LA JOLLA, Calif. - Freshman Jamie Benedetto’s first career two-goal brace wasn’t enough to prevent the UC San Diego women’s soccer team’s first-ever loss to No. 16 Sonoma State University in 19 all-time meetings. An 86th-minute goal by the Seawolves broke a 2-2 deadlock and gave the visitors a 3-2 victory Sunday in a California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) match at Triton Soccer Stadium.
With its first league defeat, UCSD dropped to 3-2-3 overall and 2-1-3 in the CCAA. The visiting Seawolves remained undefeated at 6-0-2 and 4-0-2.
The Tritons had gone 15-0-3 against Sonoma State prior to Sunday. The most recent match-up came last Nov. 4 in the CCAA Championship final in Carson, with UCSD lifting its record eighth banner via penalty-kick tiebreaker (4-2) after the teams had played to a 1-1 draw through regulation and overtime.
On Sunday, UCSD opened the scoring when Benedetto one-timed a right-sided cross from redshirt freshman winger Kiera Bocchino at 10:53.
Within six minutes, the score was tied at 1-1 as Margi Osmundson punctuated a quality build-up by the Seawolves down the right flank, with assists going to both Cara Curtin and Alicia Mertz. Osmundson ultimately guided Curtin’s low cross into the left corner of the net beyond the reach of a diving Kelcie Brodsky.
Sonoma State took its first lead in the 36th minute after being awarded a penalty kick due to a hand ball in the UCSD box. Brodsky made back-to-back incredible saves to her right, both times on Lauren Curtin, as Cara’s twin sister was denied initially on the spot kick, and then on the rebound. A second rebound, however, was slotted home by Melissa Lafranchi for her first career goal.
Inspired by the halftime directives of longtime head coach Brian McManus, UCSD came out of the interval with renewed purpose, and was rewarded with an equalizer in the 57th minute. Junior striker Izzy Pozurama sent a free kick into the mixer from the right side. The ball bounded over to Seawolf goalkeeper Allison Hadidian, but the freshman’s punch attempt failed to clear the danger area, and Benedetto struck a volley for her second of the afternoon and third of the season.
“Every game is helping with experience,” said Benedetto. “I knew that as soon as I could get one goal, it might give me confidence for more, and I scored last weekend. My team gives me perfect passes. The one from Kiera (Bocchino on Sunday’s first) was amazing. All I had to do was wait and put it in the net. I’m gaining confidence every game.”
Although it appeared as though the Tritons were headed toward a fourth successive overtime tilt, Osmundson stepped back onto the scene. The sophomore midfielder had hit the left post with a 70th-minute left-footed effort from distance on the right diagonal. With just under four and a half minutes remaining, she was just that slight bit more precise, taking a short feed from Mertz and finding the lower left corner from straight on outside of the penalty area.
“He told us give it your all, 100 percent, that’s all you can ask for,” added Benedetto about the message at halftime. “I thought we did. I thought everyone played their hearts out in the second half, and we played better. It was an unlucky goal.”
Osmundson was Sonoma State’s goal-scorer in that 2012 CCAA final, momentarily saving the Seawolves with a mere 43 seconds left in regulation before UCSD prevailed on penalties.
Brodsky and Hadidian each finished with four saves in goal. SSU maintained a 16-12 edge in shots, though the Tritons held an 8-4 advantage in the second half.
Junior transfer Kiley Leshin drew her first start in a UCSD uniform and played all 90 minutes in midfield.
UCSD is on the road next week, heading north to first pay 11th-ranked North Division leader Cal State Stanislaus a visit on Friday night, Oct. 4, at 7 p.m.