LA MIRADA, Calif. - The fourth-ranked University of California San Diego men's soccer team outshot Biola University, 29-9, but could not put one past the Eagle goalkeeper to settle for a double-overtime scoreless draw in the 2017 season opener for both sides Thursday night at Al Barbour Field.
It was the first meeting in almost exactly 17 years between UC San Diego (0-0-1) and Biola (0-0-1), which is transitioning to the NCAA Division II level and is a first-year member of the Pacific West Conference. The Tritons had posted a 2-1 victory, also in La Mirada, in their first game as a Division II program, back on Sept. 1, 2000.
Pedro Enciso (Vista/Rancho Buena Vista HS), a second-year UCSD student but first-year Triton, made his college debut as the starter in goal, coming up with three saves for his first career shutout. Redshirt freshman Hunter Fields also made his initial appearance, earning the start at left back for injured senior Nolan Mac. Kiefer Cooksey, a junior transfer from Oxnard College, was the starting left winger in his first match in UCSD colors.
Steven Ortiz, who drew the start in central midfield, and striker Uly de la Cal, shared the match high with five shots apiece, with five combined on frame. A third senior, Eric Young, arguably came closest to finding a decider, as his 79th-minute header glanced off the post.
"The team really got going in the second half and overtime," said UCSD head coach Jon Pascale, who began his 10th year in charge. "We threw a lot at (Biola), but their defense held strong. They had a couple chances against the run of play that our (goal)keeper (Enciso) made great saves on."
Other Tritons to make their college debuts on the night were true freshman Brett Jones and redshirt freshman Abraham Ordaz off the bench. Jones, a touted rookie out of Mission Viejo, produced three shots over his 36 minutes of action.
Igor Puglia turned in a stellar 110 minutes of work for Biola with 12 saves.
UCSD took 12 corner kicks in the match, to none by the Eagles. Of eight first-half corner-kick attempts, four were taken by Jones in a flurry of 1:19 after taking over for Ortiz in the 30th minute. The Tritons were whistled for one foul after halftime
The Tritons now await their 2017 home opener, Saturday at 5 p.m. against Division III opponent Occidental. UCSD went an unbeaten 12-0-1 at Triton Soccer Stadium a year ago. Admission is free.
Triton Notes: UCSD is now 12-3-3 in season openers in its Division II era ... The Tritons are an unbeaten 3-0-2 in their last five lid-lifters ... UCSD is 12-7-2 against Biola all-time.