Marissa Ray's First College Goal Gets No. 1 Tritons Back to Winning Ways at San Francisco State, 1-0
SAN FRANCISCO - The No. 1-ranked University of California San Diego women's soccer team blanked San Francisco State, 1-0, in a nationally-televised California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) contest Sunday at Cox Stadium.
UC San Diego improved to 10-1-1 overall and 5-1 in the CCAA. San Francisco State dropped to 6-5-1 overall and 4-3-1 in league play. On Wednesday, the Tritons had seen their 27-game (23-0-4) overall and record 29-game (28-0-1) CCAA unbeaten streaks snapped with a 1-0 loss at Cal State San Marcos. They sit in third place in the league table, four points behind leader Sonoma State with two matches in hand.
Five and a half minutes in, Summer Bales' inswinging, right-sided corner kick was headed down at the back post by sophomore Caitlin McCarthy (Carlsbad/Carlsbad HS), but SFSU defender Monique Ponce was there to clear the ball off the goal line.
San Francisco State's first shot attempt was considerably dangerous, as senior Madison Messier's right-footer from 30 yards whizzed just above Angelica Ramos' crossbar in the 14th minute.
The Tritons' trio of fourth-year seniors, Bales, Mary Reilly (Chula Vista/Hilltop HS) and Megumi Barber (San Diego/Mt. Carmel HS), combined to generate a scoring opportunity in the 19th, but Barber's right-footed shot from close range went straight to sophomore goalie Nicki Rucki.
UC San Diego finally dented the scoreboard in the 34th minute, thanks to an exceptional individual effort by reserve winger Marissa Ray for a worthy first collegiate goal. The true freshman from Camarillo accepted a pass from Barber with her back to goal around the top of the penalty area, turned, split two defenders toward the right edge of the six-yard box, and fired a right-footed shot into the bottom left for an unassisted opener.
San Francisco State threatened to equalize at the end of the first period, necessitating five saves by Ramos over the last four minutes. Arguably the best chance came from Messier's left-footed, tight-angle effort that Ramos parried out for a corner kick at 44:16.
The Tritons nearly took advantage of a Gator miscue to double their advantage in the 56th minute, as the ball was played back to Rucki, who tried to kick it away rather than out of bounds, but left her clearance right in Maddy Samilo's (Rancho Bernardo/Rancho Bernardo HS) path. The sophomore's first-time shot went wide.
The Gators survived a strange sequence around the hour mark, as Barber's clear left-sided cross ended up heading on goal, with Rucki having to tip it over the bar. After taking the resulting corner kick, Bales got the ball back, and sent a bending left-footer that Rucki barely pushed wide of the left post. Barber's ensuing corner kick wound up being directly on target as well, and Rucki was called upon to knock it over her bar yet again for another corner.
Rucki then did nicely to divert a strong right-footed shot by Reilly after a turnover, out for another corner kick in the 64th.
UC San Diego had several more chances to put the game out of reach. Ray shot a short pass by Reilly on the left side of the six-yard box, right into Rucki's arms in the 76th. Then Barber produced a great right-footer from just outside the penalty area in the 83rd, that Rucki leapt to make a tremendous save on, out for a corner kick.
Ramos, a redshirt junior, finished with seven saves in net, a high for her Triton career. The individual clean sheet was her fourth of 2018 and 16th in all at UC San Diego. Rucki was credited with a career-best 10 stops for the Gators.
Center back Kelsey Kimball, left back Delaney Whittet, right back Natalie Widmer and holding central midfielder Natalie Saddic (San Diego/Torrey Pines HS) all also played the full 90 minutes in front of Ramos, anchoring the shutout.
UC San Diego finished with a 21-9 advantage in shots.
The Tritons conclude a season-long four-game road stretch next weekend, closer to home against Southern California foes Cal State San Bernardino on Friday, Oct. 12, and Cal Poly Pomona on Sunday, Oct. 14.
Triton Notes: UC San Diego leads the all-time series, 18-3-6, with four straight wins ... The Tritons are an undefeated 9-0-4 over their last 13 meetings with the Gators, and have not allowed a goal to San Francisco State in 551:27, since the first half of a 1-1 draw in La Jolla in 2013 ... The Tritons used the same starting lineup for the 12th successive game to begin the season ... Angelica Ramos' previous high for saves as a Triton was five, which she reached five times ... UC San Diego is 7-1 in one-goal decisions in 2018 ... The Tritons eclipsed 20 shots for the fifth time this year.
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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