Alliant International 1
Azusa Pacific 0
Azusa, Calif. – Jason Kemmerer’s goal in the 23rd minute was all Alliant International needed to steal a key early-season 1-0 victory over host Azusa Pacific in the 17th Annual Cougar Classic Saturday night in Azusa.
The loss is the Cougars’ first of the season, while AIU, the 2001 NAIA Region II champion, picked up a pair of wins in its third Cougar Classic appearance. After dropping their season opener to Fresno Pacific, 3-2, last week in Fresno, the Mountain Lions improve to 2-1.
In the 23rd minute, Kemmerer picked up a loose ball and fired a one-time shot from 20 yards out and into the Cougar net for a 1-0 Mountain Lion lead. That goal allowed the Mountain Lions to sit back and defend, thwarting several Cougar attacks.
“You can’t go a goal down to Alliant and expect to win, because they just sit back with their solid defense, put 10 guys behind the ball and wait for a counter attack,” said Azusa Pacific head coach Phil Wolf. “Our first half was poor, and they (AIU) capitalized. We couldn’t find any kind of rhythm until finally getting a hold of it in the second half, but then it was too little to late.”
The Cougars best opportunity of the night came in the 43rd minute when Ian Leibbrandt beat 2 defenders in the box but fired his point blank shot as he was falling to the ground right at AIU keeper Chris Brunson. Brunson finished with 5 saves
The Cougars had another great opportunity in the 68th minute when Jason Van Broekhuizen and Christopher Roberts connected for a beautiful give-and-go at midfield stripe that created space. Roberts then carried the ball down the field to the 18-yard box and dumped it to the left side for a waiting Daniel Kari, who turned and fired a blistering shot to the far post that forced Brunson to make a diving save to his left.
In the final minute of play, Leibbrandt nearly gave the Cougars the equalizer when he collected Babatunde Ilori’s long ball and one timed it just over the cross bar. Seconds later, Matt Nelson fired a shot right on net that Burson stuffed.
In the opening game of the night, Warner Pacific downed The Master’s College, 1-0, getting a goal in the 56th minute when the Knight’s Kenny Suter buried a failed clearance by Mustang keeper Kevin Howard. The Mustangs outshot the Knights, 27-8, but couldn’t complete any chances.
The Cougars host NCAA Division II UC San Diego Wednesday night at 7 p.m.