ARCATA, Calif. - The University of California San Diego men's soccer team scored twice in the first half on its way to building a 3-0 advantage, and barely hung on to beat Humboldt State, 3-2, in a massive California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) matchup at College Creek Field on Friday.
With the victory, UC San Diego improved to 8-1-4 overall and 6-1-2 in the CCAA. The Tritons momentarily took over sole possession of first place again, having started the day in third. Friday's three points increased their season total to 20, vaulting them over Cal Poly Pomona and Cal State Dominguez Hills, both at 18. That return to the top of the table lasted for about 90 minutes, however, as CPP edged Chico State on the road in overtime, 3-2. CSUDH later took a 1-0 home decision over SF State, thus moving UCSD back to where it began, in third. Humboldt State dropped to an even 6-6 overall and 3-5 in league play.
The Tritons are an unbeaten 6-0-2 over their last eight games.
UCSD grabbed the opener in only the 10th minute through junior winger Kiefer Cooksey. Senior central midfielder Steven Ortiz played a square ball from the middle of the field out to the left flank. Cooksey corralled it, held off a defender on his back, and while advancing forward struck a left-footed shot from just outside the 18-yard box that caught the Lumberjack goalie off guard on his near side. The unassisted tally was the Oxnard College transfer's first goal in a Triton uniform.
In the 20th minute, a right-sided corner kick was headed back across the goal mouth at the far post by freshman forward Jonathan Sabouri (Carlsbad/San Dieguito HS Academy), but cleared off the goal line by the Jacks' Rudi McClellan.
That second goal finally came at 42:55. Senior Uly de la Cal's right-sided corner kick fell short, but the defender could still only knock it back out for another corner. This time, Jones came over and took the kick, and senior central midfielder Danny Glascock headed it into the near-post netting for his first goal since the 2015 season opener more than two full years ago. It gave Jones a first collegiate assist.
Cooksey added a second in the 65th to complete his brace. Redshirt freshman Hunter Fields provided the cross from the right, with de la Cal bringing the ball down at the far post. Standing around the edge of the six-yard box, Cooksey wound up and struck a hard left-footer on the ground that eluded the goalie. Only de la Cal was given an assist, his third of 2017 and 15th for his career.
That goal looked to have been the clincher, but the home side had other plans.
Humboldt State pulled one back in the 79th, Gus Baxter finding the bottom right corner from the top of the penalty area as freshman goalkeeper Pedro Enciso (Vista/Rancho Buena Vista HS) had come out partially to intercept him.
Then at 84:05, the hosts earned a penalty kick, and Baxter placed it into the upper left for his second of the afternoon and second on the season. Through some nervy moments over the final 5:55, the Tritons were able to see out the result.
Enciso finished with a season-high six saves. Robert Quintero had five in his first start for the Jacks.
"I was really happy with the team's performance today," said UCSD head coach Jon Pascale. "We scored three nice goals and created several other quality chances. Credit to Humboldt who continued to fight and made for a hectic ending."
UC San Diego was supposed to remain in Northern California and play at Sonoma State on Sunday, but that match was postponed and most likely canceled due to the severe wildfires in the area and the resulting air quality. The Tritons will thus return to La Jolla on Saturday, and have another one-game week ahead, that a non-conference tilt at CCAA foe Cal State San Marcos on Friday, Oct. 20, at 3 p.m.
Triton Notes: UCSD has still never lost to Humboldt State, now at 6-0-6 in the all-time series ... UCSD remains an unbeaten 3-0-2 on the road in 2017 ... The Tritons are now 1-0-3 in Arcata in four visits under 10th-year head coach Jon Pascale ... UCSD began the day 12th in Division II with a 0.615 goals-against average, but allowed multiple goals in a contest for the first time since Sept. 15, eight games ago.