Kayla Grisham scores the go-ahead goal in the 89th minute to lead the Cougars to the victory
On Saturday, Azusa Pacific women’s soccer played Chaminade in a tightly contested match for the entirety of the 90 minutes. The Cougars were able to defeat the Silverswords 2-1, thanks to late-game heroics by freshman Kayla Grisham.
An emphasis this season for this squad has been offense and capitalization on chances when they are received. Getting shut out in three of the last four games with the exception of a five-goal explosion against Hawaii Pacific, the Cougars were looking to right the ship on the offensive side of the ball and grab a win.
The Cougars came out of the gate by immediately began chipping away at Chaminade’s defense. Using footspeed and quick ball movement, senior Emmy Koflanovich found the back of the net in the sixth minute of the game.
“The through ball was accurate and had the right amount of pace on it,” said head coach Brooke Lincoln. “Emmy had a great first touch and Emmy is one of the best finishers that we have. So once she’s in, nine out of ten times she is going to finish it.”
The momentum was short-lived however, as the Silverswords came right back just three minutes later to tie the game with a goal of their own.
“We seem like we came out a bit flat and there was just something off and that’s happened to us quite a few times this year,” said Lincoln.
APU found themselves in a tie game headed into halftime, although there was some positive news to be found on the scoresheet considering the Cougars were leading in shots, tallying eight to Chaminade’s five. APU’s defense suppressed the Silverswords attack as they attempted to take a first-half lead.
Going into the second half, the Cougars looked to begin the second as they did the first with a quick goal to establish the pace for the rest of the game. However, things didn’t quite go according to plan, as the Silverswords began to show their pressuring ability on APU’s ball handlers. With little room to move, the Cougars were in a constant dogfight for position all over the field.
As time went on though, APU began to spend more and more time on the offensive side of the ball which began to wear down Chaminade’s defense.
“As a goalkeeper, I love when [the ball] is down there so the offense can do their thing,” said junior Isabelle Decker. “We wanted a lot more shots on target today. That was our goal.”
As the half wore on, the Cougars got more and more chances at the net and were getting closer to that leading goal. Chaminade began to scramble in order to keep the Cougars from getting any good shots on target, but APU was relentless.
Going all the way down to the wire, in the 89th minute, Grisham was able to get a shot off that went off the crossbar and immediately down and across the goal line. Proving once again that soccer can be a game of inches, most on the field and watching from the sidelines didn’t even realize the game-winning goal had been scored at first. Following some conversations between referees as well as the Chaminade head coach, the final minute of the game was played and the Cougars pulled away with a close 2-1 victory.
The Cougars will play their next game on Tuesday at 5 p.m. against crosstown rival Biola at the Cougar Soccer Complex. With this being senior night, the Cougars are excited for the opportunity to face a great opponent and score some Cornerstone Cup points for APU.