WHEATON, Ill. -- A close match-up between two of the NAIA’s pre-season top-10 materialized for 45 minutes, then No. 8-ranked Azusa Pacific blitzed No. 7-ranked Judson (Ill.) with 5 goals in the second half en route to an impressive 7-1 win.
After the Eagles (2-2) took a 1-0 lead on a goal from Carlos Guillen in the 12th minute, the Cougars (3-0) responded quickly as senior Andriy Budnyy beat Judson keeper Rob Luck to a pass from junior Skelly Kellar and hit a rolling shot into the open net to knot the game at 1-1. It was the first of Kellar's 3 assists which tied a school record previously set by 8 different players.
Only 1:36 eclipsed off the clock before the Cougars took the lead for good when junior Donny Dequine scored off a cross played by Leibbrandt and Kellar which made it a 2-1 contest. The score stayed that way until after the second half was underway when the offense again flexed its muscles.
Budnyy added his second goal of the day in the 66th minute to extend the lead to 3-1. Senior Ian Leibbrandt and sophomore Steven Lenhart rounded out the scoring with 2 goals apiece, the second straight day they accomplished that feat. Leibbrandt also added an assist and has accumulated 15 points through the Cougars’ first 3 matches. Leibbrandt scored in the 78th and 88th minutes while Lenhart scored in the 84th minute and 86th minute.
“Everything is really coming together for Ian,” said head coach Phil Wolf. “He recognizes the things he does well and is playing with so much confidence. He faces people up and runs them.”
Leibbrandt has already recorded 3 assists which matches his total from last season and his play is a big reason why Azusa Pacific has scored 19 goals in its 3 victories. The 15 goals scored at the Bob Baptista Invitational are the most the Cougars have scored in back-to-back games since September of 1999.
The Cougars return to action on Wednesday, September 7, when they take on Pomona-Pitzer in Claremont, Calif. at 4 p.m.