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Closing Time

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Photo by Ken Williams

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Published
November 9, 2013
By
Chris Baker
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SAN DIEGO, Calif.-- The Azusa Pacific men’s soccer team closed the regular season on a high note, shutting out Point Loma in a 1-0 victory to finish with a 10-2 mark in Pacific West Conference play. The Cougars used a first half score from Trenton Titus, before holding the Sea Lions scoreless over the balance of the match to register the team’s seventh shutout of the season.

“Overall I thought we played well in the first half, and really we created chances in both halves. They came out and were aggressive and our guys came out and had a ton of energy and worked hard all afternoon,” said head coach Dave Blomquist. “To finish at 10-2 in a conference like this is a remarkable accomplishment for our guys. With the amount of travel and the quality of opponents that we have, I’m really impressed.”

Titus, playing in his final regular season game with the Cougars, put Azusa Pacific (14-4) on the board in the 27th minute, scoring off a Keenan Armbrust rebound for the game’s lone goal. On the play Steven Shiokari found Armbrust at the top of the box. He then sent a low lying shot toward the goal, which the keeper couldn’t wrangle before Titus slid in for the score. Azusa Pacific out shot Point Loma (7-8-3, 5-5-3) 17-8 in the match, and placed five shots on goal.

Junior keeper Chip Cox finished with four saves, for his third clean sheet of the season. Colton Lamb and Shiokari each finished with three shots on the afternoon, while Armburst placed two of his three shots on goal.

Azusa Pacific will finish atop the PacWest standings with 30 points, although Fresno Pacific, which faces Academy of Art today, owns the tiebreaker after defeating the Cougars 3-2 earlier this season. The Sunbirds clinched the conference championship with a 3-1 win over the Urban Knights Saturday afternoon.

Azusa Pacific will enjoy a week off before competing in the NCCAA Regional championships.

“I feel like we’ve been improving all year, so we’re ready for the postseason. We’re playing well. We just want to be healthy for the playoffs. At this time nobody is 100 percent, so if we can be as healthy as possible we’ll be ready for a good postseason showing,” said Blomquist.

Two of the four qualifying teams have not yet been announced. The Cougars will host a semifinal match at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 16, with the winner advancing to the regional final on Nov. 21, which will be against the winner of the Fresno Pacific regional semi.