AZUSA, Calif. -- Less than 30 seconds after a second-half equalizer from freshman midfielder Jeremy Bishop, the NAIA’s No. 7-ranked Azusa Pacific surrendered Kansas Wesleyan’s game-winner in a 2-1 defeat to the visiting Coyotes Saturday afternoon at the Cougar Soccer Complex.
After a scoreless first half with an 8-4 advantage in shots, the Cougars seized the early second-half momentum, firing off the first 5 shots out of the halftime break, including a strike off the crossbar from junior forward Vinicius Dantas.
However, Kansas Wesleyan’s Alex Chavez broke the scoreless tie in the 63rd minute, scoring for the seventh time in Kansas Wesleyan’s 4 games this season. Chavez beat the last line of Azusa Pacific defense to a ball played over the top by Jorge Oseguera, burying the strike from 17 yards out to give the Coyotes a 1-0 advantage.
Just 6 minutes later, a Cougar cross into the box initially failed to meet its intended target, but Kansas Wesleyan was unable to clear it. The ball fell to Bishop on the left side, where he promptly swept it into the net to tie the game at 1-1.
Shortly after the ensuing kickoff, Chavez led Jacob DeLeon past the Cougar defense once more, drawing sophomore goalkeeper Joe Geletko well off his line to challenge DeLeon along the left side of the box. DeLeon slotted the ball underneath Geletko’s right side, and the retreating defenders were unable to clear it off the line, giving Kansas Wesleyan a 2-1 lead with the crucial momentum-killing goal.
The Cougars had 5 more shots over the final 20 minutes, including 2 on goal, but Coyotes goalkeeper Diego Millan stopped them both for 2 of his 6 total saves. On the day, Azusa Pacific generated 3 times as many shots as Kansas Wesleyan (21-7), but the disparity in shots on goal was just 7-3 and no Cougar put more than 1 shot on goal. The Coyotes held the edge in corner kicks, 7-1.
With the loss, Azusa Pacific drops to 5-1 overall, while Kansas Wesleyan drops to 3-1, with its lone defeat a 5-2 loss to its other GSAC opponent during its West Coast swing, California Baptist.
The Cougars return to action with a pair of games Sept. 17-18 at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Ariz., where they take on Rocky Mountain (Mont.) and Embry-Riddle to wrap up the non-conference portion of the 2010 schedule.