EL CAJON, Calif. -- The NAIA’s No. 24-ranked Azusa Pacific collected a pair of early scores and settled in for 65 scoreless minutes in a 2-0 shutout victory over San Diego Christian Saturday afternoon. The road win was the Cougars’ second straight shutout victory, coming on the heels of Tuesday’s 4-0 win over No. 2-ranked Fresno Pacific.
Senior defender Jared Karkas converted Azusa Pacific’s first shot into a 1-0 lead, scoring unassisted in the seventh minute. The score was Karkas’ fourth goal of the season and the seventh of his career, and it was his first career game-winning goal.
Sophomore forward Alex Earl scored his fourth goal in the past 4 games with a 25th-minute strike, taking the assist from sophomore midfielder Brett Taylor, who has scored or assisted goals in each game of the Cougars’ current 4-game winning streak.
Azusa Pacific created 17 more shots over the game’s final 65 minutes, none of which found the back of the net. San Diego Christian goalkeeper Chris Kleppe made 9 of his 11 saves after surrendering the 2 Cougar goals, and the Hawks finished on the short end of a 24-4 margin in total shots. Cougar junior goalkeeper Tyler Stromberg, making his second start of the season, made 3 saves while collecting his fourth career shutout.
The win lifts Azusa Pacific to 2-0 in GSAC play, 5-2-2 overall, while San Diego Christian drops to 0-3 GSAC, 2-6 overall. A visit to Westmont on Wednesday, Oct. 8 is the second of a 3-game road stretch for the Cougars.