Although they needed overtime to grab the win, men’s soccer remains undefeated
Following an exciting overtime win by the women’s soccer team, Azusa Pacific men’s soccer team continued the victorious trend against Cal Poly Pomona on Thursday night, coming from behind to win 4-3 and improve to 3-0 on the season.
The Cougars came out firing on all cylinders offensively, consistently pushing the ball up the field toward CPP’s net. With 13 shots in the first half alone, the Cougars aimed to take it to the Broncos and not look back. However, things didn’t go quite as planned after CPP broke through early in the seventh minute despite only tallying six shots in the first half.
“Games are going to flow and they’re going to change momentum. There are going to be goals and so a game is never over in the first 45 minutes or even the first 80,” said head coach David Blomquist. “You’ve gotta stay in it mentally because it can change and start to go in your favor pretty quickly.”
As the first half continued, there were certainly some fireworks. Junior David Kwinn broke the ice in the 35th minute and PacWest player of the week, junior James Ndubueze, followed with a goal of his own soon after.
The Cougars hoped that would be it for the half, but the Broncos didn’t let them off the hook that easily. Just three minutes later, CPP scored a second goal of their own, leaving the game tied at two after 45 minutes.
Going into the second half, plays began to get undisciplined and chippy as both teams took fouls and exchanged some words. A total of 24 fouls were committed in the second half; APU was responsible for 13 of them.
“Once fatigue starts to set in it’s easy to become undisciplined,” Blomquist said. “Then the fouls and giveaways start to happen, and in those moments, that is just an opportunity for the guys to dig a little deeper so that we can continue quality and composed play.”
CPP scored the go-ahead goal in the 67th minute of the game, causing APU to go into desperation mode and begin to chip away at the Broncos defense. The Cougars continued to get shot after shot for another 21 minutes until junior, Orlando Lozano, found himself at the right place at the right time and tied the game in the 88th minute, sending the match into overtime.
“I didn’t even know I was going to get the ball to be honest. I just saw the ball right in front of me and then my head was up and I saw the whole net right in front of me. I had to put that in there,” Lozano said.
Going into overtime, APU needed a hero in sudden death to grab the win. The Cougars’ leading scorer, Ndubueze, was that man. Ndubueze buried his fifth goal of the season (his second of the night), finding the back of the net in the 91st minute to seal the win for the Cougars.
“It’s our home game and we knew we weren’t going to lose,” Ndubueze said. “We tell ourselves every time that we’re not losing at home. You could feel the team spirit on the field. Even when it was 3-2, we knew we were going to get at least one.”
Following a close call, APU men’s soccer remains undefeated and shifts their focus to their next contest. The Cougars will face Point Loma on Saturday at 5 p.m. at the Cougar Soccer Complex.