MISHAWAKA, Ind.--The Azusa Pacific men’s soccer team continued its torrid start, finding the back of the net three times for its fifth win in a row with a 3-0 shutout of Bethel College (Ind.) on Saturday . The Cougars (5-1) got goals from Oktay Bulut, Nathan Nienhuis, and Steven Shiokari, while junior keeper Joe Geletko held the Pilots scoreless for his second straight shutout and third of the season. Azusa Pacific improved to 2-0 on its brief road trip after beating St Xavier (Ill.) 5-0 on Thursday.
“It’s two great results for us on this trip to the Midwest against two good teams,” said Head Coach Dave Blomquist. “I’m very pleased to come away with two wins, more experience as a group, and experience playing far from home.”
The Cougars, who have had no issues scoring goals so far this season, have strung together five straight multi-score games and have averaged more three goals per game in that span.
But despite the team’s offensive ability, Azusa Pacific had trouble getting going early on. The Cougars had four first half shots (one on goal), and went into the break knotted at zeros. The theme continued, in the second until Bulut got tangled up with the opposing keeper 15 minutes into the half. Bethel ‘s Cody Troyer tripped the sophomore forward on the right side of the box, resulting in a penalty kick for Azusa Pacific. Bulut got the nod, and then banged it past Troyer in the upper right corner for the first score of the match in the 61st minute.
At 69:35 the Cougars added another as Shiokari and Carlos Garcia-Partida connected after passing it back and forth before Shiokari darted through the middle to receive the ball and slot it by Troyer for his first goal of the season.
Less than ten minutes later Nienhuis countered from the left side, found Bulut, who passed it back and then scored inside the right post from 18 yards out; ending an 18 minute span that saw the Cougars jump ahead by three.
The Pilots would get off two additional shots, but couldn’t muster a comeback as Geletko extended his shutout streak to 210 minutes.
Although Bulut continues to lead the team in goals (5), Azusa Pacific displayed a balanced attack. On the two-game trip six different players registered goals, while six separate Cougars have tallied assists.
“I think it speaks to the quality of our players…we can get goals from different guys,” said Blomquist. “It’s a testament to the way that we want to keep passing the ball. They play unselfish; different scorers are a byproduct of that.”
After starting 5-1 the team has just one non-conference match-up left before opening GSAC play. Azusa Pacific hosts UC Santa Cruz on Saturday and then welcomes Point Loma Nazarene to the Cougar Soccer Complex on Oct. 1 for a 4:00 p.m. start.
Highlights From The Match