Women’s soccer sits at 3-1-1 in conference play

With a tough preseason behind them, the Azusa Pacific women’s soccer team creates strong momentum with two conference wins Thursday and Saturday.

This brings the Cougars’ record to 3-1-1 in the conference but 3-7-1 overall. They sit tied at third place with Hawai’i Hilo, while Biola and Point Loma hold on to second and first place with no losses in conference play.

The Cougars began their four home game string on Thursday, taking on the visiting Penguins of Dominican University. Azusa Pacific beat them 2-0.

Junior forward Emmy Koflanovich and senior midfielder Kellie Yoshihara were the two highlights for the Cougars as they both scored and assisted each other’s goals.

Koflanovich gave the Cougars their first goal within the first seven minutes of play, while Yoshihara earned the second goal in the first 10 minutes of the second half.

In her senior year, Yoshihara looks to remain optimistic for the remainder of the season, as the Cougars looks to enter postseason.

“I think for this second half, we just need to persevere through it. I think that with such a rough start it can be hard in transitions, but with that trial comes character. We really have an opportunity to show who we are and what we’re made of,” Yoshihara said.

With just one day of rest but full momentum, the Cougars came back on a cloudy Saturday for another conference matchup against Holy Names University.

Once again, the Cougars shutout the visiting Hawks with the same score as the previous game, 2-0.

The game was dictated by the Cougar’s strong back line and pressuring offense.

On the day, Azusa Pacific had a whopping 34 shots with 16 of those being shots on goal. Freshman midfielder Ella Romero led the day with four out of five shots on goal. However, the Cougars could not find their scoring until the second half.

With an assist from the corner kick, Romero was in a wild group right in front of the goal but was able to knock it in in the 68th minute.

“It was big scramble, and I was just trying to put anything I could on it. I just happened to be the one who got it in,” Romero said.

With just seven and a half minutes left in the game, sophomore defender Brianna Haskins pulled the trigger from 25 yards out and  found the back corner of the net. The assist came from fellow defender sophomore Haley Bostard.

“I fell over and didn’t even know it went in until my team started screaming, so it was just kind of a kick it and see what happens kind of goal,” Haskins said.

Brooke Lincoln, Azusa Pacific’s head coach, commented and commended her girls for their performance against Holy Names.

“A lot of credit goes to our back line and our center mids. They didn’t give them a lot of chances to be able to go forward,” Lincoln said.

Lincoln is in her first year as head coach for the Cougars and looks to lead the girls to a strong finish with the hopes of reaching postseason play.

“We have had a little bit of a rough start, but we sit in the PacWest at 3-1-1, so we’re still in the hunt, and I tell the girls that every day,” Lincoln said.

With just under a week, Azusa Pacific will be back home against Fresno Pacific next Thursday and Academy of Art on Saturday. Both games kickoff at 7:30 PM.