LA MIRADA, Calif. --- Marco Ruvalcaba scored a goal in the 44th minute and the defense made it hold up as Biola upset No. 2 Azusa Pacific University 1-0 in a GSAC match on Saturday afternoon at Al Barbour Field.
The Eagles remain red-hot this season, improving to 9-1-0 on the season and remain perfect at 4-0-0 in GSAC play. The loss was the first of the year for the Cougars, who drop to 11-1-0 and to 3-1-0 in the conference.
Ruvalcaba, who has now scored four goals in his last three games, recorded the lone goal of the contest in the closing moments of the first half. The sophomore fired a shot from the left side which bounced right off the hands of the Cougar goalkeeper and settled in the back of the net with 1:04 to play in the half.
The goal completely changed the momentum of the match which up to that point had been dominated by Azusa Pacific. The Cougars had outshot the Eagles 8-1 up to the time the goal was scored , but managed just six shots over the next 45 minutes.
Biola, on the other hand, seemed to have a better run of play over the final 45 minutes. Not only was the Eagles' defense solid in preserving the shutout, but the Biola offense outshot APU 8-6 in the second half.
The Eagles had a pair of great chances to add to the lead, though in the second half. In the 68th minute, it appeared as though Biola had its second goal as a blast by Kennedy Chongo hit the crossbar and dropped down into the goal. However, the linesman ruled that the ball never completely crossed the line and the scored stayed 1-0.
Chongo again had another shot to increase the lead later in the game. The junior received a long pass and beat the final two defenders leading to a one-on-one with the APU goalkeeper. However, after beating the keeper with a nifty move, his touch shot scooted just wide of the goal.
Sophomore goalkeeper Aaron Fenlason recorded his ninth shutout in 10 games, making three saves and facing 14 shots and dropping his goals against average to a microscopic 0.30.
Biola Head Coach Bryan Kuderman was understandably excited after the win, praising his team for playing a strong match and sticking with the gameplan.
"Our finishing was just not good enough," said Head Coach Bryan Kuderman. "Nonetheless, this is an exceptional result for us and I am extremely proud of the team for working towards our goal. Our tactic proved to be the difference. The boys did very well to execute that plan."
The victory was just the second by Biola over its arch-rival since 1996. The Cougars had entered with a record of 13-1-1 against the Eagles in the last 15 matches. It also snaps a seven-match Biola losing streak in the series.
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Written by Jeff Hoffman, Sports Information Director.