The UC San Diego men’s soccer team secured first place in its league after two tight home games this week against conference competitors Cal State San Marcos and San Francisco State.
UC San Diego vs. Cal State San Marcos – Wednesday, Oct. 4 (La Jolla, CA)
The Tritons came out attacking Wednesday night, recording seven shots on goal in the first half alone. The game remained scoreless through the first 60 minutes until UCSD freshman striker Jonathan Sabouri executed his third goal of the year, tying a team high. Assisted by redshirt senior midfielder Steven Ortiz, Sabouri nailed the top of the net from 20 yards out.
The Tritons dominated possessions as the ball remained on their side of the field for a majority of the second half. Eight more shots on goal from five additional Tritons supplied continuous pressure against the Cougar defense.
A strong Triton barricade composed of redshirt junior defender Jeff Powers as well as senior defenders Nolan Mac and Kyle Panganiban secured the 1–0 victory over Cal State San Marcos. Freshman goalie Pedro Encisco collected five saves on the night increasing his total to 28 this season.
On top of their successful outing, the Tritons’ triumph marked head coach Jon Pascale’s 100th career win. In his 10 years at UCSD, Pascale has earned California Collegiate Athletic Association Coach of the Year honors three times and looks to return his players to the NCAA Final Four to overcome a close semi-final defeat just one year ago.
UC San Diego vs. San Francisco State – Friday, Oct. 6 (La Jolla, CA)
UCSD celebrated eight seniors before battling it out on the pitch against SFSU on Friday night.
With no score after the first half as well as further into the second, the Tritons controlled the momentum for the remaining minutes of regulation. A crucial defensive miscue by the Gators late in the game led to the first and only goal for UCSD at 79:53.
Sabouri was left wide open in front of the net with the ball between himself and the Gator goalie. A spectacular center from the right side by the freshman allowed redshirt senior forward Malek Bashti to find the back of the net easily with a quick tap in.
Both Sabouri and Powers were credited with assists. Bashti tallied his second goal of the season, coming in clutch during his last regular season match in front of a home crowd at Triton Soccer Stadium.
UCSD led in shots (12–10) and corner kick possessions (9–5).
However, the Tritons could not hang on as minutes later SFSU answered back. Gators’ junior defender Tariq Pulskamp scored on a corner kick opportunity, heading the ball into the bottom right corner, sending the game into overtime.
After two 10-minute overtime, sudden-death periods, the matchup ended in a draw sending the Tritons to an overall 7–1–4 and a 5–1–2 in CCAA standings.
The Tritons will wrap up the 2017-2018 season with their last five conference games on the road. They are set to play Humboldt State on Friday, Oct. 13. Kickoff begins at 3 p.m.