Women’s soccer comes out on top as the defense stood tall and the offense did their part
Azusa Pacific women’s soccer came into this match with a drive to win and win big as they were coming off a 3-1 win against San Francisco St. on Saturday, Sept. 21. However, every game is a new opportunity and the Cougars took advantage of this one. Thursday night’s opportunity was certainly taken as the Cougars pulled away with a 1-0 win over Point Loma to improve to 4-1-1 on the season.
The first 30 minutes of the game were spectacular for the Cougars as they came out fast and were firing the ball creating plenty of scoring chances. Point Loma seemed to struggle early on as APU kept up the pressure and were trying to keep Point Loma to their own goal. The pressure was working beautifully and eventually led to what would be the only goal of the game.
In the 19th minute of the first half sophomore forward Abi Hume was able to break the ice and score what would be the game-winning goal. “We’ve been working on our corner [kicks] a lot in training so it was nice to finally put one of those in,” said Hume.
Going through the first half approaching halftime, the game began to slow down a little as both teams were having trouble moving the ball up the field. The defensive pressure from both sides was a lot to handle for the offenses in this game thus the low scoring final. It looked as if the Cougars’ defense was enough to keep Point Loma away from any kind of offensive chances in the first half. “A lot of things are going right. It first starts with our kids buying in and that started in training camp,” said head coach Brooke Lincoln. “Our kids are very coachable and they work. They listen and they’re trying to do all of the right things,” Lincoln continued.
As the second half began, APU continued their stellar defensive play and junior goaltender Jennifer Kostivo continued to be a brick wall in the net making some key saves throughout the match. On the offensive side of the ball, in the second half junior forward Randi Macadangdang was all over the ball tallying a team-leading five shots and creating many more scoring opportunities by tenaciously attacking the goal.
Although this game was a low scoring affair, APU continued to get offensive opportunities throughout the game recording a total of 18 shots. One thing that certainly needs to improve though is the capitalization on those chances. “We attacked really well and we had really good opportunities with lots of shots but it’s just about finishing those easier ones,” said Hume who scored the lone goal of the game.
“We just have to be more consistent,” said Lincoln. “The first 30 minutes were really good. We haven’t been that good since the Dominguez Hills game and again sometimes that comes from youth and inexperience and we have a lot of that. The shots will hit the back of the net with more consistency in our play,” she continued.
On the defensive end of the ball, the Cougars have only allowed one goal in the past three matches. “Every single person on the backline is doing their job. Collectively we are playing together and we’re getting the job done,” said Kovisto. “We’re stepping up on the ball especially at the top of the box which is something we struggled with last year.
The defensive play is what truly won this game as one goal is rarely enough to win a soccer match. The Cougars have done a terrific job of pressuring the ball carriers and that’s creating missed passes from the opposing team as well as frantic decision making leading to turnovers. One goal won’t always be enough but this team is definitely in good hands on the defensive side of the ball.
The Cougars will now embark on a four-game road trip lasting 14 days and will be playing four games with one game each against Concordia, Academy of Art, Holy Names, and Point Loma. APU won’t be back at home until Oct. 19 to face Concordia at 1 p.m at the Cougar Soccer Complex.