SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.-- Sophomore forward Keenan Armbrust put the Azusa Pacific men’s soccer team up 1-0 in the 37th minute and the Cougars were able to make it hold, winning their fifth consecutive match of the season with a 1-0 defeat of Academy of Art on a rainy Saturday afternoon. The goal was Armbrust’s second of the season as Azusa Pacific opened Pacific West Conference play with two straight road wins..
“It was a very tight game throughout the 90 minutes,” said head coach Dave Blomquist. “It was one of those games where really well-worked plays are tough to come by because of the conditions.”
Armbrust’s score came in the 36th minute off a back-heel pass in the box came from Oktay Bulut. The Cougars took 11 shots, five of which were on target.
“That was a class goal. Oktay had a moment of brilliance to back-heel the ball to Armbrust. Keenan’s finish was critical ... he hit it hard just inside of the far post. It was a great goal and we’ll be expecting more out of him,” said Blomquist.
Armbrust tallied six goals last season, and his eight career goals rank second among active Azusa Pacific players.
The Cougars tabbed their second consecutive shutout in PacWest play, this time with Sr. Jeff Dunn in goal. The keeper played all 90 minutes and blanked the Urban Knights with six saves, including a crucial stop in the in the 89th minute in his first start of the season.
“We’re fortunate to have a lot of quality in the goalkeeper position - to be able to give Chip Cox a break and give it to Jeff, who is a more-than competent keeper, says a lot about our depth. He was outstanding today,” said Blomquist.
It was a competitive match where 30 fouls were called and two yellow cards issued, one of which went to Steven Shiokari in the final minute of the match.
“It was a small field and so there’s going to be a lot more chance for tackles. So it was a physical game, but I felt like both teams held their composure,” said Blomquist.
Azusa Pacific will return to the Cougar Soccer Complex next week when it takes on BYU-Hawaii on Thursday night.