AZUSA, Calif. -- Andriy Budnyy scored twice and the NAIA’s No.5-ranked Azusa Pacific defeated California Baptist, 3-0, Tuesday afternoon, at the Azusa Square.
The Cougars had been plagued by slow starts recently having fallen behind in each of their last 4 matches but this game started out more promising. While the back 4 controlled their third, the attack was aggressive from the outset.
Azusa Pacific took 13 first-half shots to only 3 by California Baptist. Twice the Cougars had shots deflect off the post denying them the lead. Sven Simon had hit the near post from 20 yards away in the 11th minute. Skelly Kellar had his shot hit the post in the 21st minute.
However, the Lancers did not get any quality chances and the game was scoreless at halftime.
“At that point we knew we had to stay patient,” said Kellar. “You know the goals are going to come and it was great communication from the back that got things rolling in the second half.”
In the 60th minute, Budnyy received a pass from Brandon Stirm and moved across the field to his left looking for an opening. When he saw it, he blasted a left-footed shot past keeper Josh Blanco to give the Cougars a 1-0 lead.
Later on a breakaway, Budnyy spotted an open David Casarotte who found the back of the net to stake Azusa Pacific to a 2-0 lead with his first goal of the season and the first of his career.
Budnyy completed his offensive showcase with a 1-on-1 goal in the 87th minute. After gaining possession, he stumbled momentarily but regained his footing and raced up the right side and slotted a ball far post for his second goal of the day and fifteenth of the season.
Budnyy now has scored 2 goals in a game 13 times in his career including 6 times this season.
Combining that with the solid defense his team provided, head coach Phil Wolf was pleased with the win. “We were much more solid from beginning to end. We feel better when we feel solid in the defense because we’re going to score,” he said.
With the win, Azusa Pacific (9-1, 3-0) wins its fourth consecutive game and will next take on Vanguard, in Costa Mesa, Calif., on Saturday, at 4 p.m.