LA JOLLA, Calif. -
Senior midfielder Shelby Wong
scored a career-high three goals as the No. 8 UC San Diego women's soccer team cruised to a convincing 5-0 victory over visiting Humboldt State on Friday evening at Triton Soccer Field.
Wong, who had two goals on the season entering the match, found the net twice in a span of just over three minutes early in the first half and the Tritons never looked back, rolling to their 10th victory of the season. Wong scored again after halftime, with teammates Taryn Bales and Alexa Enlow also getting in on the fun in the decisive victory.
UCSD improves to 10-1-4 overall and 9-1-3 in California Collegiate Athletic Association play, winning for the eighth time in its last 11 games. Tritons, who currently sit atop of the conference's South Division standings, can now clinch a berth in next month's CCAA Championship Tournament with a win over Sonoma State on Sunday.
Humboldt State falls to 2-10-2 overall and 1-10-2 in the CCAA with the loss. The Lumberjacks have now dropped eight of their last nine.
After failing to score a goal in three straight matches from October 7-14 and needing a late strike from Courtney Capobianco to get by Cal State Dominguez Hills on Sunday, the Triton offense regained its form in a big way on Friday. Wong put the Tritons on the board in the 13th minute and then scored again 3:18 later to give UCSD a 2-0 advantage.
The Tritons would then score three times in the second half to match their season high for goals scored (they also defeated Cal State Monterey Bay by a 5-0 count on September 30).
"That first half might have been the purest half of soccer we've played all season," head coach Brian McManus said. We finished two goals that we haven't been getting lately and then we really came to play in the second half. We hadn't put a complete game together in the last two weeks and we finally did that tonight. Now's the time of the year you want to be peaking, so it was a good performance for us."
Wong's first strike came off a corner kick, with Hayley Johnson sending a sailing ball through the box for Cassie Callahan at the far post. Callahan's volley was deflected by Humboldt State keeper Amber Woolcock, but the ball bounced back into the box and Wong was there to send it home for the early knock out punch at the 12:26 mark.
The Tritons doubled their advantage three minutes later when a pair of Lumberjack defenders tried to clear a ball at the same time and an opportunistic Jessica Wi beat Woolcock to the loose ball. She tried to chip it over the keeper's head and when the ball fell short, Wong was there to clean it up for her second goal of the day.
Wong wasn't done, scoring again in the 52nd minute to complete the hat trick. It was senior forward Sarah McTigue doing most of the work though, as she stole the ball right outside the top of the HSU box and dribbled towards the right corner. With two defenders on her hip, she sent a beautiful cross back into the box for a streaking Wong, who sent it past the outstretched arms of Woolcock to give UCSD a commanding 3-0 lead.
With the damage done, the Tritons would add a fourth goal at the 66:40 mark when Bales fired a shot from the 18 off the cross bar and down across the goal line. Sara Spaventa and McTigue were credited with assists on the play.
Enlow then put the finishing touches on the victory 22 minutes later, collecting a nice pass from Bales on the left side of the box and beating the keeper to her left for the final 5-0 margin.
UCSD was dominant in all facets of the game, outshooting HSU 23-7 and winning the corner kick battle 8-0. Kristin Armstrong and Sarah Garland teamed to post the Tritons' 11th shutout of the season, making a total of just three saves.
UCSD will square off with Sonoma State at noon on Sunday. The Seawolves battled Cal State San Bernardino to a scoreless draw on Friday.