LOS ANGELES - Junior All-American Cassie Callahan, a local product out of Coronado (Coronado HS), came up with two headed goals and an assist to lead 20th-ranked UC San Diego to a come-from-behind 3-1 triumph over Cal State L.A. in a California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) women’s soccer match Sunday afternoon at Jesse Owens Track.
With the victory, UCSD improved to 3-1 overall and 2-0 in the CCAA. Cal State L.A. dropped to an even 2-2 overall and 0-2 in league play. The Golden Eagles are the only team to have ever prevented the Tritons from topping the CCAA South Division since UCSD joined the conference for the 2000 season, doing so in back-to-back years in 2009 and 2010.
Trailing 1-0, the Tritons stormed out of the halftime interval to nab two goals within the first eight minutes of the restart. Callahan notched what proved to be the game-winner at 52:34 off a set piece, as junior teammates Izzy Pozurama and Kylene Hill combined on a short corner kick, with Pozurama ultimately providing the cross that Callahan nodded in toward the back post.
In the 71st minute, Callahan’s second header effectively clinched the result for UCSD as fellow San Diego native Maile Nilsson (The Preuss School UCSD) sent in the cross for a 3-1 advantage. The assist marked the sophomore's first collegiate point.
Callahan, meanwhile, already has four goals on the year in four matches, including all three UCSD game-winners. Sunday’s performance was her second two-goal brace as a Triton, having previously accomplished the feat in a 6-1 home rout of Central Washington to open the 2012 season.
“Cassie was brilliant today,” offered her coach, Brian McManus. “She’s great at drifting into the box and just getting on the end of crosses with her head. She doesn’t use a lot of power, but just directs them. That’s what she did today. Magic.”
No fewer than eight of Callahan’s 17 career goals have come courtesy of her head.
Pozurama had earlier opened her scoring account for 2013, taking a through ball from Callahan and shooting into the left corner to equalize at 48:14. She and Hill were each credited with their first assists of the year on Callahan’s first.
“I can’t remember the last time we came to L.A. and scored three goals,” exclaimed McManus. “With such a young team, coming off a loss (last Saturday), if someone would have given me a win and a tie this weekend, I would have bit their hand off and taken it. To get two wins, on the road against these kinds of teams, this is big.
“Again, I like the way our young kids contributed, particularly playing physical. They were knocked down, banged around, but kept getting back up.”
The home side took a 1-0 lead in the 11th minute on junior newcomer Shea Richards’ first goal as a Golden Eagle, a bending left-footed effort around a diving Kelcie Brodsky and inside the left post. Senior Megan Ollar assisted on the play.
Brodsky made five saves in the Triton net. Fellow sophomore Amanda Johnson had a pair of stops for CSULA, which held a 17-12 shot advantage. Johnson dove to deny Triton freshman Jamie Benedetto her first collegiate goal in the first half, and also turned back redshirt freshman Kiera Bocchino off the ensuing corner kick.
UCSD concludes a season-long four-match road stretch to open conference play at Chico State and Cal State San Bernardino next weekend.
Triton Notes: UCSD leads the all-time series, 16-8-1 ... The Tritons have taken four straight meetings in Los Angeles, the first three by a single score prior to Sunday’s two-goal margin ... They have won three in a row against the Golden Eagles overall after sweeping last year’s home-and-home set ... UCSD stretched its unbeaten streak in regular-season road matches now to 28, having posted a record of 21-0-7 in such contests since a 2-1 loss in Arcata to Humboldt State on Sept. 17, 2010 ... Sunday’s three goals were the most scored by the Tritons at Cal State L.A. since a 4-0 triumph there on Sept. 24, 2006 ... Callahan has totaled 47 points at UCSD from 17 goals, seven of them game-winners, and 13 assists ... Pozurama has 13 goals and two assists in her career ... Hill’s assist was the third of her career.