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Far From Perfect, But Still Unbeaten

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Published
October 20, 2007
By
Joe Reinsch
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SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- Fresh off a dominating 4-0 victory over the NAIA’s top-ranked Concordia, Azusa Pacific salvaged a 1-1 tie on the road at No. 14-ranked Point Loma Nazarene, which remained in the hunt for the Golden State Athletic Conference title.

A long free kick found its way into the goal for Point Loma Nazarene in the 66th minute, but the Sea Lions could only enjoy their lead over the GSAC’s leader for less than 7 minutes, as senior forward Sven Simon delivered the equalizer on an unassisted goal in the 73rd minute, his ninth score of the season.

The NAIA’s No. 2-ranked Cougars, who have outshot their 2007 foes by nearly a 3-to-1 margin, got a taste of their own medicine Saturday afternoon, as the Sea Lions posted a 20-9 advantage in shots, just the second time this season Azusa Pacific has been out-shot by an opponent. Azusa Pacific’s 9 shots marked just the second time the Cougars have been held to fewer than 10 shots, and the 20 allowed are a season-high.

Cougar goalkeeper James Crawford made 5 of his 7 saves after halftime, surviving an opening half in which 2 of Point Loma Nazarene’s 7 shots hit the frame of the goal but did not go in.

Senior midfielder Brandon Stirm had the first opportunity in overtime, but his shot went wide, and the Cougars could not manage any additional shots over the final 16-and-a-half minutes. Simon and junior defender Jared Karkas were the only Azusa Pacific players to put shots on goal.

With the draw, GSAC leader Azusa Pacific is now 7-0-1 in GSAC play, 14-0-1 overall, and Point Loma Nazarene sits just 3 points behind the Cougars at 6-1-1 GSAC, 12-1-1 overall. The Cougars host Hope International Tuesday afternoon at 3 p.m., and a Cougar win would ensure at least a share of Azusa Pacific’s first GSAC championship since 2004, despite 3 straight national tournament appearances and back-to-back NAIA title game appearances for the Cougars.