LA JOLLA, Calif. -
The UC San Diego women's soccer team tripled Chico State in shots, but the Tritons could not find the net in their 1-0 loss to the Wildcats in the NCAA Tournament Second Round on Sunday afternoon at Triton Soccer Stadium.
UCSD out-shot CSUC 14-4 in the contest, but it only took one strike from Wildcat striker Lisa Webster to make the difference. Chico (12-6-4) advances to the third round of play in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history.
The Tritons fell in back-to-back games for the first time this season and will end the year at 13-3-4 overall.
"The team played as well as they have played within the last month or so, but today was just one of those days," said UCSD head coach Brian McManus. "It wasn't meant to be. The ball wasn't going to go in the back of their net. (Chico State) got one decent scoring opportunity and they took it."
UCSD had a flurry of chances to start the match. 10 minutes in, Sarah McTigue beat a defender along the right side before dribbling hard toward the corner. Before she reached the end line, she cut a pass back towards the penalty spot at a 45-degree angle for Gabi Hernandez. Hernandez cracked it one-time, albeit straight at Wildcat goalie Brianna Furner.
Three minutes later, on the Tritons' first corner kick, Hayley Johnson sent a high, arching ball towards the back post. The ball floated over Furner's punch attempt, but was cleared off the line by CSUC defender Kelly Skelton.
On their first opportunity at goal, the Wildcats took advantage. After subbing in on a dead ball in the 24th minute, Megan Tabler won the ball at midfield on the ensuing UCSD goal kick. She picked up her head and noticed a gap in the middle of the UCSD defense before playing a perfectly weighted ball behind the back line for Webster, who was streaking into the box along the right side. Webster beat Johnson to the ball, sliding in before one-timing a shot into the back of the net. It marked her seventh goal of the year.
Triton midfielder Anne Wethe nearly tied it up five minutes later, collecting the ball 25 yards from goal. Noticing a little space between herself and the defender, Wethe bent a shot high to the left post but it missed wide left.
Chances were hard to come by in the second half, as the teams frantically battled to keep possession of the ball. With a half hour remaining, McTigue played a low ball across the box from the left flank that was tipped out to Wethe. All alone at the top of the box, Wethe cracked a shot to the middle of the frame, but it was palmed over the bar by Furner.
The Tritons' final chances came off a pair of corner kicks by Johnson, but to no avail. With 15 minutes left, Johnson played a high ball to the back post that dropped to Britnee Chesney. Chesney took a touch before firing a low shot to the front post. Once again, it was pushed away by Furner.
Johnson and Chesney hooked up with a minute left in regulation off another corner, but Chesney's header at the back post sailed high and wide.
"Give (Chico) credit. They played very well and good luck to them next weekend," said McManus.
Sunday's contest was the final collegiate match for nine Triton seniors- McTigue, Wethe, Kristin Armstrong, Sarah Garland, Lindsay Mills, Courtney Capobianco, Katie Kuykendall, Sara Spaventa and Shelby Wong.