Cougars improve but settle for the draw to open PacWest play.
Azusa Pacific welcomed Concordia on Friday evening for the first game of PacWest play. After 90 minutes, the game ended in a deadlock 0-0. It was a tight contest that saw the Cougars dominate the Golden Eagles for the majority of the game. The Cougars were unfortunate to not start off PacWest play with a victory, but it was a positive performance coming off their last loss to Point Loma.
“We Have To Be Road Warriors For These Next 3 Games” – Midfielder Katie Prado Says
The Golden Eagles and Head Coach Chris Gould were coming off two strong wins against Point Loma and a 5-0 win against Biola. While the Cougars were looking to snap a 5 game losing streak to Concordia. Head Coach Brooke Lincoln and her girls lost last weekend to a tough Point Loma side but hoped to get a response here.
Azusa Pacific started off promising, with a high press that forced Concordia into their own half for much of the first half. After just five minutes, there was an apparent handball that went unseen in the box, but no penalty was awarded. Coach Lincoln expressed, “Although I disagree with the decision, I can sort of see why it wasn’t called.. It was early on and would’ve changed the game, but it’s unfortunate.”
The Golden Eagles didn’t show many signs of finding a goal in the first half. It was the Cougars backline that stunted any forward play from the Golden Eagles attackers. Concordia was just able to get off one shot in the first 45, but the Cougars were unable to get ahead before the break.
Lincoln applauded her team by saying, “I’m really proud of the way the girls played tonight coming off the loss against Point Loma” said Lincoln.
“Our Slogan is ‘Out Work Out Love’ And We Wanted That to Show” Says Prado
In the second half, play opened up a lot more between both sides but it was the Cougars who continued to dominate. The formation and backline stayed sharp by forcing the attackers of Concordia offsides several times. After a couple of key saves from Goalkeeper Maddie Williams, the game remained at a deadlock.
It appeared that there was yet another foul in the box not given when #7. Nora Oldmark was shouldered off the ball right in front of the head referee. This one being the more blatant of the two and a big miss. The Cougars kept their composure and stayed on the front foot with great attacking opportunities led by Bethany Tee and Avery Guiel.
Two stars of tonight’s game were midfielder Katie Prado and center back Alexis Fuller. It was Fuller who got the start in the center half of defense and when asked about her performance Fuller was very humble, “ I feel super comfortable playing with Mack [Coleman].. I’ve played center back my whole life and I felt good out there” added Fuller.
After 90 minutes, the game ended in a tight 0-0 draw. Keeping the clean sheet was a plus and ending the hot streak of Concordia is something to build on. The Cougars will now head on the road for the next three games, with all three being very important for PacWest standings.
“Really proud we kept a clean sheet.. And now it’s up to us to demand these types of performances week to week” responded Lincoln when asked about how the girls can feel after a draw and what to look for during these next 3 weeks of travel.
By the Numbers: The Cougars collected six shots on goal compared to the Golden Eagles three and held possession 57% of the time.
The Cougars will now face off at Dominican on Thursday, October 6th. This is the first of three road games to come.