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Notebook / Mitch Polin

New Players, New Coach Make Azusa Pacific a Soccer Winner

October 03, 1985|Mitch Polin

The Azusa Pacific University men's soccer program had hit rock bottom by the time Don Lawrence became coach after last season.

Losing was about the only thing that came consistently for the Cougars, who had finished with a 4-11 record in 1983 and were 3-11-3 in 1984.

Enter Lawrence, not exactly a stranger to the college. He had marginal success as coach of the men's basketball team in the 1982-83 and 1983-84 seasons and had been an assistant basketball coach for nine years before that.

It has not taken Lawrence long to change Azusa Pacific's soccer fortunes. The Cougars are rolling with a 6-2-1 record.

One of the biggest reasons for the turnaround may be the immediate impact of several freshmen recruited by Lawrence. Azusa Pacific's first and second goaltenders, Chad Wyatt of Claremont High and Ken Osterberg of Placentia, are frosh. Wyatt has a brilliant goals-against average of 0.25, having allowed only one goal.

Forward Blackman Ihem of Enugu, Nigeria, has been the best of the seniors with 11 goals and one assist.

"We're getting stronger and stronger as the season goes along," Lawrence said. "With all the new faces, it has taken some time for the individuals to come together and play like a team."

You could say it took a lot of Gaul.

After going winless the last two years, the Webb High School Gauls of Claremont are one of the few teams that can say they won two football games in one week.

The Gauls defeated the California School for the Deaf, 32-20, on Sept. 23 and Army-Navy of Carlsbad, 21-13, on Sept. 28.

The victory over the California School for the Deaf snapped an 18-game losing streak, longest in the CIF. Webb's last win before last week was against the same school, a 21-6 victory Sept. 29, 1983.

The dubious distinction of the longest losing streak in the CIF now belongs to another San Gabriel Valley squad, Bassett of La Puente.

The Olympians (0-3) have a 17-game losing streak heading into their game against Gladstone on Friday. Bassett's last win was over Gladstone, 14-6, on Oct. 14, 1983.

Through the first three weeks of the prep football season, several San Gabriel Valley teams are among the CIF leaders in scoring and scoring defense.

With 153 points in three games, Charter Oak of Covina and Lutheran of Orange have scored the most points in the CIF this season. Charter Oak (3-0) scored its biggest victory of the year with a 60-0 shutout of Glendora last week.

Other valley teams among scoring leaders are Bishop Amat, tied with Westlake for eighth with 111 points, and Muir at 12th with 100 points.

San Dimas, 2-0, is one of five CIF schools that has not allowed a point. The Saints have blanked Montclair (34-0) and Bonita (23-0).

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