WAIPAHU, Hawai'i - The second-ranked University of California San Diego women's soccer team made a late first-half goal stand up in blanking Hawai'i Hilo, 1-0, in a neutral-site affair Sunday afternoon at Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium.
With the win, UC San Diego remained undefeated at 4-0-1. Hawai'i Hilo fell to 0-1-1, following a 1-1 draw Friday in its opener in Waipahu against Eckerd College. Sunday's match marked the first-ever meeting between the Tritons and Vulcans.
It wasn't until the 35th minute that a shot was registered by either team, as redshirt sophomore reserve forward Roni Merrill went wide to the left of the target from outside the box finally for the Tritons, just seconds after coming on. Freshman wingers Ashlynn Kolarik and Marissa Ray then added soft, saved attempts from their respective sides on the left and right.
The teams had combined for those three credited shots and one late corner kick apiece over an otherwise uneventful first 45, when a third true freshman, central midfielder Christina Oddone (Carlsbad/Carlsbad HS), one-timed a left-sided cross from redshirt junior center back Kelsey Kimball into the bottom right corner. Her first college goal came as the final 10 seconds were being counted down over the stadium speakers, logged as being scored at 44:58.
Ray's hurried corner kick from the right side traveled over everyone in the box and took a couple of bounces, before freshman midfielder Emily Killeen pulled a one-touch pass right-footed back to Kimball, who hit a first-time left-footed cross toward the far post, where Oddone got her left foot on the ball and guided it into the near corner. Kimball and Killeen's assists were the first of their college careers.
The finish to the first half, and subsequent goal, seemed to strengthen the Tritons, as they began to pressure the opposing penalty box with much more regularity following the break. They had back-to-back shots from the left side of the area early in the second period, that did not trouble Vulcan junior Bailey Cahill. In the 53rd, senior winger and co-captain Summer Bales had what appeared to be a cross, from the deep left, come off the far post, and was given a shot attempt.
In the 64th minute, Bales took a pass from sophomore central midfielder Caitlin McCarthy (Carlsbad/Carlsbad HS) and played a deep, cutting ball forward. Senior forward Mary Reilly (Chula Vista/Hilltop HS) latched onto it and dribbled into the center, only for her shot from the top of the box to make it harmlessly into Cahill's arms. Twenty-plus minutes into the second half, UC San Diego had already doubled its first-half shot output with eight, and gotten to 12 total.
One last 88th-minute try by McCarthy was also easily caught by Cahill, as the Tritons saw the result out, and wound up with a 13-0 whitewash on shots. It was the second time this season that UC San Diego has held an opponent without a shot on target, as it did so against then-seventh-ranked Western Washington in another 1-0 victory in the home opener on Sept. 1.
Redshirt junior goalie Angelica Ramos hardly touched the ball, and was not called upon to make a single save for her second clean sheet of 2018, and 14th of her Triton career. She has not had to make a save in either of her shutouts this season, the other coming against WWU. Cahill had seven stops for Hawai'i Hilo.
The Tritons stay unbeaten over their last 22 games (18-0-4) overall going back to last season, and are 7-0-3 over their last 10 contests away from home.
Having concluded its three-match Hawai'i trip at 2-0-1, UC San Diego returns to San Diego on Monday night. Despite one remaining non-league tilt later this month, the Tritons are now set for their 12-game California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) slate, as two-time reigning regular-season champs and preseason favorites. UC San Diego hosts Cal State Monterey Bay in primetime this Friday night, Sept. 14, at 7 p.m., and then Cal State East Bay on Sunday, Sept. 16, at 2 p.m. Admission is free into Triton Soccer Stadium on North Campus in La Jolla, or watch on UCSDtritons.tv.
Triton Notes: UC San Diego is now 7-0-1 all-time on O'ahu, outscoring opponents, 16-3 ... UC San Diego has allowed 11 goals during this 22-game unbeaten streak, with one own goal and one penalty kick ... The Tritons last held their opponent without a single shot attempt in a 2-0 home win over league foe Cal State LA on Oct. 14, 2016 ... All four UC San Diego wins in 2018 have been by one-goal margins, and the Tritons have thus now come out on the right side of 15 such decisions in a row ... UC San Diego has nine 1-0 victories during this 22-game undefeated run.