HAYWARD, Calif. - Freshman Jonathan Sabouri (Carlsbad/San Dieguito HS Academy) struck for a hat trick to lead No. 18 University of California San Diego over Cal State East Bay, 4-1, in California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) men's soccer action Thursday at Pioneer Stadium.
With the victory, UC San Diego improved to 10-1-4 overall and 7-1-2 in the CCAA. Cal State East Bay dropped to 3-12-2 overall and a still-winless 0-10-1 in league play. The Tritons ran their unbeaten streak to 10 matches, having gone 8-0-2 during this late-season stretch. With Cal State Dominguez Hills and Chico State playing to a scoreless draw in Carson, they vaulted over the Toros and into third place in the CCAA table.
The first shot of the match by either team came in the ninth minute from Brett Jones, who had come on for fellow true freshman Sabouri at forward just 89 seconds into the contest after a Pioneer foul on the local product. Fortunately for head coach Jon Pascale's Tritons, it was not a serious injury, and just a cut above the eye, so Sabouri would return even before the intermission, and have a lot to say about the result.
Cal State East Bay rather abruptly got on the scoreboard at 15:26, as senior TJ Butler slammed home a rebound into the right side of the net for his fourth goal. It snapped a shutout string for UCSD against East Bay, of nine-plus matches and 847:56 in all, since a 3-2 Triton victory in Hayward back on Oct. 9, 2009. Freshman substitute Tin Nguyen (San Diego/Crawford HS) was given an assist on the play.
At 39:22, the score was level, as Sabouri tallied his team-best fourth. He took senior teammate Uly de la Cal's pass on the left side of the penalty area, dribbled toward goal, and managed to poke the ball home despite a touch by Pioneer goalie Omar Coronel. The assist was de la Cal's team-leading fifth on the year.
With just under a minute remaining in the first half, de la Cal joined Sabouri on four goals and gave UC San Diego its first lead of the evening, unassisted from the far left side of the box for the 2-1 edge at the interval. It would prove to be his third winner.
UCSD hit the pedal straight away from the second-half whistle, as senior winger Zachary Lagotta (San Diego/Cathedral Catholic HS) had his shot after 40 seconds blocked out to a corner kick. Sabouri took the corner, and moments later at 46:34, bent his right-footed shot from the left diagonal around Coronel and into the right side, giving him a second collegiate two-goal brace for his rookie season.
Sabouri, however, wasn't done. He completed his first career hat trick within five minutes, at 51:24. Senior starting strike partner Malek Bashti sent a through ball toward the left flank, for Sabouri to run onto and shoot again to the right side for his third on the day and sixth on the year. Bashti's assist was his third.
Sabouri's hat trick was the first by a UCSD player since then-senior Scott MacBride produced one at Cal State Monterey Bay almost five years ago to the day, in the 2012 season finale on Oct. 28.
Freshman goalkeeper Pedro Enciso (Vista/Rancho Buena Vista HS) made two saves for UCSD. Coronel was not credited with any stops for the home side. UCSD held a 14-7 shot advantage.
UC San Diego remains in the Bay Area and heads south to Seaside for its regular-season finale at Cal State Monterey Bay this Saturday, Oct. 28, at 11:30 a.m. The Tritons are assured of no worse than the No. 4 seed for the 2017 CCAA Tournament and a home first-round game. A win Saturday would guarantee them at least the No. 3 seed, with UCSD still in the hunt for a first-round bye and even a repeat CCAA regular-season title if other results also go their way on Friday night and Saturday.
Triton Notes: UCSD remains unbeaten in the all-time series at 12-0-1 ... UCSD is still an unbeaten 5-0-2 on the road in 2017 ... Danny Glascock and Jonathan Stoop earned their first and seventh starts of the season, respectively, in central midfield in the places of Steven Ortiz and the ill Matt Merrill ... For Glascock, it was just a third career start and first since Sept. 5, 2015 ... Hunter Fields drew a second straight start at right back in the injury absence of Jeff Powers ... Jonathan Sabouri's effort was the fourth multiple-goal game by a Triton in 2017, all by newcomers, with three by true freshmen, as Sabouri and Brett Jones each had a prior two-goal brace, on Sept. 29 and Oct. 20, respectively ... Scott MacBride's hat trick in 2012 came over the final 20 minutes of a 5-0 romp ... UCSD matched its season high of four goals from a 4-0 home win over Stanislaus State on Sept. 17 ... The Tritons have reached the 10-win mark for the second straight year and a sixth time in head coach Jon Pascale's 10 seasons ... UCSD has rallied from a 1-0 deficit to win a match four times in 2017, including back-to-back road dates last Friday at Cal State San Marcos and today at Cal State East Bay, and also came back from 2-0 down to tie Concordia at home on Sept. 9 ... Sabouri's hat trick is the fifth by a Triton since the start of the 2002 season, after Tiago Venturi (Sept. 27, 2002), Luke Russell (Sept. 10, 2003), Matthew Davey (Sept. 25, 2004) and MacBride, and the only one by a freshman.