”
Garrigan’s game-winner gave the freshman a hat-trick, and continued Azusa Pacific’s late season-run that’s seen the Cougars come within striking distance against a ranked Wagner (N.Y.) squad, and avenge an earlier season loss to the Otters. The Cougars, who didn’t reach the five win total until the 21st match of the year, now have five wins in the last seven games.
“It’s good that we’re playing well at the end. With such a young team it’s been really good to grow together, knowing that almost all of us will be back next year. It’s also good that we’re playing our best water polo with the two remaining invites we have left,” said Snodgrass.
There were four lead changes in the match and neither team led by more than two scores all game. In the fourth quarter Angelina Castaneda tied the score at 7-7 with a lob over the keeper from the left side after Chapman took a 7-6 lead on a Riley Ford goal. In the final frame Azusa Pacific forced four Chapman ejections, but twice had its 6-on-5 shots clank off the post.
The Panthers tied the score at sixes late in the third quarter, getting a back-to-back goals in a 20-second span to erase a 6-4 deficit. The Cougars grabbed a 6-4 edge with 2:20 to go in the third on Maryann Slama’s lone goal of the afternoon after Alynn Reade found the back of the net a minute earlier.
At the half the Cougars and Panthers were knotted at 4-4, with Azusa Pacific getting two goals from Garrigan, and one from Alyssa Hess in the second quarter. In the opening frame the Cougars struck first when Jennifer Horchler beat the Chapman keeper less than a minute after the opening sprint. The Panthers responded with two consecutive goals to go ahead 2-1 after eight minutes of play.
Garrigan led all scorers with three, while Chapman’s Alison Quiny tabbed a team-high two goals. Jessica Armagost entered the match in the third quarter, and tallied five second-half saves to limit the Panthers to just three goals in the final two quarters. Katie Margot opened the match in goal, and recorded three saves.
Horchler had a team-high three steals and two drawn ejections in the final home match of her career. The Cougars will face Brown at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps on Monday at 4 p.m., before concluding the season with the Division II invite in Fresno on April 13-14, and the NAIA Invite in Riverside on April 20.