With a big save in the 90th minute of the game, the Cougars were able to come out on top in overtime
Azusa Pacific women’s soccer proved on Thursday evening that sometimes soccer isn’t for the faint of heart. With a scoreless game until the 98th minute, the Cougars were finally able to pull ahead and grab the 1-0 win over Cal St. San Marcos to improve to 2-0 on the season.
The first half was close, but neither team got any solid looks at the net. Most of the game was played at midfield, meaning it was back and forth throughout. Missed passes and bad looks didn’t allow either APU or San Marcos to get any kind of offensive chances on net. After 45 minutes of soccer, APU tallied only four shots while San Marcos could only muster up one.
“Defensively I’m very proud of our team. For anyone that’s never watched us play, we don’t play a lot of long balls and that’s not something that we really work on in training,” said head coach Brooke Lincoln. “I thought the backline did a really good job defensively.”
In the second half, it was more of the same from both sides. Neither could break through to score the game’s first goal. As time continued to dwindle down, both APU and San Marcos became more anxious and began to take more risks. There were some close calls near the net for both sides, but it wasn’t until nine seconds remained in the game that the tide turned.
A loose ball headed for the Cougars’ sophomore goalkeeper, Jennifer Kovisto, and made its way closer to the net as a member of the Cal St. San Marcos gained on it to possibly score what would have been the game-ending dagger. Kovisto came out of her net to play it, and in a quick play, she lifted her foot to protect herself. This caused the nearby official to call a penalty, giving San Marcos what looked like a tap in goal with just nine seconds remaining.
As everyone on the field and the sidelines collectively held their breath awaiting what looked like a sure goal, Kovisto dove to her right-hand side just as the shot was there to make what could be the save of the year for the team.
“I was just trying to keep my head in the game. I was thinking, ‘Keep the ball out of the net. Keep us in the game,’” Kovisto said. “I hope I get this right. I hope I don’t mess this up.”
Kovisto’s beautiful save in the 90th minute bought the Cougars an opportunity to end it in overtime.
With the momentum completely on their side heading into overtime, the Cougars were able to convert in the 98th minute on a powerful shot from junior Maddy Morrison.
“Me being open and me being able to get the shot on that ball… it was just beautiful,” Morrison said.
At that moment, after facing a great deal of adversity, Lincoln realized the key was to just remember that this is fun and that this is what the game is all about.
“Look this is a game. Five-year-olds play this game,” Lincoln said. “The only kind of tension or pressure is the tension or pressure that you put on yourself. While we want to win, I tell the girls all of the time if you’re not enjoying yourself and not having fun, life is too short to do something that you aren’t enjoying.”
The women’s soccer squad certainly seemed to enjoy the game after all was said and done. The Cougars look to continue their success against UC San Diego, on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Cougar Soccer Complex.