Men's soccer stands in do-or-die situation

    Is second place the first loser?

    Guardian file photo

    The UCSD men’s soccer team has the second-best record in the California Collegiate Athletic Association South Division. Even with the best overall record in the division and the same number of wins as its rival, first-place Cal Poly Pomona, UCSD is in second place. On Oct. 26, the Tritons play Cal State San Bernardino in their last home game of the season, which will also mark their chance to move from second place to division leader.

    The Tritons started the season Aug. 30 and were off to a great start with back-to-back home game wins against Pomona-Pitzer College and Seattle University by scores of 2-1 and 3-2, respectively. After a tough 1-0 loss against CSUSB, the team came back with a vengeance to beat Cal Poly Pomona 4-1. Though UCSD continued on to beat Grand Canyon 2-0, the Tritons fell two days later to Sonoma State, 1-0.

    In their next game, UCSD crushed San Francisco State 4-0 and then devastated Cal State Los Angeles 5-1. Following these two great games, the Tritons fell to both Cal State Dominguez Hills, 4-0, and Chico State, 2-1. Luckily, the next two games against UC Davis and Cal State Stanislaus were shutouts, 1-0 and 3-0, respectively, in favor of the Tritons. Unfortunately, UCSD’s two-game winning streak was unable to extend to three after a home loss on Oct. 11 to Cal State Stanislaus, 5-0.

    This season, the Tritons’ longest winning streak has been two games long; they have had four such streaks so far.

    With only three games left to play, UCSD’s overall record of 8-5 is already better than last season’s overall record of 6-9-1. The team boasts impressive statistics, overshadowing opponents in both shots and goals by period.

    Sophomore forward Tiago Venturi leads the team with 14 points, six goals and a shot average of 25 percent. Senior forward Bobby Saadati is not far behind Venturi with 12 points, five goals and a shot average of 19.2 percent. Saadati also leads the team with 26 shot attempts.

    UCSD’s upcoming game should be a great game to watch. According to the Tritons’ head coach Derek Armstrong, Saturday’s game is a must-win for the soccer team.

    “”We have to stay in the hunt,”” said Armstrong. “”If you don’t get the first result, the second one is a waste of time.””

    A loss to Cal State San Bernardino this weekend would almost definitely put an end to the Tritons’ season. Despite a third place ranking in the CCAA, CSUSB (4-6) is on a two-game winning streak. The two teams have played tight games in the past, including CSU San Bernardino’s 1-0 victory earlier this year and a game that ended in a scoreless tie last season.

    The pressure is on for the men to do well this weekend. The most pressure will be on senior team captain Kris Chiles, Armstrong indicates.

    “”Chiles may be playing the last game of his career [at Triton Soccer Stadium],”” Armstrong said.

    After the game on Oct. 26, the Tritons have away games against Cal Poly Pomona on Oct. 29 and Grand Canyon University on Nov. 2. At earlier meetings in September, both teams lost to UCSD: Cal Poly by a score of 4-1 and Grand Canyon 2-0.

    Should the Tritons win against San Bernardino, Cal Poly Pomona and Grand Canyon, they will be guaranteed to play in the CCAA Championship, which begins Nov. 7 at Triton Soccer Stadium.

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