RIVERSIDE, Calif. - The UC San Diego men’s soccer team rallied from a 1-0 halftime deficit, survived a second-half red card and came away with a 2-1 overtime triumph over non-conference foe California Baptist University in the 2013 opener for both sides Thursday at Lancer Field.
At the 93:57 mark, just under four minutes into the first overtime period, senior midfielder Andisheh Bagheri converted a penalty kick into the decisive score after drawing a Lancer foul inside the area. It was Bagheri's third career goal.
Junior forward Alessandro Canale, making his Triton debut, had earlier equalized in the 57th minute with a free-kick strike into the upper right corner from just outside the 18-yard box. Canale would, however, received double yellow cards in the 67th minute, meaning a red-card ejection and UCSD playing a man down for the remaining 23-plus of regulation.
The Tritons (1-0) were able to fend CBU off before finding a way to get the extra-time result. They outshot the Lancers, 14-11, including 9-3 after the halftime break.
The home team had opened the scoring at 21:07 as James Bogdanovich played a ball behind the UCSD defense for Jonathan Fausto to push past senior All-American goalkeeper Josh Cohen. The goal snapped a shutout streak for Cohen personally and the Tritons collectively of 409:42 dating back to last season, when UCSD boasted the lowest goals-against average in the entire NCAA Division II (0.44), with Cohen the individual leader (0.40).
“We were really under the gun in the first half, and gave up a terrible goal, but we held it together,” remarked sixth-year Triton head coach Jon Pascale. “Then after coming back (to tie it), we took another devastating blow with the red card, but weathered the storm again. We’ve got some experienced, veteran guys who wouldn’t let things crumble when it went against us.”
In addition to Canale, junior midfielder Brandon Bauman, redshirt freshman Brett Sampiere (Solana Beach/Torrey Pines HS) and freshman forward Malek Bashti all donned a UCSD uniform for the first time. Bauman and Sampiere joined Canale in the starting lineup.
Cohen finished the contest with four saves. Fellow senior Joey Pacheco, the two-time Pacific West Conference Goalkeeper of the Year, stopped five shots for the Lancers, eligible for the first time for the NCAA Division II Championship following a successful three-year transition period. CBU (0-1) won back-to-back National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) titles over the past two years.
UCSD now awaits its 2013 home opener against crosstown rival Point Loma this Saturday, Sept. 7. Kickoff at Triton Soccer Stadium is set for 4:30 p.m., with the No. 3 UCSD women hosting No. 12 Western Washington at approximately 7 p.m.
Triton Notes: UCSD is now 4-1 against CBU all-time ... The Tritons are 2-1 against the Lancers over the past three years, all in season openers, with a pair of 2-1 wins in Riverside in 2011 and 2013 around a 2-0 CBU victory in La Jolla a year ago ... UCSD is 10-3-1 in season openers in the Division II era ... Cohen’s four saves pushed him over the 100-save plateau for his career, now at 103.