FRESNO, Calif.-- Last year when Azusa Pacific and Fresno Pacific met the Sunbirds burned the Cougars for three first half goals en route to a 3-1 win. In the team’s first meeting as Pacific West Conference foes it was the Cougars who struck first, but the result would prove to be the same as Fresno Pacific (9-4-1; 7-3) recorded a trio of second half goals to register its second straight 3-1 victory over Azusa Pacific (9-4; 7-3).
The Cougars held Fresno Pacific’s high-powered offense, which has averaged more than five goals per game during its six-match winning streak, scoreless in the first half on six shots, but couldn’t stop an offensive flurry over the final 45 minutes. The Sunbirds tallied eight second half shots, and put all but two of them on target.
The Cougars opened the scoring in the first half when Steven Shiokari made an impressive play, beating multiple Sunbird defenders before crossing the ball to Carlos Garcia-Partida on the far side of the box. The sophomore then finished for his sixth goal of the season, giving Azusa pacific a much-needed lead against the potent Fresno Pacific attack.
In the second half the Sunbirds broke through, notching the equalizer 11 minutes in, before taking a 2-1 edge at the 69 minute mark. Fresno Pacific then padded its lead in the 84th minute, putting the match out of reach to end Azusa Pacific’s four-game winning streak.
The Sunbirds outshot the Cougars 14-8, and put seven shots on frame compared to only three for Azusa Pacific, which all came in the opening 45 minutes. Alvaro Nogales recorded two goals, pushing his season total to 11, while Bruno Pessoa nabbed his eighth of the season.
The Cougars will have a chance to bounce back when they travel to Belmont for a match against Notre Dame de Namur at noon on Saturday.