LA JOLLA, Calif. -
The seventh-ranked UC San Diego women's soccer team took care of business on Sunday, defeating visiting Cal Poly Pomona 2-0 at Triton Soccer Field to wrap up the regular season on a winning note.
Gabi Hernandez scored what proved to be the game-winner in the 50th minute and Izzy Pozurama added an insurance goal with less than 10 minutes to play as the Tritons recorded their fifth consecutive victory.
UCSD, which had already locked up the No. 1 seed in next week's California Collegiate Athletic Association Tournament with its victory over San Francisco State on Friday, concludes the regular season at 13-1-4 overall and finishes the year with a conference tally of 12-1-3.
The Tritons will head to Turlock looking for their first CCAA Tournament title since 2008. While the conference office has yet to make an official announcement, UCSD will likely face host Cal State Stanislaus in a semifinal matchup Friday at 1:30 p.m. at Warrior Stadium.
Cal State Stanislaus (9-4-5, 8-4-4 CCAA) knocked off Humboldt State 5-0 earlier Sunday to claim the fourth and final CCAA Tournament berth.
After a lackluster first half against Pomona (8-6-4, 6-6-4 CCAA), UCSD wasted little time getting on the board in the second period. Set piece specialist Hayley Johnson sent a corner kick through the box and freshman midfielder Cassie Callahan ran down the loose ball on the right side. She took two dribbles towards the baseline and centered a beautiful cross back in front of the net for Hernandez, who gathered herself and punched it home to give the Tritons the 1-0 advantage at the 49:31 mark.
The score marked Hernandez' third goal of the season and the third assist for Callahan.
Johnson was involved on the Tritons' second goal of the afternoon as well, passing into a crowded box in the 82nd minute. With several players surrounding the ball, Pozurama was able to get enough on it to send it past Bronco keeper Emily Miller to put the match out of reach for the visitors.
It was Pozurama's third goal of the season and the 13th assist for Johnson.
"Pomona came here today to try and fight for the last spot in the region and they came to play," head coach Brian McManus
said. "I thought our players did exceptionally well weathering their
attack in the first half and then we were able to take over in the
While Hernandez, Pozurama and Johnson were the stars offensively, the Triton defense was outstanding in its own right, pitching a fifth consecutive shutout. UCSD's defense has not allowed a goal since Cal State L.A. found the net in overtime on October 14, a span of well over 450 minutes.
Senior goalkeeper Kristin Armstrong had a big hand in the performance, recording seven saves between the pipes on the way to her 11th shutout of the season. The Anaheim native made a diving save to deny the Broncos' Justine Barclay in the 11th minute and swallowed up a header from Valerie Strawn less than two minutes later.
The Broncos' best chance came in the 79th minute when Armstrong was drawn out of position by a Pomona attacker, but she quickly recovered to stop a shot by Jennifer Rivera and Callie Wilson's ensuing attempt sailed over the cross bar to end the threat.
"There was a stretch in the second half where Kristin was the (woman) of the match, without a doubt," McManus added. "If they would have scored when we were up 1-0, it really could have turned the game in their favor, but Kristin kept us in the match."
UCSD outshot CPP 14-10 for the game and held a 9-3 edge on corner kicks.
Sunday was also Senior Day at Triton Soccer Field with UCSD's nine seniors being honored prior to the match.