LA JOLLA, Calif. -
Coming off an impressive 1-0 victory at Cal State L.A. on Sunday, the UC San Diego men's soccer team returns to Triton Soccer Field this weekend to host No. 14 Chico State and Cal State Stanislaus. Friday's match against the Wildcats is slated for 7:00 p.m. while Sunday's contest versus the Warriors is set for 2:00 p.m.
Over their last six matches, the Tritons (4-3-3) have compiled a 4-0-2 record while outscoring opponents 7-1 in that span. Despite tying first-place Cal State Dominguez Hills, 0-0, and beating CSULA last weekend, UCSD dropped one spot in the CCAA South Division standings to fifth place, where it trails fourth place Cal Poly Pomona by a single point. The Tritons' two opponents this weekend, Chico State (7-3-0) and CSU Stanislaus (5-3-2), sit at No. 1 and No. 3 respectively in the conference's North Division.
UCSD currently holds the longest unbeaten streak in the conference at six and much of that success can be attributed to the squad's backline. Goalkeeper Jesse Brennan
has been a wall of late, conceding just a single goal over the last eight matches. His 0.76 goals against average is tops in the CCAA amongst goalkeepers who have played in at least 10 conference matches. Defenders Alec Arsht
and Jared Kukura
, who have played every minute in 2010, have provided a solid back-line for their goalkeeper, forcing Brennan to make just 3.64 saves per match, eighth-best in the CCAA.
UCSD injected a little drama into its 1-0 win at CSULA on Sunday, as junior Kasra Sarabakhsh
, who led the team with five shots in the match, earned his second yellow card in the 62nd minute, leaving the Tritons a man-down with nearly 30 minutes left to play. Minutes later, sophomore substitute Adam Zernik
laced a perfectly-placed free kick inside the far post, securing the game-winner on his first career goal in a Triton uniform. UCSD is now 11-8-1 all-time against CSULA.
This week, the Tritons continue conference play against North Division foes, Chico State and Cal State Stanislaus. Friday's contest against the Wildcats will be the 13th all-time meeting between Chico and UCSD, with the Tritons holding a record of 7-4-1 in the series. In 2009, the teams battled to a 1-1 tie in Chico.
The Wildcats started the year 5-0 but have been mediocre of late, going 2-2 over their last four contests. Goalkeeper James Stroud has the highest save percentage in the CCAA at .840 while forward Ferid Celosmanovic is tied for the conference lead with four game-winning goals. The Wildcats lead the North Division by a full-game over Sonoma State after their 2-1 road victory over Humboldt State on Oct. 10.
Sunday's match promises to be a physical bout between the Tritons and Warriors, as Cal State Stanislaus holds the conspicuous designation of leading the CCAA in fouls (202) and yellow cards (32). UCSD is 0-2-1 against Stanislaus dating back to 2007, but holds a 10-3-2 all-time record in the series.
Cal State Stanislaus is 1-2-1 over its last four matches and trails Sonoma State by a single point for second place in the CCAA North after falling to the Seawolves 4-3 over the weekend. The Warriors scoring attack has been led by three players with four goals each on the season; Jio Santana, Andres Zamora, and Brady Marshall. In their loss to Sonoma, Marshall found the back of the net twice, while Santana contributed the other scoring strike.
Currently sitting in fifth place in the CCAA South with only six conference matches remaining, the Tritons must make the most of this weekend if they are to catch first place Cal State Dominguez Hills and qualify for a birth in the post-season. UCSD's 15 points trail CSUDH (20 points), Cal State San Bernadino (19 points), Cal State L.A. (16 points), and Cal Poly Pomona (16 points) in the South Division standings. Cal State East Bay rounds out the table with five points.