AZUSA, Calif.-It wasn’t who you thought it would be or how you thought it would happen, but for No. 12 Azusa Pacific it couldn’t have been better.
Henry Ortlip’s second career score knotted the match at 1’s before freshman forward Carlos Garcia-Partida’s first career goal lifted No. 12 Azusa Pacific over No. 8 Oklahoma Baptist on the second day of the Cougar Classic.
“We don’t get too concerned with where a team is ranked, but rather the quality of the opponent,” said Head Coach David Blomquist. “Oklahoma Baptist is a perennial powerhouse…they’re a good team [so] it was really nice.”
The Bison struck first in the 21st minute as Victor Costa slid the ball right past Joe Geletko to hit the back of the net.
OBU almost jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but Robert James blocked a would-be score to keep the match within reach before Lucas Young nearly tied it up with a header that barely sailed over the cross bar off a corner from Michael Sahagian.
Young, a senior All-GSAC defender, had three shots on the day, including a beautiful header off a corner that was wiped away as he was whistled for a yellow card. The Cougars tallied five corner kicks and notched 15 shots on the day; a far cry from the five they had on Thursday.
Azusa Pacific got its first score at 43:12 as Oktay Bulut centered it to Ortlip, who was shockingly open. The senior paused, and then kicked it past the Bison keeper.
“It was cloud nine, it felt good,” said Ortlip. “I was going to back heel it, but then I just turned and nobody hit me, so I saw the corner and as soon as I saw it I knew it was a goal. It felt good, I joke with the guys, ‘you give me 15 minutes I’ll score.”
The goal was Ortlip’s second of his career.
“For Henry, who has put in a lot of work here at Azusa Pacific, is a team guy, and has great spirit for the group, to give the team a lift, and get a goal to put us back in the game is pretty special,” said Blomquist.
After back-and-forth possessions, in which both teams got a little chippy, Garcia-Partida gave the Cougars the eventual game winner with his first collegiate score. The freshman took the ball, juked past a defender and poked it right past the out stretched arms of Oklahoma Baptist’s Marcus Oliveira.
“The important thing is that it was a game-winner,” said Garcia-Partida. “We all looked good out there today.”
Azusa Pacific was able to stave off several Oklahoma Baptist attacks to win the team’s first match of the season.
Blomquist was pleased with his offense as the Cougars bounced back from being outshot by 12 on Thursday.
“The guys were more ready to play today. They showed a little more desire for the game,” said the third-year head coach. “It means a lot. To be able to get goals from multiple players is great…it’s tough for teams to defend when you’re getting goals from different sources.”
Highlights from the match