RIVERSIDE, Calif. -- Azusa Pacific fell out of a group of 4 1-loss teams in Golden State Athletic Conference play, surrendering its share of the conference lead with a 1-0 loss to the NAIA’s No. 15-ranked California Baptist Saturday afternoon in Riverside.
The win was the Lancers’ first in over a decade against Azusa Pacific, and it clinched a winning GSAC campaign for California Baptist for just the third time since 1990, when the Lancers shared their program’s only conference championship.
The Cougars took 9 first-half shots, only 2 of which were on goal, but California Baptist broke through for the game’s only score with just over 5 minutes to play before halftime. After the Cougars were unable to clear away an attack from the top of the box, the Lancers’ Brian Ahn found himself 2-on-1 along the right side of the box. Ahn played the ball ahead to lead Osvaldo Bastida to the touch line for a cross that Cole Schmit buried in the back of the net to give California Baptist a 1-0 lead.
That goal was all the stout Lancer defense would need, as the Cougars managed just 4 shots the rest of the game and were shut out for the first time this season. Making his first GSAC start of the season, California Baptist goalkeeper Dan Kelly took care of the few shots that made it past his back line, finishing with 3 saves for the cleansheet.
Junior forward Vinicius Dantas fired a game-high 7 shots, combining with freshman midfielder Oktay Bulut who had 3 shots, for 10 of the Cougars’ 13 shots in the game. Sophomore goalkeeper Joe Geletko made 2 saves, 1 in each half.
For California Baptist, it was an historic performance, as it tied the program’s season wins (10) and shutouts (8) records. The Lancers, now 12-2 overall with a 6-1 conference record, have blanked 5 of 7 GSAC foes this year heading into a final 3-game stretch against 3 of the league’s bottom 4 teams.
Azusa Pacific’s season-long 5-game winning streak is over, dropping the Cougars to 12-3 overall and 5-2 in GSAC play. Up next are 2 road games next week against Westmont and San Diego Christian before Azusa Pacific wraps up the regular season on Wed., Oct. 27, when it hosts Fresno Pacific.