LA MIRADA, Calif. -- Biola handed Azusa Pacific its first shutout defeat in Golden State Athletic Conference play since 2006, scoring a 1-0 upset over the NAIA’s No. 2-ranked Cougars Saturday afternoon in La Mirada.
Azusa Pacific finished with a 14-10 edge in total shots, and the Cougars took all 7 of the game’s corner kicks. Still, it wasn’t enough to manufacture the equalizer, and an Azusa Pacific offense that entered the game averaging over 3.5 goals per game.
Marco Ruvalcaba scored with just over a minute remaining in the first half, finding the back of the net to break the scoreless tie. Shalom Bako assisted the score, and Biola took the 1-0 edge into halftime despite Azusa Pacific holding an 8-2 edge in shots through the first 45 minutes of the contest. The Cougars put just 1 shot on goal in the second half, and Biola held on for the win.
“This wasn’t our best performance of the year, but a lot of that had to do with the way Biola played,” Cougar head coach Dave Blomquist said. “This was a very good Biola team, and the result today is a reflection of the success they’ve had all season. They defended well, they had some quality in their play, and they were the better team on the day.”
The loss snaps Azusa Pacific’s season-opening 11-game winning streak and drops the Cougars from the ranks of the GSAC’s unbeaten this year. Only 2 teams remain perfect in conference play this season, and Azusa Pacific will end up playing them both just 4 days apart. Biola is 4-0 in GSAC contests, while the Cougars’ Wednesday (Oct. 14) opponent, The Master’s College, sits in first place with a perfect 5-0 mark.
“There’s no doubt that we need to get back to work, straight away,” Blomquist said. “We have a very tough match on Wednesday against The Master’s. I’m sure our guys are looking forward to getting back on the field for what’s sure to be another test and another battle.”
With the loss, Azusa Pacific drops to 11-1 overall, 4-1 GSAC, while Biola improves to 9-1, 4-0 GSAC. The Cougars complete back-to-back visits to the GSAC’s only undefeated teams with Wednesday’s 3 p.m. visit to The Master’s, which shut out Azusa Pacific in a scoreless draw in last year’s regular-season meeting.