SAN MARCOS, Calif. - Freshman Brett Jones hit a two-goal brace, punctuated by the double-overtime decider, to lift the 19th-ranked University of California San Diego men's soccer team past Cal State San Marcos, 3-2, in a non-conference meeting between California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) foes and city rivals Friday afternoon at The Cage.
With the victory, UC San Diego improved to 9-1-4 overall. Cal State San Marcos fell to 2-10-2. The Tritons, who took the CCAA matchup at home, 1-0, back on Oct. 4, remain an unbeaten 7-0-2 over their last nine games. This is now two consecutive 3-2 triumphs for UCSD, both on the road.
With time winding down on the second and final 10-minute overtime period, fifth-year senior striker Malek Bashti deftly beat his defender on the right flank and got down around the end line. His well-weighted, short cross on the ground found its way to Jones. The initial right-footed shot by the Mission Viejo and Laguna Hills High School product was cleared off the line. It appeared that junior David Martin was responsible for the game-saver, but only momentarily. The rebound went right back out to Jones, and his right-footed follow-up was sent directly at goalkeeper Justin Tesar, but the redshirt sophomore was unable to corral it. The ball trickled across the goal line at 105:34, agonizingly for the home side and elatedly for the visitors.
The Tritons had turned an early 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 edge at the interval, and had several opportunities to extend that advantage before the halftime whistle. It was then Cal State San Marcos, however, that found the next goal, in the 71st minute.
Martin opened the scoring for the Cougars on a peculiar set-piece sequence just 7:45 into the contest, nodding on a headed flick by Spencer Griffith just past freshman Triton goalie Pedro Enciso (Vista/Rancho Buena Vista HS) for his first of 2017.
Senior playmaker Steven Ortiz leveled matters at 25:19. Sophomore center back Kelvin Uribe played it to senior left back Nolan Mac, who got it out to junior winger Kiefer Cooksey on the left flank. Cooksey crossed from there with his left foot, to right around the penalty spot, where Ortiz rose highest and headed the ball off the right post and in for his third goal this season. Cooksey and Mac were each given assists. For Mac, it was the first of his college career, and for Cooksey, his second.
Jones' first of the day was the 35th-minute go-ahead tally. Senior Uly de la Cal<'s left-sided cross led to a missed clearance by the Cougar defender in the center of the field, and Jones pounced to put his right-footed shot into the bottom left corner. Through his first college brace, he has three goals on the year, two of them winners.
In its previous two matches, Cal State San Marcos had also scored first over the opening 10 minutes, only to suffer 2-1 defeats late. On this day, the Cougars found an answer of their own, on a spectacular individual effort by Victor Gonzalez at 70:25. On Senior Day, the senior accepted a back heel by Fabian Jacobo and unleashed an incredible right-footed blast from the left diagonal about 25 yards out, that traveled into the upper right corner. It was Gonzalez's team-best fourth goal.
Jones came off the bench and looked from the outset like a goal was in his foreseeable future. In addition to his two that counted, he had two of them disallowed, one for offside after a nice de la Cal flick, and the other for a foul, both in the first half. He also had a glancing header off a right-sided cross as the final seconds of the first half ticked away, but Tesar got airborne to his left to parry the ball out for a corner kick.
Jones was on the bench during the first overtime, but head coach Jon Pascale put him back on the pitch to start the second session, and the prized rookie made the ultimate difference. He finished with a game-high six shots, of UCSD's nine in the match, with five of them on target. The Tritons had no attempts in the second half.
Enciso was credited with two saves. Tesar had four for CSUSM.
UC San Diego is idle this weekend and heads to the Bay Area next to round out the regular-season slate with two critical matches at Cal State East Bay on Thursday, Oct. 26, and Cal State Monterey Bay on Saturday, Oct. 28.
Though Friday's game was out of conference, it was important to UCSD's hopes of a return trip to the NCAA Championship. The Tritons appeared at No. 2 in Wednesday's first NCAA West Region poll, and now would hope to maintain that spot in next week's edition. Meanwhile around the CCAA, UCSD got little to no help on Friday, and sits in fourth place heading into the next match day on Sunday.
Triton Notes: UCSD leads the all-time series, 6-2 ... The Tritons had dropped a 1-0 decision on their last visit to San Marcos for both teams' 2016 CCAA opener ... UCSD stays an unbeaten 4-0-2 on the road in 2017 ... UCSD began the day 16th in Division II with a 0.714 goals-against average, but surrendered two scores for the second straight match for the second time in 2017 ... CSUSM had not tallied two goals in a single game since Sept. 8, having managed just two goals in nine matches since ... The result meant a ninth straight loss for the Cougars, now 0-9-1 over their last 10 ... The winning goal in the first meeting this season between these teams also came from a touted true freshman for UCSD, that one by Jonathan Sabouri (Carlsbad/San Dieguito HS Academy) in the 61st minute on Oct. 4 in La Jolla ... Redshirt junior right back Jeff Powers, who had started each of the first 13 games, missed the match nursing a slight injury, with redshirt freshman Hunter Fields taking his place ... UCSD finished the non-conference portion of its schedule at 3-0-2.