POMONA, Calif. - Alexa Enlow scored her first goal of the season in the 57th minute and it proved to be the game-winner, as the No. 21 UC San Diego women's soccer team outlasted Cal Poly Pomona, 1-0, in California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) play Friday night in Pomona.
UCSD has now won seven consecutive matches and remains unbeaten in its last 10 contests. The Tritons are 8-0-2 over that span and have now improved to 11-2-2 overall and 9-2-2 in CCAA play. The loss drops CPP to 6-6-3 overall and 4-6-3 in conference play.
Pomona outshot UC San Diego 9-4 in the opening half, forcing UCSD net-minder Kristin Armstrong to make six saves. During a five minute period midway through the half, Armstrong would be called to task five times; however, the teams would go into halftime tied, 0-0.
UCSD would get its game-winner just over 10 minutes into the second half, as Annette Ilg found an open Enlow with a cross from outside the box. Enlow leapt over her nearest defender, heading the ball far-post past CPP goalie Sarah Rohman. Ilg now has three assists within her last three games and is tied with Shelby Wong for second-most on the team with four assists on the season.
"We were lucky to get away with a poor first half tonight," said UCSD head coach Brian McManus. "They had some chances. But the people coming off the bench played well and gave us a lift in the second half."
Enlow was one of the players McManus was referring to, as the sophomore from Huntington Beach, Calif. came on in the 29th minute for Jessica Wi and ultimately left her mark on the match.
Her score could not have been timelier for the Tritons as they battle through the last portion of their regular season with CCAA playoff seeding on the mind. As of Friday night, UCSD sits in second place with 29 points in the CCAA South Division, trailing Cal State L.A. by a single point for the division lead. In the North Division, San Francisco State leads with 29 points while Cal State Stanislaus is second with 25 points. Cal State Dominguez Hills matches CSUS's 25 points, but sits in third place in the CCAA South.
The two CCAA 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. If the season were to end Friday night, UCSD would be granted the No. 3 seed, with CSULA, SFSU, and either CSUS or CSUDH joining the Tritons in the postseason tournament.
However, with three matches remaining for each contender, there is still much left to be decided.
"Sunday's match at Cal State San Bernardino is massive," said McManus. "Every game is a playoff game now."
UCSD travels to face Cal State San Bernardino on Sunday at 11:30 a.m. UCSD leads the all-time series between the two teams, 27-4-4. In their latest battle on Oct. 1, the Tritons took down the Coyotes, 2-0, at Triton Soccer Field.