LA JOLLA, Calif. - The UC San Diego women’s soccer team needed a night like Friday night.
Winless over its previous six (0-3-3) with three straight losses, longtime head coach Brian McMaus’ squad showed that it won’t relinquish its 2012 California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) crown without a fight, gutting out a 2-1 triumph over 25th-ranked CCAA South Division leader Cal State San Bernardino at Triton Soccer Stadium courtesy of an 82nd-minute Cassie Callahan (Coronado/Coronado HS) goal.
With the victory, UCSD evened its records at 4-4-3 overall and 3-3-3 in the CCAA. CSUSB, unbeaten over its previous seven (6-0-1) with four straight wins coming in, all on the road, dropped to 8-3-1 overall and 6-2-1 in league play. The Tritons also got a lot of help elsewhere, as they completed the day as the only one of six teams in the South to garner all three points from their respective contests.
UCSD, which began play Friday in fifth, thus now sits in a two-way tie for second with Cal Poly Pomona at 12 points apiece, seven points back of CSUSB.
The Tritons were unable to hold a 1-0 edge attained through a 63rd-minute Kiera Bocchino goal. The redshirt freshman winger latched onto a short cross from the left end line by Jamie Benedetto on the opposite side of the Coyote frame, and managed to sneak her shot in between CSUSB goalkeeper Chelsey Jones and the near post for a 1-0 lead at 62:25. It was Bocchino’s second on the year. Benedetto and fellow freshman Kristen Sampietro were each credited with their first collegiate assists.
The visitors equalized in the 76th minute as leading scorer Kiana Quarles, a freshman San Diego native (Steele Canyon HS), was first to the rebound after Triton goalie Kelcie Brodsky had made a nice save on a long-distance Carissa Kutkowski effort.
It was Callahan in the end who made the difference, however, the junior All-American producing a classy goal at 81:39, expertly guiding her right-footed shot into the lower left corner off a right-sided feed from Benedetto. Junior Izzy Pozurama’s clever dummy as the ball skipped by, also helped to free up Callahan for her team-leading fifth, and the day’s decider. It was her fourth game-winner of 2013.
Brodsky wound up with six saves, with Jones matching that total. CSUSB held a 15-10 shot advantage.
Prior to the goals, in the 55th minute, Paige Kang’s initial free-kick attempt was blocked right back to her by the Triton wall, with the Coyote freshman’s immediate rebound blast being saved with difficulty by Brodsky diving low to her left.
UCSD continues a season-long six-match homestand this Sunday, Oct. 13, hosting another divisional foe in Chico State. Kickoff at Triton Soccer Stadium is set for 11:30 a.m., preceding the men’s game at 2 p.m.
Triton Notes: UCSD leads the all-time series, 31-5-6 ... The Coyotes had won the previous meeting in La Jolla, 1-0 in overtime on Sept. 30, 2012 ... The earlier match-up this year ended in a 1-1 deadlock in San Bernardino on Sept. 22 ... UCSD completed the first half with seven true freshmen on the field at the same time ... One of those freshmen, Alexis Leon, made her first appearance since the Sept. 5 opener, playing 56 minutes, tops among seven Triton substitutes.