LA MIRADA, Calif. -- At first it seemed like a mere coincidence, but at this point, it may actually paint the true story, and it is becoming quite telling.
The fact of the matter is, for Azusa Pacific, if it can score a goal, it will win, as was the case Wednesday when the Cougars scored not once but twice in stealing a 2-0 win from Biola to keep their faint playoffs flickering with 3 matches left.
When taking a closer look at the Cougars’ season thus far, the Cougars are a perfect 9-0 when scoring at least once. When held scoreless, they are 0-6. Therefore it seems that when the Cougars find a way to score, good things happen and wins keep coming.
Today’s win not only avenges last year’s 4-0 loss to the Eagles in Azusa, but it also keeps the Cougars’ playoff hopes alive. With just 3 games remaining against Westmont, Hope International and Point Loma, Azusa Pacific is still in the playoff hunt. The Cougars will need to win all 3 of their remaining matches, 2 of which are at home, and they will need California Baptist and The Master’s to lose 2 of their final matches.
“The guys played great today,” said Azusa Pacific head coach Phil Wolf, who was playing with 3 starters (leading scorer Ian Leibbrandt, Jason Van Broekhuizen and Daniel Kari). “We knocked the ball around and controlled most of the play and played really well from start to finish getting a convincing road victory. Any kind of win on the road is good.”
After a scoreless and well-played first half, freshman Dustin McBride broke through with his second goal of the season just 3 minutes into the second half to give the Cougars their needed goal and a 1-0 lead. Chandler Harris sent a bending corner kick into the box where McBride blasted a header into the net.
Biola began to press forward in hopes of getting the equalizer, but it never came. Julian Cottrell, who is now 6-1 in goal, made 4 saves to record his fourth shutout of the season.
With the Eagles pressing forward, Andrew Hulen, who was making his first career start in place of Leibbrandt, who was out on yellow card suspension, scored his first goal of the season with just 3 seconds remaining.
“There may be something to this fact that if we score we’ll win,” said Wolf. “At the half, I told these guys that we were playing well, just not good enough. It doesn’t matter how well you play if you don’t score. For the past few weeks, we’ve been wondering where’s our reward for playing well? And today it came.”
With the win, Azusa Pacific moves to 9-6 overall, 3-4 GSAC. Biola falls to 10-5, 3-4.