HAYWARD, Calif. -
The UC San Diego women's soccer team got goals from Jessica Wi
, Cassie Callahan
and a double-overtime winner from Izzy Pozurama
to overturn a two-goal halftime deficit and post a dramatic 3-2 triumph over Cal State East Bay at Pioneer Stadium on Friday.
With the come-from-behind triumph, UCSD improved to 12-2-2 overall and 10-2-2 in the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA). The Tritons had already clinched at least a share last Sunday of their 11th CCAA South Division title, but now claim the divisional crown outright. The result also keeps them firmly in the hunt for an NCAA postseason berth, and keeps UCSD's hopes alive of hosting a regional.
Cal State East Bay fell to 6-10-1 overall and 2-10-1 in conference play. The Tritons remain an undefeated 6-0 against the Pioneers all-time.
As 101:47 showed on the clock and the match a little more than eight minutes away from ending in a draw that would have damaged UCSD's NCAA aspirations, Pozurama managed to put the ball in the back of the Pioneer net for her seventh goal of the season, all coming over the last six games. The sophomore has collected those scores now in five victories, and had three of the game-winners.
"If we want to progress (in the postseason), we have to play a lot better," said a reserved Brian McManus. "It was an ugly game. We started to play a bit in the second half, and did well to get the goals we needed to win the game. We worked hard enough, and deserved it in the end.
"That's two weeks in a row that we have had a bad first half (Sunday against Chico State), and were able to respond in the second half and win the game. But against the better teams, if you do that (have the bad first halves), they are going to punish you. You're not always going to be that lucky."
Wi, a fourth-year senior, had begun the fight-back in earnest with her strike from 15 yards at 68:38, marking her third of the campaign. Laura Gordon earned her third assist, as well as postgame praise from her coach.
"Izzy's done well in recent weeks, but Laura Gordon did great today," remarked McManus. "She was on the park for all three goals. She was fantastic coming off the bench."
Within 10 minutes, at 78:35, the score was deadlocked, with Callahan, a sophomore out of Coronado, heading home her team-leading eighth from Wi's service.
The Tritons had opened the second half with a pair of shots from seniors Danielle Dixon and Gabi Hernandez, both of which were saved by freshman Pioneer goalkeeper Jamie Botteon. UCSD also pelted the East Bay net with a trio of corner-kick opportunities in between the two goals, culminating in a header from senior center back and tri-captain Ellen Wilson that went high of the target in the 78th.
The game got off to a flying start as Callahan found the post with the afternoon's first shot at 2:01.
Just 25 seconds later, it was already 1-0, only in favor of the host Pioneers. Junior forward Breahna Berry launched an attempt from around 30 yards out that turned into her third goal of the season. Kara Yamamoto and Shannon Fontes had assists.
In the fourth minute, a header by East Bay's Katie Brawley, a junior midfielder and San Diego native, was cleared out of danger by a Triton defender.
Back-to-back shots by top scorer Shianna Falk and Sara Yamasaki in the 20th minute necessitated saves out of freshman Triton goalkeeper Kelcie Brodsky.
The Tritons were denied by the woodwork a second time in the 27th minute when sophomore right back Michelle Yasutake knocked her shot off the post.
Moments before the halftime intermission at the 43:16 mark, Cal State East Bay doubled its advantage. Anne Dunne, who had only entered the game 27 seconds earlier, tallied her second of 2012 on a shot from inside the penalty area. Yamamoto was credited with her second assist of the match and team-leading ninth of the year.
Cal State East Bay had eight shots over the first 45 minutes, to three by UCSD.
"In the first half, we were absolutely terrible," said McManus. "It was the worst we've looked in a long time. We couldn't put two passes together, and they played out wide and scored two goals."
Coming out of the break, however, the Tritons exerted their authority and mounted their comeback, outshooting the Pioneers 19-1 the rest of the way.
Brodsky finished with three saves for UCSD, with Botteon managing seven stops of her own. The match marked the first time in 2012 that the Tritons allowed more than one goal in a single contest.
UCSD winds up the 2012 regular season against Cal State Monterey Bay in Seaside at 2 p.m. this Sunday, Oct. 28. The Tritons will then await their semifinal match-up of the 2012 CCAA Championship at Toro Stadium in Carson on Friday, Nov. 2.
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