LA JOLLA, Calif. -
The UC San Diego men's soccer team will wrap up its regular season with a home-and-home series against Cal State East Bay this weekend, with UCSD traveling to face CSUEB at 7:00 p.m. on Friday in Hayward and then returning home on Sunday for an 11:30 a.m. tilt at Triton Soccer Field.
UCSD (6-6-4 overall, 6-5-3 CCAA) sits in fifth place in the CCAA South Division with 21 points, trailing second-place Cal State Dominguez Hills by five points for the final CCAA postseason birth. Mathematically, UCSD can still qualify for the CCAA postseason tournament, but it will take a pair of wins by UCSD, a pair of losses by CSUDH, and help from third-place Cal State L.A. (25 points) and fourth-place Cal Poly Pomona (22 points) over the weekend to do so.
In the CCAA, the North and South Division winners plus the next two teams with the highest point totals advance to a four-team single elimination tournament to determine the CCAA champion and automatic entrant into the NCAA Division II Championship.
The Tritons' portion of the equation seems doable, as the Pioneers come into the weekend with a 2-14-2 overall record and a 1-11-2 record in CCAA play. CSUEB has lost its last eight contests while being outscored by its opponents, 2-26.
UCSD came into last weekend unbeaten in its last eight contests, sitting in third place in the CCAA South, just two points away from the final slot into the CCAA postseason. However, the Tritons were dealt a pair of losses over the weekend to Cal Poly Pomona and No. 3 Cal State San Bernardino, putting themselves in precarious playoff position.
Despite outnumbering CPP in shots and corner kicks, 18-12 and 7-4, respectively, UCSD fell to the Broncos, 2-1, on Friday afternoon. Luis Gonzalez found teammate Anthony Salcedo to put the Broncos up 1-0 in the first 10 minutes of the match, and then scored a goal of his own to make it 2-0 in the 52nd minute. Jared Kukura
, the reigning CCAA Player of the Week, would score on a header for his team-leading third goal on the season, but the Tritons could not find the equalizer prior to the final whistle.
In Sunday's match against first-place CSUSB, the top-ranked team in the West Region with a 12-3-1 overall record, UCSD fell, 1-0, on a goal by Coyote forward Jose Godinez. UCSD was out-shot by CSUSB, 9-8. Andisheh Bagheri
led all Triton attackers with two shots and goalkeeper Josh Cohen
made five saves. It marked the first time the Tritons had lost consecutive games since their three-match skid between Sept. 4-12.
Cal State East Bay comes into the weekend after a 7-0 loss to Cal Poly Pomona last Sunday, a game in which the Pioneers were out-shot, 39-9. Alexis Romo leads all CSUEB attackers with three goals on the year. UCSD is 4-0 all-time against CSUEB.
Interestingly enough, the Tritons are ranked ninth in the CCAA in all offensive team categories- shots, points, goals, goals per game, assists, and assists per game.
The CCAA Championships are Friday, Nov. 5 and Sunday, Nov. 7 on the campus of Cal State Stanislaus in Turlock. Time of kickoff is still to be determined for both rounds.