LA JOLLA, Calif. - Trailing 3-0 late in the second half, the UC San Diego men's soccer team scored two goals to pull within one, but ultimately came up short and dropped a 3-2 decision to visiting Cal State Dominguez Hills in a key CCAA South matchup on Sunday afternoon at Triton Soccer Field.
After surrendering three goals in the first half, Cory Wolfrom and Alec Arsht scored 43 seconds a part late in the second stanza, but the Tritons could not come through with the tying score.
CSUDH got a pair of first half goals from Miguel Vasquez and another score from Jordan Rover to take control and then held off a furious UCSD rally to sweep the season series from the Tritons. The Toros improved to 10-3-1 overall and 8-3-1 in California Collegiate Athletic Association play with the win.
UCSD falls to 6-8-0 overall and 5-7-0 with its fourth consecutive defeat.
"We had our chances all game long," head coach Jon Pascale said. "First half, second half, we had some great looks at the goal and unfortunately we didn't finish until late in the game. In this sport you've got to finish your chances and you can't give up early goals."
The Tritons gave up three goals in the first half for the second consecutive game, with Vaquez opening the scoring for Cal State Dominguez Hills in the 11th minute. Ronald Ybarra got the ball in space and dribbled to his right on the wing before finding a streaking Vasquez to his left for the early goal and 1-0 advantage.
Vasquez was a facilitator in the Toros' second goal as he worked a nice give-and-go with Rover on the left side just inside the 10 less than eight minutes later. Rover finished past UCSD goalkeeper Jesse Brennan to make it 2-0 in favor of the visitors.
Vasquez would strike again at the 32:28 mark on a nice pass from Juan Quinonez to give CSUDH a commanding 3-0 cushion.
"We've been pretty disorganized in the back to start and with a couple of injuries we've had a few different looks back there," Pascale said of his team's rough first half. "The guys have seemed a little tentative and it's cost us two games in a row."
Despite the three-goal deficit, UCSD was clearly the better side in the second half. After Toro keeper Juan Quiroz made stops on decent chances by Wolfrom and Andrew Keimach midway through the period, the Tritons finally broke through in the 81st minute.
Wolfrom was taken down from behind in the box and earned a penalty kick on the play in the 81st minute. The sophomore midfielder calmly sent the ensuing attempt past Quiroz for his second goal of the season and put UCSD on the board, 3-1.
The Tritons came right back with another goal less than a minute later, taking advantage of another CSUDH foul deep in their own territory. Midfielder Alex Portela sent a perfect free kick from the left side straight to Arsht in the box, who punched it home to the keeper's right and cut the deficit to 3-2.
The score was Arsht's first of the year.
UCSD would have two final looks at the equalizer in the waning moments, but Portela's attempt in the 84th minute missed right and Arshts' header with 30 seconds left also sailed wide.
Quiroz finished with seven saves in goal for the Toros, while Brennan made just one save for the Tritons. The lone stop was a big one though, as he denied a penalty shot from Ybarra in the 35th minute.
The Tritions will continue their current six-match homestand next weekend when Humboldt State and Sonoma State come to town on Friday and Sunday.