No. 17 Tritons Blanked 2-0 at Chico State in Regular-Season Finale, Will Remain in Chico to Open Postseason
CHICO, Calif. - Two set pieces led to two goals within the first 20 minutes and sent No. 17 University of California San Diego down to rival Chico State, 2-0, in California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) men's soccer action on Senior Day Saturday at University Soccer Stadium.
UC San Diego sees its three-game win streak snapped and falls to 13-3-2 overall and 7-3-2 in the CCAA. Chico State improved to 12-4-1 overall and 9-3 in league play.
The Tritons, having already clinched a sixth successive CCAA Tournament berth on Thursday, remained in the sixth position, and will be the No. 6 seed this week. They wound up tied at 23 points apiece with San Francisco State, but lose out in the head-to-head tiebreaker, having dropped a 3-1 decision in San Francisco on Oct. 7.
With all results elsewhere Saturday, Chico State took up the No. 3 spot, meaning the 'Cats are the No. 3 seed for the tourney. UC San Diego will thus remain in Chico, and turn right back around and take on the Wildcats again in a CCAA first-round match this Tuesday night, Oct. 30. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. at University Soccer Stadium.
Chico State struck for the opener at 13:01. UC San Diego failed to clear a left-sided corner kick. The Wildcats' leading goal-scorer, senior striker Jeremiah Egujie, got a hold of the ball and provided a cross on the ground from the left end line that junior Justin Bethke only had to guide into the net from in close for his first goal of 2018.
At 20:02, it was 2-0. Fabian Roman's free kick on the right side from deep, was finished at the far post, around the edge of the six-yard box, by Garrett Hogbin. Hogbin, like Bethke a junior defender, was just barely able to poke the ball past the reach of sophomore goalkeeper Pedro Enciso (Vista/Rancho Buena Vista HS), for his third of the campaign.
UC San Diego came close to pulling one back in the 55th minute, as freshman forward Nick Cirrito got on the end of a right-sided cross around the penalty spot, but after taking a settling touch, his right-footed effort was saved nicely out to a corner kick by Chico State's star senior goalkeeper, Damion Lewis.
Sophomore forward Brett Jones, the reigning national and conference Player of the Week, then out-muscled his defender to get a powerful right-footed shot off from the top of the box in the 66th, but straight into Lewis' clutches. Jones’ header attempt, after the ball was nodded to him by a teammate, was also saved in the 79th.
Enciso finished with four saves. Lewis wound up with four stops as well for his ninth clean sheet. It was a sixth straight shutout home win for the Wildcats as a team.
Triton Notes: UC San Diego still leads the all-time series, 12-8-4 ... The Tritons were 2-0-1 over their previous three visits to Chico ... Redshirt senior captain Jeff Powers returned at right back after serving his one-game red-card suspension Thursday at Stanislaus State.
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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