The back and forth match started off slow and chippy, with one yellow card being handed out by the 8th minute to each team for rough challenges. Biola outplayed Azusa Pacific in the first half with 13 shots towards goal to the Cougars five.
Azusa Pacific did, however, get most of their shots on frame, including one in the 22nd minute when junior midfielder John Tribbey megged the defender and crossed the ball to Bishop, who took a touch and fired a shot on goal, but Biola keeper Aaron Fenlason made a diving grab to his left to keep the scored tied at 0-0. Six minutes later Bishop got another chance on a through ball by Oktay Bulut past the right back, and sent his shot toward the far side post. However, Fenalson proved true again and made the diving save to his left once more.
Biola got its first real scoring chance when Eagle forward Marco Ruvalcaba broke through on goal for a one-on-one breakaway with junior keeper Joe Geletko, but Geletko got a hand to it and pushed the shot aside and Cougar defender Heroshi Metzker cleared the ball out of danger.
The Eagles kept pushing and finally broke the tie when Biola midfielder Dylan Wingrove ripped a shot from 25 yards out after a deflected header from the box came straight to him. Wingrove put the shot into the left upper V, beating the diving Geletko in the 40th minute to send Azusa Pacific down 1-0 going into half.
Even with the lead, Biola’s play picked up in the second half right away, testing the Cougar defense more and more. In the 55th minute, Eagle forward Daniel Chew running downfield, cut back twice on two Azusa Pacific defenders and bent in a shot to his right, but Geletko comfortably dove to his right and held onto the ball.
The Cougars, down 1-0, finally picked their play up and the momentum began to swing in favor of Azusa Pacific. Senior midfielder Davis Delamarter had two different opportunities to score in the 72nd and 77th minute, sending his headers just over the bar or wide left.
Just a few minutes later, Davis sent a ball into the box, where Bishop took a few touches and cut back on two defenders Biola defenders, placing his shot right over Fenlason to tie the game in the 88th minute and put the Cougars back in the game.
“It was a wonderful ball from Davis, I knew he’d get it to me. I was just hoping for that good touch past the defender, and then there was another defender so I cut back again, and then saw the keeper and put it where he wasn’t,” said Bishop about the game-tying play.
With the game headed to extra time, head coach Dave Blomquist reminded his guys to “to keep pushing and continue how they finished the last half and continue to roll with the momentum after Bishop’s goal.”
Just two minutes into extra time, a collective gasp from the Biola crowd was heard when Davis sent a header which would have won the game if it hadn’t been wide right and just inches away from the far-side post. Biola pushed back just four minutes later with a rush of its own when Wingrove blasted a shot in the 96th minute, from the same distance he scored from earlier, about a foot over the crossbar. Geletko being in the right position, refrained from touching the high shot ball to prevent a set piece for the Eagles.
In the 98th minute, junior midfielder Michael Sahagian carried the ball downfield and was tripped up and drew a foul right by the Azusa Pacific sideline. From about 40 yards out, Sahagian whipped a ball into the box where Markovich put a head onto it and put the ball in the back of the net to win the rivalry game.
“Honestly, I thought he was going to shoot it but you know our team, thinking team-first, just looked for us in the box and I got up and put a head on it.” When asked about scoring a game winner against Biola of all teams, Markovich said, “It’s amazing. You saw how they reacted. They all tackled me. It’s a great feeling.”
Blomquist was excited about the win stating, “Every single year it’s an insane game. In the six years I’ve been here something crazy always happens. We started a little slow but once it got going we just continued what we’ve been doing all year. We keep fighting to the end.”
Blomquist also spoke of the two underclassman goal-scorers. “Jeremy and Jordan have been playing well for us and finally got paid off for all their hard work. I’m excited to see what’s to come for them and where they’re headed,” he said.
With the thrilling overtime victory, Azusa Pacific continues to 9-2-1 overall and 3-1-1 in GSAC play, while Biola falls to 7-4-2 overall and 2-3-0 in conference play. The Cougars will take on Vanguard University next Wednesday in Costa Mesa.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE MATCH