SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. - Near mirror images.
On Friday at Chico State, the UC San Diego men’s soccer team got a 28th-minute Taylor Wirth goal and held on for a 1-0 shutout victory with goalkeeper Josh Cohen making three saves to earn the clean sheet.
On Sunday, Gavin Lamming headed in a lone goal in the 27th minute, and the Tritons expertly closed out another 1-0 whitewash of Cal State San Bernardino at Coyote Premier Field. This time, Cohen, the senior All-American, stopped four shots for his third shutout of the season and 15th of his career.
With its second 1-0 road victory in three days, UCSD improved to 4-1-1 overall and 2-1-1 in the California Collegiate Athletic Association. South Division rival Cal State San Bernardino, which had entered its first home weekend of the year undefeated with no goals allowed in six matches, fell to 4-2-2 overall and an even 2-2 in league play following a second successive 1-0 setback.
“I couldn’t be happier with the weekend,” remarked UCSD head coach Jon Pascale. “There were moments where we were really good, and looked very good. There were also moments that weren’t so pretty, but the guys stuck together in both games. The Sunday of the longest road trip of the season is always a challenge. The guys did a great job of doing what they needed to do.
“We knew going into halftime of both games, up a goal, that as long as we did not give (the opponent) anything, they were going to have a very difficult time getting a goal on us. That’s exactly what we did. We didn’t make any mistakes. Chances were all from set pieces and long balls. We have guys that are good in the air, and a goalie who handles those situations well. We gave up one open shot (today), and the guy was 20 yards away. I’m very happy with the defensive part of it. We had a chance to go 2-0 up and put the game out of reach, which I would have liked for us to do, but I’m happier with the clean sheet.”
Sunday’s result meant a first weekend road sweep of CCAA matches for the Tritons since 2010, when they blanked Cal State Monterey Bay 1-0 on Friday, Sept. 24, and San Francisco State, 2-0, two days later.
The first shot of the afternoon came from senior Triton winger Cory Wolfrom, wide of the target in the 12th minute.
At 26:34, Lamming moved up from his center back position to direct his header on target from a corner kick sent in by junior teammate Jacob Valadez. It was the senior’s first goal of the season, and gave UCSD a 1-0 edge it would not relinquish.
“(The goal) was pretty straightforward,” added Pascale. “Jake (Valadez) whipped a corner kick right where it needed to be, Lamming out-jumped his guy, soared above everyone and headed it into the back of the goal.”
The home side was not credited with its first shot of the day until the 42nd minute, when Cohen saved Larry Llamas’ attempt.
In the 57th minute, A.J. Beloff collected his first shot as a Triton, his header going over the crossbar on the Coyote goal. The junior college transfer went wide with another header five minutes later.
Cohen denied Juan Gonzalez and Carlos Bailon for his second and third saves of the contest in the 66th and 70th minutes, respectively. A Diego Mendoza attempt was blocked away in the 76th, with Lee Nishanian’s header off the ensuing Gonzalez corner kick going wide.
With 110 seconds left in regulation, Cohen turned away Gonzalez on one final Coyote opportunity to knot the score and send the game into overtime. CSUSB sophomore goalkeeper Jeff Salt wound up with a single save to Cohen’s four.
Having concluded a season-long four-match road stretch to begin the conference portion of its schedule, UCSD finally returns home next weekend. Kickoff against Humboldt State on Friday, Sept. 27, is set for 4:30 p.m. at Triton Soccer Stadium.
“We’re 4-1-1 overall with five of six on the road, four in conference,” concluded Pascale. “We’ve weathered a couple of injuries and look like we’ll be back to full strength soon, so I’m pretty happy with that record right now.
“I think we’ve seen some of the better teams in the conference, and we’re right there. As always, the CCAA is going to be very tight, with a lot of talented sides, but I feel like we’re as good as anybody.”
Triton Notes: UCSD leads the all-time series, 18-16-6 ... The Tritons are 4-0-1 over the last five meetings since a 1-0 loss in San Bernardino on Oct. 24, 2010 ... Sunday’s match marked a 10th straight dating back to the end of the 2012 season in which UCSD held its opponent to either one goal or no goals ... Lamming’s goal was the fourth of his career, and first of the game-winning variety ... The assist by Valadez was his second as a Triton ... Freshman Nick Palano made his second appearance as a first-half substitute ... UCSD was outshot in all four games of this road stretch.