LA JOLLA, Calif. - The 13th-ranked University of California San Diego men's soccer team got a goal in each half and posted a second straight shutout, 2-0 over Sonoma State, in a California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) match at Triton Soccer Stadium on Friday night.
With a third victory in a row, UC San Diego remained unbeaten on the season at 8-0-1 overall and 2-0-1 in the CCAA. Sonoma State dropped to 2-5-2 overall, and left looking for its first league success at 0-4-1. The teams had last met in the 2016 CCAA Tournament final in Turlock, the Tritons rallying for a 2-1 overtime victory for the first tourney banner in program history.
Fourth-year Tritons Nathaniel Bloom (Encinitas/San Dieguito HS Academy) and Andy Sartor scored to give their side more than enough offense. Indeed for Bloom, the opener, which proved to be the winner, was his first goal since he was a true freshman, the lone tally in a 1-0 home decision over Concordia Irvine on Sept. 8, 2015. The local product is the twin brother of Miriam Bloom, an all-conference performer and captain of the Sonoma State women's squad, who was unable to play in that matchup to begin the evening in La Jolla.
Bloom's goal came at 41:37, as he got up higher than his defender and put a powerful header down on redshirt sophomore midfielder Matt Davis' stellar cross from the right side. Davis had gathered the ball from redshirt senior right back and team captain Jeff Powers. Both players picked up assists, with Davis' his first as a Triton, and Powers' his third, tying him for the team lead. Six substitute players were on for UC San Diego by that point, with Bloom and Davis the last two to enter.
Sartor's team-leading third goal of the season came in the 73rd minute and gave everyone on the home bench a sigh of relief, as largely a clincher. It was his second in as many games, both left-footed on the same north goal. Redshirt freshman left back Darragh Buckley played the ball to true freshman Nick Cirrito on the left side, with the Diamond Bar product looping a pass over the top to the right edge of the penalty area. Sartor cut in on his left foot and found the near netting. Buckley's assist was the first of his college career, and Cirrito's his second.
Sophomore Pedro Enciso (Vista/Rancho Buena Vista HS) had four saves in the Triton net for his fifth individual clean sheet of 2018 and 12th of his college career. Senior Arturo Ornelas made four stops of his own for the visitors.
Enciso's final save was his best, to curb any potential late drama, as he smothered a point-blank shot by Guy Vanderbeke at 86:45.
Each team had a shot glance off the woodwork over the first 45 minutes. Powers gave a nifty feed to fellow fifth-year Triton Christian Cordell before the latter found the right post from the right diagonal in the 12th. Seawolf junior Luis Diaz-Mendoza then had his free kick denied by the crossbar in the 25th.
In the 33rd, sophomore forward Jonathan Sabouri's (Carlsbad/San Dieguito HS Academy) right-sided corner kick was headed by Powers in the middle, but the ball bounced once and narrowly over the bar to keep the contest scoreless.
Sophomore forward Brett Jones hit the left post from the right diagonal in the 51st after stealing the ball from Ulysses Vega and dribbling into the penalty box. Moments before the second goal, Powers accepted a pass from Stoop on the right flank and put in a cross, only for Sartor's effort to be saved by Ornelas.
Junior Kelvin Uribe was back at a center back spot after missing three games through injury, and joined along the back by Buckley, Powers, and redshirt freshman center back Oliver Nelson for the full 90. Fifth-year senior holding central midfielder Matt Merrill held the line in front of them for 76 minutes of the shutout.
Friday night's game was played in front of a season-high crowd of 506, as UC San Diego students were finally back on campus for Thursday's start to the fall quarter.
UC San Diego finally concludes this 10-match season-opening homestand this Sunday, Sept. 30, welcoming in Humboldt State for another CCAA contest at 2 p.m. The game will be preceded by the top-ranked Triton women facing off with the Jacks. Admission into Triton Soccer Stadium on North Campus in La Jolla is free.
Triton Notes: Sonoma State still leads the all-time series, 12-6-3 ... The Tritons had played three straight overtime contests prior to Friday ... Andy Sartor now has five career goals ... Jeff Powers' assist was the 10th of his career.
About UC San Diego Athletics
With 30 national team championships, nearly 150 individual titles and the top student-athlete graduation rate among Division II institutions in the United States, the UC San Diego intercollegiate athletics program annually ranks as one of the most successful in the country. The Tritons sponsor 23 intercollegiate sport programs that compete on the NCAA Division I and II levels and, in summer 2020, will transition into full Division I status as a member of the Big West Conference. UC San Diego student-athletes exemplify the academic ideals of one of the world's preeminent institutions, graduating at an average rate of 91 percent. A total of 80 Tritons have earned Academic All-America honors, while 36 have earned prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships. In competition, more than 1,300 UC San Diego student-athletes have earned All-America honors.
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