LA JOLLA, Calif. - True freshman Jessica Dang’s second goal in as many games turned out to be the lone goal of the match as UC San Diego beat Cal State Monterey Bay, 1-0, in California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) women’s soccer action Sunday at Triton Soccer Stadium.
In snapping a three-game winless streak, all at home, UCSD moved to 6-5-5 overall and 5-4-5 in the CCAA. It was essentially a match the Tritons had to have, as they kept their hopes alive of a 14th consecutive CCAA Championship appearance with one weekend remaining in the regular season. Having lifted a record eighth conference banner last year, the Tritons control their own fate in that two wins will punch their ticket to Turlock in two weeks to defend their title.
UCSD began the day in a tie for third in the South Division. The 1-0 defeat of the Otters, combined with 1-0 losses by both Cal State L.A. and Cal Poly Pomona and leader Cal State San Bernardino’s scoreless home draw with Cal State Dominguez Hills, moved the Tritons within four points of CSUSB and one of CSULA, alone now in third. UCSD will host Cal State L.A. on Senior Day next Sunday, Nov. 3.
Cal State Monterey Bay fell to 6-8-2 overall and 5-7-2 in league play. The Tritons are a still-perfect 10-0 against the Otters all-time, outscoring them, 34-4. UCSD has still yet to concede a single goal to CSUMB in La Jolla over 450 minutes, going 5-0.
In the 54th minute, right back Kylee Southwell played a ball down the right wing that fellow freshman Jamie Benedetto controlled with her chest and laid off behind her to central midfielder Kiley Leshin around the halfway line. Leshin, a junior transfer from Orange Coast College, hit a perfect ball down the flank for redshirt freshman Kiera Bocchino to run onto. Bocchino got near the end line before providing a cross that skipped through traffic and found its way to the back post.
It was there that Dang waited to pounce, making no mistake with her looping right-footed effort into the near-side netting for what proved to be her first career game-winning goal. The Irvine product had opened her scoring account just two days before, curling a beautiful free kick to equalize in a 1-1 home draw with SF State.
Bocchino and Leshin were each credited with assists on the play, with Bocchino’s her second of 2013 and Leshin’s marking her first point in a Triton uniform.
Sophomore Kelcie Brodsky made a pair of saves in posting her fourth individual shutout of the season and 13th of her career.
Junior Kendra Gillio stopped a single shot in net for the Otters, who completed the match with an 18-6 shot advantage.
Following a largely uneventful first 45 minutes, Jami Murray, CSUMB’s leading scorer with seven goals, put a scare in the Tritons just 23 seconds into the second half, but Brodsky tipped her right-footed shot over the bar for a corner kick.
The visitors had a couple of late chances to level the score. A short cross from the left deflected off of UCSD center back Michelle Yasutake and nearly wound up in her own net. Then in the 88th minute, junior midfielder Hannah Cobb collected another cross from the left, spun and shot, only to see her effort trickle wide right.
Having concluded a season-long six-game homestand, UCSD next makes the short trip to Pomona on Friday, Nov. 1, to take on division rival Cal Poly Pomona at 7 p.m.