AZUSA, Calif.-- Azusa Pacific utilized 19 players in a 6-1 victory over Chaminade (Hawai’i) on Saturday, getting with four goals off the bench, including a pair by sophomore forward Keenan Armbrust.
"We used a lot of guys, and I thought everybody played well in the second half tonight," head coach Dave Blomquist said. "They all have quality and train hard, so to have all of these guys contributing was great."
The Cougars (8-3, 5-1) started the night slowly, but following the eventual game-winning goal in the first half by sophomore forward Keyran Kelly, the flood gates opened as the Cougars scored four goals over a stretch of 37 minutes in the second half.
Kelly, the only starter of the night to score for the Cougars, had the first goal of the second half, finding the back of the net for the second time in the match. On the play Trenton Titus got the ball to Kelly, who dribbled past a pair of defenders before putting the ball inside the near side of the goal to put the Cougars ahead 3-1. In the 68th minute Billy Flores found a bouncing ball in the middle of the box, which he directed on a header just over the reach of goalkeeper Nic Jetter for his first goal of the season.
Just over two minutes later the Cougars poured it on with a fifth goal. Sophomore Dane Johnson got the ball to Tanner Akol, who crossed it into the box for Nick Markham on the right side, who put the ball into the net for his first goal of the season.
"We showed some quality in the second half," Blomquist said. "We were slow to get started but picked up our pace and intensity as the game went on. We had three games this week, so it's tough to have a quick turnaround, which was why it took the guys a little while to get going."
Those four goals were sandwiched by Armbrust's two goals, coming in the 30th and 87th minutes to give him four goals on the season. His first came off an assist from freshman midfielder Colton Lamb, who crossed the ball to Armbrust on the left side of the box, which was drilled into the near side of the goal to give the Cougars the 1-0 lead. The final goal was an unassisted shot from the outside of the box past a diving keeper to finish the scoring for the Cougars' 6-1 victory.
The Silverswords’ (0-4, 0-8) lone goal game in the 37th minute from junior Dayton Sato, who came charging down the left side of the field and lofted a chip shot over the head of keeper Scott Kinney, which tied the game at 1-1 temporarily.
Chaminade had other opportunities to chip away at the Azusa Pacific lead. Twice the ball squirted out of the hands of Kinney, but both times, the Cougars were the first to get to the free ball to hold Chaminade to just one goal in the game. It was the ninth game of the season where the Cougar defense held its opponent to one goal or fewer.
With the win, the Cougars complete the four-game home stand with three wins and improve their conference best record to 5-1. The Cougars will be on the road for the next five games, staying in California with the exception of a trip to Utah to face Dixie State before the home-finale against California Baptist on November 2.
"I was pleased with the performance at home this week," Blomquist said. "We moved the ball well in all of the games, and even in the game we lost, I thought we played well. Now it is going to be tough to get victories on the road and away from home in conference, but we have to continue to do the same things we did at home."
The Cougars will play California Baptist in a rare non-conference bout next Saturday.