Photo by: Derrick Tuskan
Sophomore newcomer Mia Bonifazi's first collegiate goal proved to be Sunday's game-winner.

Two First-Half Goals Hold Up as No. 2 UC San Diego Edges Cal State East Bay, 2-1, for Perfect CCAA Openers

UCSD

LA JOLLA, Calif. - Second-ranked University of California San Diego found a pair of first-half goals and made them stand up in a 2-1 victory over Cal State East Bay in California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) women's soccer action at Triton Soccer Stadium on Sunday.

In rounding out a perfect opening weekend of CCAA play, the two-time reigning regular-season champion and preseason favorite Tritons move to 6-0-1 overall and 2-0 in league activity. Cal State East Bay, which had arrived in San Diego County a perfect 5-0 on Thursday, leaves at 5-2 overall and 0-2 in the CCAA.

The Tritons stay unbeaten over their last 24 games (20-0-4) overall going back to last season. UC San Diego also extended its record CCAA undefeated streak, now to 27 games (26-0-1) dating back to the 2015 campaign.

Senior forward Mary Reilly (Chula Vista/Hilltop HS) got the home side on the board in the 11th minute. The Pioneers had draped Lauren McDougal all over her after Reilly hit for four goals on Friday night in a 6-1 romp over Cal State Monterey Bay. McDougal's coverage was unable to prevent quite the bizarre goal, however, as East Bay goalkeeper Briana Vasquez-Ortiz hit a pretty-uncontested, right-footed clearance from just outside her own penalty area, at the top of the box. She kicked directly into Reilly's right leg, though, and the ball bounded back toward her own goal, bouncing once before crossing the goal line for Reilly's league-best sixth on the year, and fifth for the weekend. It was, of course, credited as unassisted.

Reserve forward Mia Bonifazi then doubled the advantage in the 34th minute. A right-sided cross from winger Marissa Ray found its way to fellow true freshman Christina Oddone. With her back to goal, the Carlsbad product (Carlsbad HS) poked a one-touch ball toward the top of the penalty area. Bonifazi rounded the defender in front of her and struck a first-timed, low, left-footed shot from just outside the box. It took one deflection off a defender around the penalty spot, with the ball springing into the air, and Vasquez-Ortiz could then only get her fingertips to it, as the shot landed in the right-side netting.

It was a first collegiate goal for Bonifazi, a sophomore and first-year transfer from the University of San Francisco, who hails from Highlands Ranch, Colo. Oddone and Ray were each given their first collegiate assists on the play.

Cal State East Bay grabbed one back at 46:49, just shortly after the halftime break, as Chace Miguel ran onto a deep pass by Abby Buitrago, and produced a cracker of a right-footed shot from 20 yards on the right side, that sailed over Triton goalkeeper Angelica Ramos for her second of 2018. Buitrago, and Miranda Gonzalez, who started the sequence with a long throw-in from the left, got the assists.

That made for a slightly more frenetic final 43-plus minutes than anticipated at the interval, but the Tritons expertly managed the game from there, allowing nothing of much note. The end result was a first career game-winner for Bonifazi.

Ramos, a redshirt junior, wound up with a single save, with Vasquez-Ortiz, a true freshman, collecting four stops for the Pioneers. UC San Diego finished with a 25-5 shot advantage, paced by senior striker Megumi Barber's game-high seven attempts.

UC San Diego faces a single match in the week ahead, hosting league and city rival Cal State San Marcos in one final non-conference tilt for the season. Kickoff on Saturday, Sept. 22, is set for 7 p.m. Admission is free into Triton Soccer Stadium on North Campus in La Jolla, or watch live in high definition on UCSDtritons.tv.

Triton Notes: UC San Diego leads the all-time series, 10-1-1, though the previous meeting ended in a 1-1 draw in Hayward last Oct. 26, a result that snapped the Tritons' record CCAA win streak at 23 ... UC San Diego has allowed 13 goals during this 24-game unbeaten stretch, with one own goal, one penalty kick, and one free kick ... Five of UC San Diego's six wins in 2018 have been by one-goal margins, and the Tritons have come out on the right side of 16 straight one-goal decisions ... Mary Reilly is now at 39 career goals, still seventh all-time in program history ... UC San Diego is 22-0-1 over its last 23 home dates.

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