AZUSA, Calif.-- After dropping back-to-back road matches the Azusa Pacific soccer team found comfort in a familiar place, defeating Point Loma 2-0 to improve to 8-0 at the Cougar Soccer Complex this season. Azusa Pacific, which is just 2-5-1 on the road this year, got a pair of second half goals and a shutout from Joe Geletko to post its 10th win of the year while improving to 8-4 in Pacific West Conference Play.
Through the first 45 minutes the Cougars (10-5-1) failed to distinguish themselves from the last place Sea Lions (2-12; 1-9), matching them shot-for-shot with Point Loma going into the break with a 4-3 edge in shots on goal. But in the second half the Cougars outshot the Sea Lions 10-4, getting the game-winning goal from Tanner Akol before Jeremy Bishop padded the lead with his third score of the season.
“I thought the first half was pretty even. Most of it was played in the middle third, and each team had just a few chances,” said head coach Dave Blomquist.
“In the second half we came alive. We moved Carlos Garcia Partida and Jeremy to center mid and that changed a lot for us. They bring a ton of quality and changed the game for us in the second half and led the way. I think rest of the guys brought more energy and desire in the second half, which allowed us to play the way we want to play.”
In the first half the Sea Lions came out strong, earning a free kick just outside the box. The ensuing shot, however, was blocked by the Cougars’ line. Two possessions later Point Loma earned its best chance of the night when Dylan Wingrove stole an errant Cougar pass and unloaded a shot from 25 yards out, just pushing it to the right of the goal. In the 32nd minute Azusa Pacific had its first good opportunity wiped away when Keyran Kelly’s goal was waived off after a close offsides call.
In the second half the Cougars looked like a different team from the opening whistle. Azusa Pacific recorded seven of the first eight shots, and created a great chance in the 63rd minute. On the play Kelly beat the defense and got one-on-one with the keeper along the right side of the box. Kelly attempted to slot it past Carter Phillips, but the goalie just barely got his left foot on it to notch his biggest of seven saves.
Five minutes later Azusa Pacific finally broke through when Michael Sahagian found Akol deep in the box off a set piece, who then headed it in far post from the left side for his first collegiate goal. The Cougars had a good chance to add to their lead in the 72nd minute when Leonardo Grigg had a wide open shot attempt go off his foot and sail far left of the goal.
At the 76 minute mark Bishop put Azusa Pacific ahead 2-0 on a fast break. On the play Kelly dribbled down the right side and dumped it to Bishop on the left side of the box. Bishop then dribbled around the keeper and scored his third goal of the year to make it a 2-0 match.
Following the goal the Sea Lions registered just two shots as Geletko tabbed his second shutout of the year with four saves. Azusa Pacific tallied 17 shots, 10 in the second half, in its second to last home game of the year. The Cougars will host Dixie State (Utah) on Saturday afternoon before the regular season concludes with a road match at Dixie State on Nov. 1.