Men’s soccer busts slump, downs Chico State

    With a 1-0 win over the Chico State Wildcats on Oct. 15 at RIMAC Field, the UCSD men’s soccer team put an end to a frustrating losing streak and picked up career win number 300 for head coach Derek Armstrong, the cornerstone of the Triton soccer program for 22 years.

    Following two losses on the road to Cal State San Bernardino and Cal State Monterey Bay, the Tritons were in desperate need of a win to keep their playoff hopes alive.

    Every player on the team knew the importance of this game, not only because of the milestone for Armstrong and the UCSD athletics department, but also for the team’s confidence and momentum going into the final five games of the regular season.

    “This win was awesome, and it was something we needed,” junior defenseman Kevin Murray said. “Hopefully it will be a turning point for the rest of the season.”

    If Murray’s postseason performance is anything like his play against Chico State, the Tritons will be in a great position going into the playoffs. Murray was responsible for the only goal of the game, his first of the season, which came in the 71st minute, following a spectacular defensive showing in the first half by both teams. The assist came from senior defenseman/midfielder Nick Marquand, who dribbled the ball down the left sideline before his cross pass found Murray six yards out for the score. The slim lead electrified the crowd and returned to the Tritons the once-abundant confidence they had at the beginning of the season.

    With a defense that had dominated throughout the first half, the Tritons were able to trust senior goalkeeper Edward Ruhland to keep the ball out of the net. Ruhland did just that and picked up the shutout win, his first of the season.

    The Wildcats had several scoring opportunities, but failed to convert on all of them because of Ruhland’s four saves and the Tritons’ stingy defense. Chico State goalie Brian Linne topped Ruhland with eight saves but let through what turned out to be the crucial shot.

    Three of Linne’s saves came during the 56th minute, when the Tritons had three textbook scoring chances. Junior midfielder Matthew Davey lined a direct pass in front of the net, setting the stage for back-to-back Triton headers that Linne batted away to keep the Wildcats in the game. However, with UCSD outshooting Chico State 13-5, it was no wonder that the Tritons walked away with a victory.

    The win upped UCSD’s record to 6-2-3 overall and 5-2-2 in league play, making the Tritons contenders for the California Collegiate Athletic Association championship and increasing thier chances of making the NCAA Division II playoffs.

    For coach Armstrong and the Tritons, the win being number 300 wasn’t as important as ending a losing streak and giving the team a chance at the playoffs, Armstrong said.

    “I’m more concerned about winning the game and turning the corner after last week,” Armstrong said. “A severe lack of confidence overtook the group and it came quickly so we couldn’t afford to lose tonight.”

    Although Armstrong and his athletes downplayed the importance of the milestone, it is critical for the UCSD athletics program. With the win, Armstrong joins women’s soccer coach Brian McManus in the 300-club, making the pair the only two active coaches in NCAA soccer history to record 300 victories at the same school.

    “I’m not into all that stuff,” Armstrong said after the game and a brief celebration with his players. “But obviously this win is a wonderful achievement for our program. Hopefully we can get a few more.”

    The Tritons have five more chances after the Chico State game to garner more wins before the playoffs, including an Oct. 17 match against Cal State Stanislaus. Results were not available at press time.

    More to Discover
    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    $200
    $500
    Contributed
    Our Goal

    Your donation will support the student journalists at University of California, San Diego. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, keep printing our papers, and cover our annual website hosting costs.

    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    $200
    $500
    Contributed
    Our Goal