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Photo by: Gareth Mackay/Cal State LA
Matt Merrill was an important figure in midfield as the Tritons kept the hosts without a goal for 110 minutes.
Tritons Lock Down for Hard-Earned Draw at Cal State LA, Return Home With Invigorating Four-Point Weekend
Release: Sunday 09/24/2017 
by UCSD

LOS ANGELES - The University of California San Diego defense held firm over 110 minutes and took a well-earned draw to split the points with top foe Cal State LA, 0-0, in California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) men's soccer action Sunday afternoon at Jesse Owens Track.

With the result, UC San Diego moved to 4-1-3 overall and 2-1-1 in the CCAA. Cal State LA is now 7-1-1 overall and an identical 2-1-1 in league play. The Tritons thus completed a significant four-point road weekend at two tough Los Angeles rivals after Friday's come-from-behind 2-1 triumph over No. 19 Cal State Dominguez Hills.

An even competition in the first half saw the hosts finish with a 10-6 edge in shots, though none of the Golden Eagles' attempts were on frame.

Cal State LA did seem to gather a bit of an advantage late in the period, registering the final six shots over the last 10 minutes. UCSD had a great chance to score in the 10th minute when Malek Bashti latched onto strike partner Nathaniel Bloom's (Encinitas/San Dieguito HS Academy) short cross from the left at the very edge of the six-yard box toward the near post, but the senior was unable to get much on his shot, with CSULA goalie Steven Barrera there to gather. Cal State LA earned a free kick just outside the penalty area as halftime neared, but that shot was blocked.

The Golden Eagles' first shot on goal of the afternoon finally came in the 64th minute, David Elizaga unleashing from 25 yards and goalkeeper Pedro Enciso (Vista/Rancho Buena Vista HS) having to dive to his right to parry the effort away.

In the 78th, it was Elizaga again testing Enciso, and the Triton freshman was again up to the task, going to his left this time to save the hard shot out for a corner kick. Miguel Galvan Lara's ensuing corner was then headed in at the far post, but the goal was fortuitously disallowed by the match official for a foul.

Just as the scoreboard clock was winding down to signal the end of regulation, Tim Klefisch sent a hopeful, last-ditch cross from the left sideline that Enciso actually had to leap up to grab as it ended up on target and was credited as a shot and a save.

Not much happened in the first overtime, with no shots being given. The Tritons had a free kick from the right diagonal that senior Uly de la Cal sent into the box. As time expired, Cal State LA's leading scorer, Julian Zamora, suddenly was sprinting free into the UCSD penalty area, only for senior center back Kyle Panganiban to swoop across and clear the ball out for a corner kick that wasn't able to be taken.

Much like Friday in Carson, the Tritons nearly stole it in the 107th minute as de la Cal lofted a high corner kick from the left side to the far post, and Steven Ortiz managed to head it toward goal. Barrera, however, reached up and caught it.

Enciso finished with five saves for the Tritons to post his fourth individual shutout. Barrera had five of his own for Cal State LA for his sixth clean sheet and third in a row. UCSD was outshot on the day, 18-10.

Enciso was far from the only factor in keeping that shutout. Panganiban was joined in playing all 110 minutes of the tense affair by fellow senior Nolan Mac at left back and tandem partner Jonathan Stoop, starting in place of fellow sophomore Kelvin Uribe due to injury. Redshirt junior right back Jeff Powers played 84 of the minutes, coming off hurt for a portion of the second half in place of redshirt freshman Hunter Fields before returning for the end. Junior holding central midfielder Matt Merrill was also instrumental in achieving the positive outcome.

UCSD returns to La Jolla for a season-long four-game homestand, all with UC San Diego students finally back on campus for the fall quarter. Cal Poly Pomona is the first side to pay Triton Soccer Stadium a visit, for a primetime showdown on Friday, Sept. 29, at 7 p.m. It will be a rematch of the 2016 West Region final, which the host Tritons won 1-0 in overtime. The first 500 UCSD students in attendance on Friday night will receive their free 2017-18 Triton game day t-shirt. Admission is free.

Triton Notes: UCSD remains an unbeaten 2-0-2 on the road and 1-0-3 in overtime contests in 2017 ... The Tritons are still an undefeated 6-0-17 over their last 23 overtime affairs going back to 2014.

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