Men’s soccer drops season opener to rival Azusa
Rivals meet in first non-conference game in years
Senior Tony Montalvo (left) and junior Scott Hayes (right) chase down the ball in Saturday night's game against Azusa Pacific University. | Olivia Blinn/THE CHIMES
In the first non-conference game between rivals Biola and Azusa Pacific universities since the Eagles joined the Golden State Athletic Conference in 1993, Azusa men’s soccer scored two unanswered goals in the first half and held on to defeat Biola 2-1 in their season opener on Saturday.
Despite senior midfielder Tony Montalvo’s early strike, Biola allowed two consecutive goals in the following 27 minutes to lose the lead and were held scoreless in the second half.
Montalvo’s goal came in the 14th minute, unassisted, and served as a spark plug for the Biola offense.
“That [goal] definitely gave us the momentum and gave us the confidence to keep pushing forward,” Montalvo said. “We were all pretty stoked on it.”
But simple mistakes, said Coach Bryan Kuderman, led to Azusa’s two goals, and ultimately, the team’s 16th loss at Azusa in 26 tries.
“The number one principle is to make sure you’re maintaining pressure on the ball and their first goal came simply because we didn’t step,” Kuderman said. “It’s a very simple defensive tactic that they should know at this age and at this level of play. ...
“We had the first goal. We should have won this game. Bottom line,” he said.
Azusa junior midfielder Michael Sahagian notched the equalizer in the 35th minute while sophomore forward Carlos Garcia-Partida broke the tie in the 41st minute off a cross from senior mid Kevin Yang.
“We lost focus for one second and that’s where Azusa came in and scored on us,” Montalvo said.
Biola will return home on Wednesday, Sept. 5 to play La Sierra College in the second of seven non-conference games to open up the 2012 season.