LA JOLLA, Calif. -
Senior midfielder Courtney Capobianco
found the net in the 89th minute to send the No. 6 UC San Diego women's soccer team to a hard-fought 1-0 victory over visiting Cal State Dominguez Hills in a CCAA South matchup on Sunday afternoon at Triton Soccer Field.
Capobianco's goal ended a scoring drought that spanned the Tritons' previous three games, as UCSD bounced back after suffering its first defeat of the season on Friday night against Cal State L.A. The Tritons improve to 9-1-4 overall on the season and up their California Collegiate Athletic Association mark to 8-1-3 with the win.
Moments away from playing their fourth consecutive 90 minutes without a goal, Cassie Callahan won the ball by picking it out of a cluster of players in the CSUDH half. She played it over the top of the Toro back line to Capobianco inside the box. Capobianco rocketed a shot from seven yards out into the top right corner of the goal for the game-winner.
"[CSUDH] has been on a bad streak and we've been on a bad streak. Both teams wanted it today," said UCSD head coach Brian McManus. "It was one of those games where you just wear each other down, but in the end you have a player like Courtney who can always come up with a little bit of magic and she does it again."
That magic came just in time for the Tritons, who lost their first match of the season on Friday night in overtime to No. 20 Cal State L.A. 1-0. After starting the day just a single point ahead of CSULA in the CCAA South, UCSD finds itself four points ahead of the Golden Eagles as of Sunday evening. CSULA fell to third-place Cal State San Bernardino 2-0 on Sunday.
In a contest dictated by midfield play, CSUDH came out strong, at one point doubling the Tritons (10 to 5) in total shots late in the second half. Both teams were limited in their number of chances, but each registered their share of dangerous opportunities.
With a half hour remaining, Yadira Gomez collected the ball on the left wing for the Toros. She snuck a ball from her flank behind the Triton back line, finding Natalie Barbosa inside the six. One on one with UCSD goalkeeper Kristin Armstrong, Barbosa missed the frame completely by firing it high over the bar.
Lindsay Mills had an opportunity to make it 1-0 with under 10 minutes from time. Sarah McTigue dribbled through the middle of the field and played an open Mills on the right side. Mills took a pair of dribbles to beat her defender, but her shot from the right side curled across the mouth of goal outside of the far post.
"It was confidence in ourselves near the box, being confident in ourselves inside the box. We've been a little bit tentative because we've not been getting goals," said McManus on his team's scoring drought. "We've been backing off and not playing the final ball. Trying to be to perfect. But we just needed to just take the shots."
Capobianco's timely strike was her third goal this season and she is currently tied for third on the squad with seven points. It was her second big game for the Tritons this season on the stat sheet, having previously registered two goals and an assist in a 5-0 win over Cal State Monterey Bay on September 30.
"I believe we're still the best team in the conference. The players have got to believe in that. If we do, we will be fine," said McManus.
UCSD will host a pair of CCAA doubleheaders against North Division squads next week. The Tritons play Humboldt State on Friday, October 21, at 4:30 p.m. UCSD faces Sonoma State on Sunday, October 23, at 12:00 p.m.
Admission is free to all UCSD home matches.