No. 6 UC San Diego Suffers Second Loss in Regular-Season Finale at No. 25 Chico State, 1-0
CHICO, Calif. - The No. 6 University of California San Diego women's soccer team suffered just its second loss of the season, 1-0 to No. 25 Chico State, in the regular-season finale for both nationally-ranked California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) rivals Saturday on Senior Day at University Soccer Stadium.
The result snapped a six-game win streak for UC San Diego, which moved to 15-2-1 overall and finished 10-2 in the CCAA. Chico State improved to 10-1-5 overall and 9-1-2 in league play.
The Tritons' 3-0 victory at Stanislaus State on Thursday night had locked up a third consecutive regular-season title, and subsequent top seed for the CCAA Tournament, which UC San Diego has also won for three years running. The men's and women's semifinals and finals will be held at Triton Soccer Stadium in La Jolla for the second straight edition. As that top seed, the Tritons move directly into the semifinals on Friday, Nov. 2, against the winner of Tuesday's first-round tilt in San Francisco between fourth-seeded San Francisco State and No. 5 seed Cal State San Marcos, which handed UC San Diego its only other loss in San Marcos back on Oct. 3, 1-0. Friday's game time is still to be determined.
The 'Cats had entered the day in second in the CCAA table, one point ahead of No. 24 Sonoma State, with both clubs still vying for the No. 2 seed and remaining first-round bye. Chico State's victory closed out the Seawolves in that regard, as it punched its ticket straight into Friday's CCAA Tournament semifinals in La Jolla, opposite the Tritons. Sonoma State subsequently lost 1-0 in overtime at home to Cal State Monterey Bay anyway, and as the No. 3 seed, will host sixth-seeded Cal State LA in the first round on Tuesday, with the winner getting Chico State Friday.
Not a lot went on during a first half that saw a slight 6-3 edge in shots for the visitors, but with the home side managing the only two that were actually on frame.
UC San Diego picked up the energy after the interval. In the 48th minute, freshman winger Lucy Tang, making her first college start, unleashed a hard shot from the right diagonal that Chico State senior goalkeeper Brenna Meier made a difficult save on, popping the ball up into the air, as it landed on the top of the crossbar and went over for a corner kick. That kick was taken by co-captain Summer Bales, to the top of the box. The ball was sent ahead from there, to the edge of the six-yard box, from where fellow senior Mary Reilly (Chula Vista/Hilltop HS) put her shot over the bar.
Within three minutes, in the 52nd, suddenly it was 1-0 'Cats. Senior Devon Morones knocked down a clearance attempt, and freshman teammate Susanna Garcia put her ensuing shot inside the near post from eight yards for her sixth goal of the season.
The score snapped UC San Diego's shutout streak at a season-best six-plus games, and 617:29 in all.
The Tritons nearly equalized in the 79th, as freshman Marissa Ray turned in a right-sided cross from the right diagonal, but Meier went down to her own right to corral it without allowing a rebound effort with others lurking in the area.
Sophomore reserve forward Mia Bonifazi had another hard shot from the right diagonal in the 84th minute, also denied by Meier.
Despite holding a final shot advantage of 19-10, the Tritons were unable to find a goal for just the second time in 18 matches in 2018. The only other game in which they failed to manage a goal, was that prior defeat in San Marcos.
Redshirt junior goalkeeper Angelica Ramos finished with four saves for UC San Diego. Meier had six stops for the hosts in the shutout effort, her eighth individual clean sheet in 13 starts this year.
UC San Diego returns to San Diego on Saturday night. Both teams will have five days to prepare for their respective CCAA Tournament semifinal contests on Friday.
Triton Notes: UC San Diego still leads the all-time series, 14-6-4 ... Saturday's result snaps a nine-game (6-0-3) regular-season unbeaten streak for the Tritons against the Wildcats dating back to a 2-0 loss in Chico in 2009 ... That run most recently included three straight wins by an aggregate score of 10-1 ... The Tritons made just their second lineup change in 18 games this year, with true freshman Lucy Tang earning her first collegiate start on the right side of midfield, in the absence of sophomore Maddy Samilo ... Senior co-captain Summer Bales started her 41st consecutive game on the left side of midfield ... Redshirt junior co-captain Natalie Saddic started her 57th straight match.
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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