CARSON, Calif. - The 20th-ranked UC San Diego women’s soccer team got a 61st-minute penalty-kick goal by junior All-American Cassie Callahan (Coronado/Coronado HS) and made it hold up in a 1-0 defeat of Cal State Dominguez Hills in the 2013 California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) opener for both programs at Toro Stadium on Friday.
With the win, UCSD improved to 2-1 overall and 1-0 in the CCAA. CSUDH dropped to 1-2 overall and 0-1 in league play.
After freshman striker Jamie Benedetto was judged by the match official to have been fouled inside the Toro penalty area, Callahan stepped up and converted the spot kick with the scoreboard clock reading 60:14. It was her second goal already of the season, both now being game-winners.
“Jamie (Benedetto) got a ball in the box, faked one way, turned the other, and the defender pulled her down,” said longtime UCSD head coach Brian McManus about the critical play in the contest. “Otherwise, she would have been one-on-one with the goalkeeper. Cassie (Callahan) actually got a bit lucky on the (penalty kick). (The Toro) goalkeeper guessed right, but made her move so quickly that she overplayed the ball and it rolled over the top of her. We’ll take it, though.”
The match was evenly played apart from the lone score, with each side being credited with 14 shots taken. Benedetto had a chance to clinch the three points late, but her effort was cleared away from danger by a Toro defender. The Santa Barbara product led UCSD with four shots.
Triton goalkeeper Kelcie Brodsky made seven saves in posting her first shutout of the season and 10th of her career. Her counterpart, fellow sophomore Jennifer Ackerly, made a pair of stops in the Cal State Dominguez Hills net. Melanie DeSalvo produced match highs of five shots and two shots on goal for the Toros.
“After the game against Western Washington (a 1-0 home loss last Saturday night), to come here, a very tough place to play, we knew we were going to find out something about our team’s make-up,” added McManus. “It was a real battle in the second half, but Kelcie (Brodsky) came up with some big saves, and some of our freshmen kids came on and did ever so well. They kept our momentum up and we were able to make a big play that turned out to be the difference.
“In the last 10 minutes, they threw everything at us and had a very dangerous free kick just outside the box, but we were able to escape. It was a big win.”
UCSD makes another short trip north to Los Angeles on Sunday, Sept. 15, to take on the Cal State L.A. Golden Eagles beginning at 2 p.m.
Triton Notes: UCSD is now 8-6 historically in CCAA openers ... The Tritons are an undefeated 9-0-1 in true road matches going back through the 2012 season ... UCSD leads the all-time series with the Toros, 22-16-5 ... The Tritons are an unbeaten 6-0-3 over their last nine meetings with CSUDH since a 2-1 overtime loss in La Jolla in the 2009 regular-season finale ... UCSD has won six straight in Carson, five by one-goal margins, and is unbeaten there against CSUDH since 2004 (8-0-1) ... Callahan now has 15 goals for her career, with six game-winners ... Junior Laura Zellinger made her season debut in a reserve role.