Concordia (Ore.) 1
ARCATA, Calif. -- Wins don’t get much more golden than this, and for senior defender Babatunde Ilori, they don’t get much sweeter.
Ilori, the only 4-year Cougar on the roster, headed in the game-winning, golden goal 8 minutes into overtime to lift Azusa Pacific to a 2-1 non-conference, neutral site win over Concordia (Ore.) on the campus of Humboldt State in Arcata, Calif.
The goal is just the second of Ilori’s career. He last scored Oct. 18, 2000 as a true freshman.
The win is the Cougars’ third in a row overall and second on a key early-season Northern California road trip. Wednesday, the Cougars (4-2) downed Region II rival Notre Dame de Namur, 4-0. The Cougars close out the swing with a non-conference tilt against the NAIA’s No. 9-ranked Simon Fraser (B.C.) tomorrow at Noon.
“The goal is to play about as well as we can tomorrow and see if we can get it done,” said Azusa Pacific head coach Phil Wolf. “We’re going to be hard-pressed to get the result with SFU not playing today and it being our third game in 4 days. We played OK today, obviously well enough to win.”
The Cougars barely escaped with the win as Concordia had a first-rate opportunity to put the game away with an open chance early in overtime. But a point-blank Cavalier shot deflected off the crossbar and the Cougars survived with a clearance.
Minutes later, sophomore Chandler Harris gathered the ball on the right side after a corner kick and whipped it into a crowd of people at the far post. Ilori rose above the crowd and connected on a solid header into the net for the game-winner.
Concordia forced overtime with a goal in the 57th minute, cleaning up a loose ball off a throw-in to the near post.
Near the end of the first half, the Cougars struck first when sophomore All-GSAC Ian Leibbrandt beat his defender on the right side and barreled down to the touch-line. Liebbrandt then sent a perfect cross to sophomore Richie Craven, who was in the box. Craven, a left-footer, one-timed it with his right foot into the net for his third goal of the year.
Sophomore GK Morgan Cathey collected 4 saves, including a save of a Cavalier penalty kick early in the first half to keep the game scoreless.
The Cougars were out-shot, 12-5, including a 3-1 deficit in the overtime period.