AZUSA, Calif. -- The NAIA's No. 2-ranked Azusa Pacific was held scoreless for just the second time this season, suffering a 1-0 upset to No. 11-ranked Vanguard Saturday afternoon.
In the 18th minute, Daniel Ybarra picked off a pass near the top of the box as the Cougar defense attempted to shift into an attack. Ybarra settled it and sent it past Cougar goalkeeper James Crawford’s right side to give the Lions an early 1-0 lead. Vanguard goalkeeper William Johnson preserved the lead through the remainder of the half, making 4 saves in the half to take the 1-goal advantage into the second half.
The Cougars finished with a 12-9 shots advantage for the game, but it was Vanguard who had the best chance of finding the net in the second half. Brian Vestal sent a low shot to Crawford’s left to the far post, but sophomore Jared Karkas was hustling back and cleared it off its path towards the net and out of danger.
Junior Brandon Stirm's shot over the goal in the 84th minute was the final opportunity generated by the Cougars, as the compact Vanguard defense held Azusa Pacific without a shot for nearly the final 7 minutes of the game.
Junior Steven Lenhart finished with 4 shots, all saved by Vanguard goalkeeper William Johnson, to pace the Cougar attack. Johnson finished with 6 saves to earn the cleansheet, his fifth shutout of the season.
With the loss, Azusa Pacific drops to 2-1-1 in Golden State Athletic Conference play, 7-2-1 overall. Vanguard, which had gone winless in its last 12 games in Azusa against the Cougars, improves to 3-1 in GSAC play, 9-2 overall.