SANTA CLARITA, Calif. -- The NAIA’s No. 23-ranked The Master’s scored a pair of first-half goals off corner kicks, then came within 3 minutes of shutting out the NAIA’s No. 4-ranked Azusa Pacific Wednesday afternoon, as the Mustangs pulled off the 3-1 upset that sent the Cougars to their second straight defeat following a season-opening 11-game winning streak.
Jacob Marchesani took both corner kicks that the Mustangs scored on, placing the ball first on the head of Jon Roberts at the 15-minute mark for a 1-0 lead, then finding the head of Joel Peluffo for what turned out to be the game-winner in the 28th minute.
Sophomore forward Vini Dantas stopped Azusa Pacific’s scoreless streak of nearly 180 minutes with 2:06 remaining in regulation, trimming the final margin to 3-1 and helping Azusa Pacific avoid its first back-to-back shutout defeats in GSAC play since 2006. Dantas’ score was assisted by senior midfielder Reid Baker. The Master’s had pushed the lead to 3-0 midway through the second half, when Matt Cox scored in the 74th minute.
Other than its scoring from corner kick headers, The Master’s mustered just 2 other shots on goal, while Mustangs goalkeeper Kevin Lawson stopped Azusa Pacific’s first 5 shots on goal to give his team its first win over the Cougars since 2003, a 6-game streak that included a scoreless draw in last year’s regular-season meeting.
The Master’s edged Azusa Pacific in total shots, 11-10, as well as in corner kicks, 5-4.
With the loss, Azusa Pacific drops to 11-2 overall, 4-2 in GSAC play, while The Master’s retains the GSAC lead with a perfect 6-0 conference mark and improves to 11-1-1 overall. The Cougars are back in action Saturday (Oct. 17), hosting California Baptist at 1 p.m. at the Cougar Soccer Complex.
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