UCSD loses CCAA final match

    After entering this past weekend’s California Collegiate Athletic Association as the wild card, the UCSD men’s soccer team stunned top-seeded host Cal State Dominguez Hills, 2-1, on Nov. 7 to advance to the finals, where the Tritons were upended by Chico State 5-1 on Nov. 9. However, the team’s thrilling victory in the semifinal was enough to earn them a bid into the 24-team NCAA tournament, which begins on Nov. 14.

    Lynsey Gebelin/Guardian file
    One more chance: UCSD lost to Chico State in the conference title match on Nov. 9 but earned a berth in the NCAA tournament on Nov. 14.

    UCSD, which has won the Division III national championship three times, will be making its first ever appearance in the NCAA Division II tournament. Along with the Tritons, who earned the No. 3 seed for this weekend’s Far West Regional, Chico State will be playing as the No. 2 seed and Cal State Dominguez Hills will again play host as the top seed.

    In their first-round match, the Tritons will take on the Wildcats for the second time in one week and the third time this season. The winner of that game will continue to face the Toros two days later.

    Earning the right to play in the NCAA post-season, UCSD played a spirited game against Cal State Dominguez Hills, the No. 3 team in the nation, and upset the Toros for the second time this season. The UCSD victory was the team’s first ever at the conference tournament, and the Tritons now account for both of the Toros’ losses in 2003.

    On Nov. 7, The Tritons had to fight back after Cal State Dominguez Hills scored first in the game’s 42nd minute. However, UCSD got the equalizer just 84 seconds later on a goal by sophomore forward Jon Krupansky. UCSD junior forward Tiago Venturi scored the game-winning goal at the 63:47 mark when he took a pass from sophomore midfielder Matthew Davey and beat Toro goalkeeper Javier Barragon in the far post.

    In the finals, Chico State took the lead just four-and-a-half minutes into the match and then recorded the game’s following three goals to open a 4-0 advantage over the Tritons. UCSD’s only goal came on Davey’s eighth of the season when he headed a pass from Venturi into the back of the net. Davey had the chance to score again, but he failed on a penalty kick, his first miss in five tries this season.

    “”You know it wasn’t our game when you miss a penalty kick,”” UCSD head coach Derek Armstrong said. “”It just wasn’t meant to be.””

    Chico State, now 17-4-1, is currently ranked No. 12 in the nation, and the Wildcats are showing sings that they can win the national championship.

    “”They were exceptional against us [on Nov. 9],”” Armstrong said. “”They have the look of a championship team. They are really committed.””

    UCSD will have to make some adjustments this weekend. The Tritons regular defensive line will be unavailable. Senior Ryan Blair, junior Luke Russell and sophomore Garrett King will miss the Nov. 14 game due to injuries, and senior Jonathon Shum will be forced to sit out because of a red card ejection that he received in UCSD’s Nov. 9 game.

    “”We have to try to learn something from our other games against Chico,”” Armstrong said. “”And we’ll need some help from our freshmen, who are going to have to step up this weekend.””

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