LA JOLLA, Calif. - The 17th-ranked UC San Diego men’s soccer team rode a first-half goal to yet another shutout victory, 1-0 over Cal Poly Pomona, in California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) action at Triton Soccer Stadium on Sunday.
In reaching the 10-win mark on the season, now with nine clean sheets, UCSD improved to 10-2-2 overall and 8-2-2 in the CCAA. The Tritons remain in third place in the CCAA South as leader Chico State and second-place Cal State L.A. each came up with 2-0 triumphs Sunday. They did, however, strengthen their hold of the final qualifying spot for the 2013 CCAA Championship, with fourth-place Cal State Dominguez Hills suffering that defeat to CSULA. UCSD thus takes a five-point lead over the Toros into the final four matches of the regular season.
Cal Poly Pomona stayed winless over its last six at 0-3-3 with just a single goal scored, falling to 5-5-4 overall and 3-5-4 in league play.
Senior playmaker Andisheh Bagheri accounted for the lone goal over the 90 minutes, powering his penalty kick past Bronco goalkeeper Fernando Pablo Quevedo at 37:39 after UCSD had been awarded the chance due to a handball in the opposing box.
It was Bagheri’s team-leading sixth goal of 2013, a team-best four of them now game-winners. The Davis native, who scored two goals over his first three seasons in Triton colors, is a perfect four-for-four from the penalty spot this year.
Sunday’s result marked UCSD’s fifth 1-0 triumph of the campaign, the last three of which have come at home through Bagheri goals, with a free kick against Sonoma State (9/29) and penalties against Cal State San Bernardino (10/13) and CPP.
Josh Cohen was not called upon to make a single save in posting his ninth individual shutout in goal for UCSD. The senior All-American now has 21 clean sheets for his four-year career. The nine in 2013 are his single-season best.
Cohen’s defensive foursome of seniors Alec Arsht and Gavin Lamming, junior Matthew McClure and redshirt freshman Brett Sampiere (Solana Beach/Torrey Pines HS) allowed just seven shots to the Broncos, none on target. Freshman Malek Bashti had to replace Arsht for two minutes in the second half due to a brief injury. Taylor Wirth (Escondido/La Costa Canyon HS), Bagheri’s partner in central midfield, was also key in the effort, disrupting the Cal Poly Pomona offense with his constant running over the full 90 and ball-winning ability.
UCSD began the week ranked No. 1 in the entire NCAA Division II in team goals-against average (0.33) and shutout percentage (0.67). Those numbers currently stand at 0.34 and 0.64, respectively.
Of their nine shots on the afternoon, aside from Bagheri’s decisive one, the Tritons came closest to scoring just 5:30 into the match, as junior striker Alessandro Canale whipped a near-post header from a Cory Wolfrom corner kick, only to see the ball come off the inside of the far post before Quevedo slapped it out of danger.
A season-long six-match homestand concludes next weekend against a pair of North Division foes in San Francisco State (Oct. 25, 7 p.m.) and Cal State Monterey Bay (Oct. 27, 2 p.m.).
Triton Notes: The Tritons moved to a perfect 9-0 when scoring first this season and 8-0 when leading at halftime ... UCSD leads the all-time series, 24-8-2 ... The Tritons swept the 2012 season series with a pair of 1-0 shutouts and have actually now won four consecutive 1-0 decisions over the Broncos since a 3-0 loss in Pomona on Sept. 18, 2011, with CPP going scoreless over the last 385:31 ... UCSD has also won four straight home meetings, all via shutout, with a shutout streak of 402:26 against the Broncos in La Jolla ... These teams meet again in Pomona on Friday, Nov. 1 (4:30 p.m.) ... UCSD is 5-1-1 at Triton Soccer Stadium this season with just two goals allowed, both on dead balls (free kick, penalty kick), in 652:09 ... The Tritons still have not let up more than one goal in any of their past 18 matches since a 3-0 loss at Cal State Dominguez Hills late in the 2012 campaign ... UCSD has 21 shutouts over its last 30 games going back to 2012.