Women's soccer pockets a pair

    The UCSD women’s soccer squad justified their return to the top 10 in the national rankings after spending a week at No. 11. The defense led the way with a 1-0 shutout at Cal State Stanislaus Oct. 10, while the offense made its presence known in a 4-2 victory over Cal State Bakersfield on Oct. 12. The Tritons bounced back to No. 5 and celebrated their climb in the polls with two wins that could have come from two different teams.

    Rebecca Drexler/Guardian file
    On a roll: The UCSD women¹s soccer team jumped to No. 5 after shutting out Cal State Stanislaus, 1-0, on Oct. 10 and edging Cal State Bakersfield on Oct. 12.

    The lone goal of the first game came in the 38th minute of the first half. Freshman Alise Malley sent a cross to the back post where senior Sarah Schopbach and sent it home with a header. It was Schopbach’s first goal of the season and Malley’s first assist of her young collegiate career.

    The goal proved to be all the Tritons needed, since they played suffocating defense against a physical Cal State Stanislaus team.

    “”The back three played a great game,”” head coach Brian McManus said, referring to the trio of seniors Heather Szafraniec, Christine Wensel and Molly Carlson. Cal State Stanislaus was limited to only four shots, with none of the four on frame.

    Consequently, neither junior keeper Jamie Lautenschleger nor sophomore goalie Alyson Berger was called upon to make a save. Lautenshleger played the opening half and Berger closed out the second half in a routine that has become familiar to the two Tritons in net. Asked if the lack of action was a concern for the pair of goalies, McManus said, “”It’s a little frustrating. But at the same time it’s a good thing. It shows our team is playing well.””

    Cal State Stanislaus played some defense of their own, only giving up 10 shots and one goal. The Tritons came in averaging nearly 17 shots and three goals per contest.

    “”They played three in the back and dropped another to play with two sweepers,”” McManus said. “”They’re an aggressive team that was looking for a counterattack.””

    However, with four defenders, five midfielders and only one forward, Cal State Stanislaus never mounted an offensive threat. Also contributing to their offensive woes, Cal State Stanislaus was without all-conference second-team midfielder Erin Taylor, who sat out the game with a knee injury.

    The second game was a different story. After playing 90 minutes of flawless defense against Stanislaus, a second shutout bid didn’t last five minutes against Cal State Bakersfield. The Roadrunners tallied an early goal at the 4:38 mark.

    “”There was a little mix-up in the midfield,”” McManus said. “”She made a magnificent shot that went lower V. There was no chance for [Lautenschleger] to make the save.””

    The Tritons answered back with two back-to-back goals, one coming just before halftime and one right after the break. Three minutes before the break, freshman Heather Sugg headed home her fourth goal of the year, courtesy of a free kick from fellow freshman Megan Dickey. Dickey was playing her first game since suffering an injury against Chico State on Oct. 3.

    “”She had a great free kick,”” McManus said of Dickey. Unfortunately, the injury flared up later and she was forced to leave the game.

    Three minutes after the break, the Tritons struck again with senior Kristen Conahan finishing yet another cross, this time a back-poster from freshman Kelly Cochran. Cochran then added one of her own in the 69th minute off of a corner. The goal increased her team-leading total to six. The assist was credited to senior defender and corner-specialist Christine Wensel.

    The Roadrunners added a goal in garbage-time, but senior Megan Mendoza squashed any hope of a miracle comeback with her fourth goal of the season. She was assisted by Sugg and senior Kristin Jones, who leads the team with eight helpers.

    UCSD has won four in a row since its first and only loss, a 3-2 squeaker to Cal State Dominguez Hills. Asked if he felt his team was on a roll, McManus said, “”Yes, but we put it behind us ‹ win or lose.””

    UCSD now has a break of 13 days before its next match at Cal State San Bernardino. What will the Tritons do with their free time?

    “”Step up the fitness,”” McManus said. “”Lot’s of two-a-days. Any team can go [into the playoffs] a No. 1 and still lose. If it comes to two evenly matched teams, I want our fitness to come through.””

    That fitness could be a major factor against their next opponent. Cal State San Bernardino is the nearest competitor to UCSD in the California Collegiate Athletic Association South division. Last year, UCSD eked out a 1-0 victory, but coach McManus openly admits Cal State San Bernardino controlled the entire game.

    “”They make you work for 90 minutes,”” he said.

    With the two wins, the Tritons are now 12-1 overall and 10-1 in CCAA action.

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