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Seventh Heaven

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Photo by Nicole James
Carlos Garcia-Partida scored his fifth goal as the Cougars won their seventh straight.

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Published
October 1, 2011
By
Tyler Humphries
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AZUSA, Calif.-- The Azusa Pacific men’s soccer team extended its match win streak to seven, while the Cougars pushed their consecutive shutout streak to four in a 1-0 defeat of Point Loma Nazarene in the 2011 Golden State Athletic Conference opener. The match’s lone goal was scored in the 45th minute by freshman forward Carlos Garcia-Partida with just 23 seconds left to play in the first half.

“Getting a win to start off GSAC is great,” said Head Coach Dave Blomquist. “It is one of the toughest conferences in the NAIA and it is a very unforgiving conference. If you don’t show up to play well, anybody in this conference is going to beat you.”

Approaching the end of the half John Tribbey sent a long ball into Point Loma Nazarene's box. Oktay Bulut won the ball out of the air and knocked it to Garcia-Partida 12 yards out from goal. After gathering it with his first touch the freshman slotted it past a diving Carter Phillips for the score.

“Carlos is a very good player,” said Blomquist. “He’s got a lot of quality for what he does with the ball and also has a great sense for goal in the box. He seems to know where the ball is going to be and he gets to the right place at the right time quite often. He’s kind of got an instinct for the game that comes naturally and not a lot of players have that.”

The Cougars outshot the Sea Lions 21-9. Six of Azusa Pacific’s 21 shots were on goal, while three of Point Loma’s six shots were on target. It was the first time the Sea Lions had been shutout in 10 matches, dating back to Oct. 20, 2010 of last season. The match ended a three-match winning streak for the Sea Lion’s.

“I was pleased with the amount we had the ball and the amount that we moved into the attack,” said Blomquist. “Getting goals can be a very tough thing at any level. Even at the highest level. Hopefully just a little more sharpness on top and we can get a little more goals.”

Azusa Pacific’s defense has not allowed a goal in over 400 minutes of play. During that span, the defense has only allowed 13 shots on goal for an average of 3.25 shots on goal a match.

“Our defending as a unit has been very good,” said Blomquist. “It is not really any one thing either, but all aspects of the defense are performing well. Joe [Geletko] in the goal has been really sharp and has been making big saves. He’s been organizing the group very well also. We’ve just made a commitment as a team to get clean sheets. We did not give away many free kicks or throw-ins or corner kicks. We’ve focused on keeping control of the game.”

Garcia-Partida’s goal in the 45th minutes was his fifth of the season, making him second on the team in points with 12. James received his first assist of the season on the goal that proved to be the difference maker.

Point Loma keeper Phillips finished with five saves on the day, while allowing just one goal. Azusa Pacific keeper Joe Geletko finished with three saves on the day in his fifth clean sheet of the season.

With the win, No. 6 Azusa Pacific improved to a record of 7-1, (1-0 GSAC). The Sea Lions fell to a 6-2-1 overall record, (0-1 GSAC).

Highlights From The Match