Women’s soccer ties at Azusa
After two early goals, the Eagles and Cougars held each other scoreless in draw. | Kyle Kohner/THE CHIMES [file]
The beginning of Cornerstone Cup soccer began on Oct. 5 when the Eagles visited the Azusa Pacific University Cougars. With Biola behind 10 points in the Cornerstone Cup after their volleyball loss on Sept. 22, the Eagles needed a victory. The match featured two goals five minutes in and stifling defense by both teams the rest of the way in a 1-1 draw.
The Cougars wasted no time showing the Eagles that they came to compete, when APU midfielder Randi Macadangdang fired a shot past sophomore goalkeeper Christina Rodriguez to give the hosts the lead 92 seconds into the match. Just 20 seconds later, senior forward Samantha Verduzco drew a foul in the penalty box, giving the Eagles a chance to tie the match. Sophomore forward Paula-Marie Labate stepped up to take her third penalty kick of the season, and converted it to tie the match just as quickly as the Cougars took the lead.
The Eagles pressed for a tiebreaking goal for the rest of the first half, but they could not convert on any scoring opportunities. The second half featured even more close opportunities, but neither team could create a dangerous shot to trouble the opposition goalkeeper. That changed in the 59th minute when junior defender Brooke Gower set up to take a free kick about 30 yards away from the goal. Gower took a powerful shot that flew inches over the goal.
As the second half continued, so did the trend of just-missed opportunities, as crosses for Biola just missed their targets. The Eagles nearly broke the deadlock in the 83rd minute when a corner kick from senior midfielder Ashley Ramirez found the head of junior Madyson Brown, but Brown’s header went wide of the goal. Verduzco created another opportunity with seconds left in regulation, but pressure from an Azusa defender forced a bad shot that was easily saved by Cougars goalkeeper Zoey Bauman.
Defense continues to reign
Overtime revealed the true dominance of the Biola women’s soccer program, as the Eagles defense held the Cougars without a shot for each of the two 10-minute overtime sessions. The Eagles themselves created four shots in the overtime period, none better than one by Labate in the 109th minute. After dribbling past multiple Cougar defenders, Labate launched a shot from outside of the 18 yard box that cannoned off of the crossbar and was cleared away by the defense.
Time expired with the score still knotted at one and the teams shared the points, each gaining one PacWest point and five Cornerstone Cup points. The Eagles dominated shots in the match, outshooting the Cougars 17 (seven on goal) to seven (three on goal).
The Eagles defense held strong for the entire match, after allowing the early goal, in large part to the commanding presence of Brown. The junior calmly distributed the ball from the back and dominated her opponents in the air, winning many defensive headers to stop Cougar attacks.
The Eagles move to 6-1-1 on the season (2-1-1 in the PacWest). The team travels to Fresno, Calif. to face Fresno Pacific University on Oct. 7.