LA JOLLA, Calif. - The 25th-ranked UC San Diego women's soccer team got a 10th-minute headed goal by Izzy Pozurama and held on for the narrow 1-0 victory over Cal State L.A. in California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) action at Triton Soccer Field on Friday night.
UC San Diego improved its record to 9-1-2 overall and 7-1-2 in the CCAA with the result. Cal State L.A. fell to 5-4-4 overall and 4-4-3 in conference play. Having now moved eight points clear of the Golden Eagles at the top of the standings, the Tritons inched another step closer to defending their CCAA South Division crown.
"That was a big game," said UCSD head coach Brian McManus about increasing their stranglehold on the division. "That could finish their (Cal State L.A.) season tonight, a loss, and they came playing for everything. I thought we started the game extremely well, went a goal up, and then after that, it was just an ugly battle. This is the stage in the season when you have to win the games like that. If that's what it takes to win, then we will win it that way.
"It's great," added McManus about winning in front of former players on UCSD Homecoming 2012. "That's what I was talking about in the locker room to the girls. Tonight was not about this team. Tonight was about all the teams that have come before at UCSD, and what's made this program what it is. That's the alumni being here tonight, with players going back to 1987, and that was tremendous to see."
At the 9:31 mark, Michelle Yasutake found Jessica Wi on the right flank, with the senior midfielder playing a quick cross toward the near post, where Pozurama skipped her in-close header past senior CSULA goalie Gabriella Batmani. The night's lone goal was the sophomore's second of the season, and second in as many games. For Yasutake, a redshirt freshman, the assist marked her first collegiate point.
From that point on, the visiting Golden Eagles maintained a comfortable advantage in total shots, finishing with a 21-9 margin, as the Tritons struggled to find the insurance score.
UCSD's best opportunity to add to its lead came in the form of a 59th-minute flurry as Batmani turned away a shot by Gabi Hernandez and a rebound header by Pozurama from close range to keep her side in the match.
Batmani's counterpart for UCSD, Kelcie Brodsky, then came up with a stellar effort of her own in the 70th minute, as junior CSULA forward Tahne Apo unleashed a hard shot from outside the penalty area that looked like it was headed to the upper netting. The Tritons' freshman goalkeeper lifted her right hand up just in time, however, to swat the ball away before ultimately catching it.
Brodsky wound up with six saves in notching her sixth shutout of 2012, while Batmani made three stops for the Golden Eagles.
The Tritons take their first-place standing to Carson this Sunday, Oct. 14, for a match-up with Cal State Dominguez Hills. Kick-off at Toro Stadium is set for 11:30 a.m.
-- UCSDtritons.com --