Warner Pacific (Ore.) 0
Azusa, Calif. – Azusa Pacific opened its 2003 campaign with a 4-0 drubbing of NAIA-member Warner Pacific (Ore.) in the second game of the 17th Annual Cougar Classic in Azusa, Calif., and both team’s season-openers.
The Cougars got 2 goals apiece from sophomore forwards Richie Craven and Ian Leibbrandt, and 3 assists from freshman Donny Dequine to put the Knights away. Leibbrandt, an All-GSAC selection as a freshman last year, also recorded 2 assists.
“This was a typical season-opener, and our youth showed tonight,” said third-year head coach Phil Wolf, who moves to 3-0 in season-openers. “We could have scored more goals had we moved the ball more. We failed to move the ball and play off each other. Three of our goals were off set pieces and we got just one in the run of play. Hopefully that will improve over time, and we’ll be able to create more opportunities in the flow of play.”
Craven, a transfer from NCAA Division I-power Furman (S.C.), gave the Cougars a 1-0 lead in the 13th minute. Dequine fired a throw-in towards the net that Leibbrandt flicked on to Craven who slipped the ball just under the crossbar on a one-time effort with his left foot.
Less than 10 minutes later the same trio connected for a second time on a near-identical play when Craven scored off another Dequine throw in that Leibbrandt flicked to a waiting Craven.
“It’s good to start the season off with a 4-0 win,” said Craven, who was a reserve on a Furman team that advanced to the NCAA Division I Sweet 16 last year, losing to eventual runner-up Stanford. “It’s good for our confidence and morale in the early going.”
In the final 5 minutes of the opening half, Liebbrandt collected a loose ball just on the Cougars’ offensive half of the midfield stripe, beat his defender 1-on-1, then carried the ball nearly 45 yards down the right side until slipping it to the far post for his first goal of the season and a 3-0 Cougar lead at the half.
Leibbrandt then concluded the Cougar scoring barrage with his second goal of the game, and the third goal of the night off a Dequine throw in.
“Those 2 (Leibbrandt and Craven) are dangerous up top,” said Wolf. “They’re should be able to score their fare share of goals this year.”
Sophomore GK Julian Cottrell needed to make just 2 saves to record his first shutout win between the Cougar pipes. The Knights had just 4 shots, and had their best opportunity to score in the waning seconds of the first half when a Jaron Jacobsen shot was headed past Cottrell and to an open net until junior MF Jason Van Broekhuizen cleared it off the line.
In the opening game of the Cougar Classic, Alliant International of San Diego, Calif., downed The Master’s College, 2-0. The Mountain Lions used an own-goal less than 2 minutes into the game to take a 1-0 lead then gained a 2-goal advantage 10 minutes later and used a stifling defense to close the game.
The Master’s and Warner Pacific play in the 5 p.m. game tomorrow night, followed by Azusa Pacific and Alliant International at 7:30 p.m.