Photo by: Jenny Stephens/UC San Diego Athletics
The six Triton seniors, their families, and UC San Diego coaches on Senior Day at Triton Soccer Stadium.

No. 24 UC San Diego Falls Short-Handed, but Still Manages Dramatic Overtime Victory Over Toros on Jones Goal


LA JOLLA, Calif. - Playing a man down for just over an hour, the 24th-ranked University of California San Diego managed to find a way to a winner, as Brett Jones' goal late in the first overtime period turned away Cal State Dominguez Hills, 2-1, in California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) men's soccer action at Triton Soccer Stadium on Senior Day Sunday.

With the result, UC San Diego completed an enormous, six-point, weekend sweep to round out the home schedule, improving to 12-2-2 overall and 6-2-2 in the CCAA. The Tritons began the day in sixth, with no immediate ability to move any higher in the standings. Cal State Monterey Bay's 3-1 home win over Cal State San Bernardino was both good and bad, as it kept UC San Diego from clinching a CCAA Tournament berth, but indeed moved the Tritons closer to CSUSB, now just a point back of the Coyotes as they keep alive their hopes of both postseason action, and postseason home activity. Cal State Dominguez Hills fell to 4-11-1 overall and 4-6 in CCAA play. The Toros' fleeting playoff dreams were finally dashed when Jones hit the target.

With time winding down in the first of two possible overtime segments, Jones gathered the ball with his back to goal on the left edge of the penalty box. He deftly split two defenders into the area, and got off a shot which was blocked by Toro Braeden Anderson. The ball fortuitously bounded back off Jones' chest, and the Mission Viejo product was able to short-hop the rebound and calmly slot it into the back of the net with his right foot at 98:37. Jones' third goal of the season was his first since a home brace against Cal State San Marcos back on Sept. 21. It also marked his first game-winner of 2018, and went down as unassisted. Jones' strike partner, fellow sophomore Jonathan Sabouri (Carlsbad/San Dieguito HS Academy) was actually checked in on the sideline, to replace him at the next stoppage of play.

On Senior Day, it was fifth-year senior winger Christian Cordell who opened the scoring, in just the seventh minute, giving off the impression that it could be another special day in La Jolla. Cordell rose up at the center of the six-yard box, to head sophomore Jon Veigar Kristjánsson's right-sided corner kick into the upper netting for his third of 2018 and 10th of his career. The assist was Kristjánsson's fourth.

Things turned pretty sour in mere moments, however, in the 37th minute. A slightly-mistimed challenge by redshirt senior team captain Jeff Powers led to the first red-card ejection against a Triton player this season, as the right back was deemed by the match official to be the last defender in the way of the attacking Toro, JD Hauenstein. George Almeida had slipped an effective through ball into the path of the junior. That was at 36:39, meaning UC San Diego would have to play with 10 men for the remainder. The ensuing free kick from the left side, just outside the penalty area, was taken by Almeida, and he fired right-footed into the left netting for his fifth goal, to make it 1-1 as the Tritons quite suddenly faced an uphill battle.

Despite the personnel discrepancy, and somewhat of a surge in energy by the visitors in the immediate aftermath of that deflating sequence, UC San Diego persevered. The Tritons weathered the initial pressure, adjusted at halftime, and hardly looked short-handed following the interval. They found their moment, in a spot in which they excel, and took it with Jones. UC San Diego is now an undefeated 12-0-21 in overtime matches dating back to a 2014 home defeat to Azusa Pacific.

Sophomore goalkeeper Pedro Enciso (Vista/Rancho Buena Vista HS) made four saves over the 98:37 of action. Julian Tafolla-Cisneros had two stops for the Toros before exiting with an injury. Justin Fairchild made one save in his place over 34:51.

Seniors Cordell, Powers, Nathaniel Bloom (Encinitas/San Dieguito HS Academy), Kiefer Cooksey, Matt Merrill and Andy Sartor were recognized prior to kickoff.

The Tritons were on the front foot from the opening whistle. Redshirt freshman left back Darragh Buckley's pass forward was met with a delicate heel flick by Jones, for Sabouri to run onto, one-on-one toward goal. Tafolla-Cisneros barely was able to parry his right-footed shot wide to the right for a corner kick, however, to prevent an even earlier opener for the home side, just 44 seconds in. Sabouri would later find the right post in the 13th minute.

In the 62nd minute, Buckley threw the ball in from the left, and Cooksey put a glancing header on it at the near post, that agonizingly came off the far post.

UC San Diego will look to clinch that slippery CCAA Tournament berth on the road this week to round out the regular season. The Tritons fly to the Bay Area on Wednesday, and play at Stanislaus State on Thursday, Oct. 25, at 4:30 p.m., before wrapping things up in Chico against the rival Chico State Wildcats, on Saturday, Oct. 27, at 2 p.m. They need merely a point from either contest, to punch their ticket.

Triton Notes: Cal State Dominguez Hills still leads the all-time series, 17-8-6, though UC San Diego has now won the last three meetings, with back-to-back dramatic 2-1 affairs ... UC San Diego finished the regular-season home schedule an unbeaten 11-0-1, having gone 12-0-1 in La Jolla in 2016 ... Brett Jones has six career goals, three of them winners, with two of them in overtime ... Jon Veigar Kristjánsson now has a share of the team lead in assists, with Jones, at four apiece.

About UC San Diego Athletics
With 30 national team championships, nearly 150 individual titles and the top student-athlete graduation rate among Division II institutions in the United States, the UC San Diego intercollegiate athletics program annually ranks as one of the most successful in the country. The Tritons sponsor 23 intercollegiate sport programs that compete on the NCAA Division I and II levels and, in summer 2020, will transition into full Division I status as a member of the Big West Conference. UC San Diego student-athletes exemplify the academic ideals of one of the world's preeminent institutions, graduating at an average rate of 91 percent. A total of 80 Tritons have earned Academic All-America honors, while 36 have earned prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships. In competition, more than 1,300 UC San Diego student-athletes have earned All-America honors.

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