FULLERTON, Calif.-- Azusa Pacific wanted to extend its stay in the GSAC, if only for a few extra minutes.
Jeremy Bishop scored the golden goal in the 98th minute to lift the NAIA’s 11-th ranked Cougars to a 1-0 overtime win over Hope International.
“The first half we were trying to find our way, so as the match progressed we kept getting better,” said Head Coach Dave Blomquist. “As the second half wore on the game opened up. Both teams had chances and we took advantage of one in overtime.”
Bishop scored the difference-maker after Lucas Young’s header off a Michael Sahagian tipped off the keeper’s hands and deflected off the bar, setting up the sophomore midfielder for a gimme from the doorstep.
The Cougars recorded three shots in overtime compared to none for the Royals. Joe Geletko finished with four saves on the day to tally his ninth shutout of the season; just three back from the program’s single-season record. The keeper will have a chance to post some more clean sheets in the GSAC tournament, which begins on Tuesday.
“We’re looking forward to the tournament,” said Blomquist as his team prepares for the school’s final competition as a GSAC school. “It will be eight very good teams and the GSAC tournament is one of the most difficult conference tournaments in the NAIA. We’re looking forward to the opportunity.”
With Saturday’s win the Cougars (12-2-2) improved to 6-1-2 in conference play, earning the No. 2 seed in the tournament. For their efforts they’ll have a rematch with Hope in the quarterfinals on Wednesday at 2 p.m.
“It was a great conference season by the guys. Two ties and one loss against three really good teams,” said Blomquist.