The Azusa Pacific water polo team played 25 games this season before getting the chance to play at home. Tuesday, March 18, the Cougars emerged victorious over St. Frances at the APU home opener, 10-2.
“It’s nice to have some home matches, have some fans, have some fun and win,” head coach Julie Snodgrass said.
The Cougars shut down the Terriers all game. In the first half, Azusa Pacific held St. Frances to zero goals on four attempts. Leading APU’s defense was sophomore goalkeeper Katie Margot with 10 saves, including holding the opposition to converting only one of seven 6-on-5 chances. Of the two goals Margot allowed, one was off a St. Frances 6-on-5 opportunity and the other was right after an SFC 6-on-5. She and the rest of the Cougars put together a suffocating defensive effort in their first home win.
“They had to dump the ball a couple of times, so we were able to force them to give up possessions,” Snodgrass said. “That gives us more possessions when they’re not taking opportunities of their own.”
On the offensive side, APU produced a balanced scoring effort. Junior driver Lora Donaldson, sophomore utility player Alynn Reade and junior utility player Angelina Casaneda were eager to take the opportunities Snodgrass referred to by earning two goals each.
Senior driver Megan Minekime, sophomore utility player Maryann Slama and junior utility player Courtney Folsom also each scored a goal, completing the 10 goals earned by APU.
The Cougars went two-for-six on 6-on-5 opportunities, taking advantage of the one-player advantage on two of their scores.
Another testimony to the Cougars’ aggressive play Tuesday was their eight ejections. Despite these ejections, they maintained their heightened level of intensity against the Terriers and allowed only one goal with a player disadvantage.
With the win, APU earned its 12th win of the season to inch its record closer to the .500 mark (12-14). The team will head to Fresno, Calif., on Friday for its first conference matchup of the season, facing Fresno Pacific.