AZUSA, Calif. -- One hundred and ten minutes of soccer couldn't produce a winner, so Azusa Pacific and the NAIA's No. 19-ranked Fresno Pacific settled for a 1-1 double overtime tie Tuesday in a crucial late-season GSAC match.
The tie, added together with Point Loma's 3-2 loss at Biola, and The Master's 2-0 loss at Cal Baptist, inches the Cougars even closer to a potential playoff spot with just 3 games to go. The Cougars have yet to face Concordia, The Master's and Christian Heritage and is currently ahead of Point Loma (and owns the tiebreaker with the Crusaders) for the fifth and final playoff spot.
Jared Dugger gave the Sunbirds a 1-0 lead in the 32nd minute when Hector Santillan beat the Cougar defense to the touch-line and sent the ball back into the box to a waiting Dugger, who put the ball away. The Cougars got the equalizer in the 73rd minute when Ian Leibbrandt carried the ball into the box and weaved his way past the Sunbird defense. Leibbrandt's shot went right at Sunbird GK Nick Hammond, but it deflected right back to his feet, from which he sneaked it past Hammond and into the net.
Cougar GK Morgan Cathey was brilliant all night long, making 8 saves, including one in the waning seconds of regulation when a Sunbird header glanced off the post and stayed on the goal line until Cathey smothered it to force overtime. He had a another beautiful save in the second overtime when Fresno Pacific's Eddie Gutierrez broke free with a one-on-one, but Cathey stopped the shot to preserve the tie.
With the tie, Azusa Pacific moves to 6-5-3 overall, 3-2-2 GSAC. Fresno Pacific is 9-4-2, 5-0-2.