LA JOLLA, Calif. -
The UC San Diego men's soccer team scored two first half goals and held on for a 2-0 win over Cal State Stanislaus in California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) play Sunday afternoon at Triton Soccer Field.
UCSD, who remains unbeaten in its last eight contests, moves to 6-4-4 on the season and 6-3-3 in CCAA competition. CSUS falls to 7-4-3 overall and 6-4-2 in the CCAA.
The Tritons have outscored their opponents 12-3 during their unbeaten streak and have moved into third place in the CCAA South Division with 21 points, just five points behind first-place Cal State Dominguez and four points behind second-place Cal State San Bernadino. With only four conference matches remaining, UCSD is scheduled to play CSUSB on the road next Sunday in a match that promises to be ripe with CCAA post-season implications.
Cal State Stanislaus looked as if it would be the first to score just five minutes into the match, as Warrior attacker Brady Marshall chased down a through-ball and won a fifty-fifty tackle with UCSD's Alec Arsht
in the right corner of the goal box. As the ball trickled in the direction of the goal mouth, Marshall chased it down, making himself one-on-one with UCSD goalkeeper Alex Cohen. Marshall's second touch was a little too strong though, allowing Cohen to come out just far enough to make the last-second save. Cohen would go on to record five saves in relief of usual starter, Jesse Brennan
, who missed Sunday's match with an injury.
The Tritons would crack the scoreless tie in the 11th minute, as David Bakal
won the ball in the air and passed it directly up the middle of the field to Shane Micheil
, who was posting up his defender at the top of CSUS's arc. With his back toward goal, Micheil collected the ball and turned hard to his right, beating his defender before cracking a left-footed rocket off the right-post and into the net.
Facing pressure along their backline, the Tritons cleared a dangerous ball up-field in the 33rd minute. UCSD striker Tsuk Haroush
would leap and win a header between a pair of Warrior defenders, flicking the ball to Adam Zernik
who was hanging out at about 28 yards with acres of free space. Zernik collected the ball with his first touch, putting it within a perfect distance for a clean shot. Zernik cannoned the ball from 25 yards out, ripping it into the net past an outstretched CSUS goalie, who couldn't dive far enough to the right to put a hand on the shot.
The second half was clearly more physical than the first stanza, as both teams combined for six fouls within the first ten minutes. Cohen would be called to task multiple times late in the game, holding up to the challenge each time.
A CSUS free kick would cause havoc inside the UCSD box, as the ball ping-ponged in the crowded area. CSUS's Manny Avila would volley the ball from about four yards away, but his attempt was aimed squarely at the chest of Cohen, who did well to hold on to the ball. Minutes later, CSUS's Jio Santana sent in a bending ball off a free kick from about 20 yards out, but Cohen dove high and to his right, pushing the ball over the crossbar and out of danger for a corner kick.
Despite being outshot, 12-10, and surrendering eight Cal State Stanislaus corner kicks, the UCSD back-line, anchored by Arsht, Jared Kukura
, and Harris Rabin
, was able to absorb the CSUS offensive pressure throughout the afternoon.
UCSD returns to action next weekend, as it travels to face Cal Poly Pomona and Cal State Bakersfield on Friday, Oct. 22 and Sunday, Oct. 24, respectively. Kick-off against CPP is set for 4:30 p.m. CSUSB will face UCSD in a battle for second place in the CCAA South at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday.
UCSD will end the regular season in a home-away series with Cal State East Bay on Halloween weekend, Oct. 29 and 31.