Tritons take second-straight loss

    The No. 25 UCSD women’s soccer team returned home after a loss on Oct. 23 looking to bounce back with a win against Cal Poly Pomona on Oct. 25. However, the Broncos had other plans and handed the Tritons their secondstraight loss in a close, 4-3 battle. Cal Poly Pomona’s junior forward Erica Rodriguez scored the game-winner with less than eight minutes remaining. Losing back-to-back games is a first for UCSD women’s soccer since its move to Division II in 2000.

    As of Oct. 25, the Tritons were tied for first in the California Collegiate Athletic Association South Division with Cal State Dominguez Hills and were one point ahead of Cal Poly Pomona with two games remaining in the regular season. UCSD needs only one more win to earn a berth in the postseason, and winning its last two games would have clinched a fifth consecutive South Division title for the women’s soccer program.

    “We’re still going to be in the conference playoffs,” UCSD head coach Brian McManus said. “As far as I’m concerned, [this loss] was a great learning experience for them, and we’re going to take it from there.”

    The teams proved to be evenly matched, with both exploding offensively and trading leads three times to keep things interesting for the 329 fans in attendance.

    “It was a great game,” McManus said. “That was probably one of the best games to watch the whole year, and it was just our lack of experience [that caused the loss]. We dwelt on a couple of mistakes a little bit, and when you do that against good teams, experienced teams with experienced players, it can cost you — and it cost us.”

    The loss dropped UCSD to 12-3-1 overall and 8-3-1 in the CCAA, while Cal Poly Pomona improved to 8-6-3 overall and 7-2-3 in the CCAA.

    Although the Tritons lost, McManus was pleased with the efforts of his players.

    “Tonight, I’m not even the least bit upset,” he said. “I thought they played well. Like I said to our players, [Cal Poly Pomona] can only win if we make our own mistakes, and we made our own mistakes. But I think we played, we scored three great goals, and on any other day that game would’ve been a win. We won’t make four mistakes like that in a game again, that’s for sure.”

    In the opening half, the Broncos drew first blood when freshman forward and San Diego native Jacqueline Ragudos came off the bench to lob the ball over Triton senior goalie Jamie Lautenschleger in the 24th minute. Ragudos scored off a pass from junior midfielder Chelsea Hipley, who stole the ball from a Triton in midfield to set up Ragudos’ goal. Determined not to go into halftime behind, UCSD fought back with a goal by sophomore midfielder Heather Sugg with less than four minutes remaining. The Tritons have found success all season on corner kicks, and this time junior defender Kristina De La Rosa placed a perfect pass to Sugg, who headed in the ball to keep it even at halftime.

    Both teams broke loose in the second half, scoring five goals between them. Sugg struck again with a header off a pass from sophomore midfielder Megan Dickey in the 57th minute to give UCSD a 2-1 lead. However, the lead lasted less than a minute when Rodriguez took a pass from Broncos senior forward Lisa Araujo and found the back of the net with a quick shot from the middle, bringing the Broncos back in the game at 2-2. In the 76th minute, Ragudos chipped the ball over Lautenschleger from short range, giving Cal Poly Pomona the advantage.

    Five minutes later, the Tritons answered back when freshman midfielder Rachel Lindenfeld scored an unassisted goal from five yards out to knot things up at 3-3 with 10 minutes remaining. The Broncos took the lead once again when Rodriguez scored with a shot that deflected in off the right goal post in the 82nd minute.

    UCSD kept tearing away at Cal Poly Pomona, hoping to score in the last few minutes, and generated a couple of close calls, including a corner kick with less than a minute left in the match. Sophomore forward Kelly Cochran sent the ball from the corner in a last-ditch effort, but it was cleared out of the zone. The game belonged to the Broncos, who held on for the victory.

    “After what happened on [Oct. 23] at Dominguez, they could easily have laid there and died,” McManus said of his team. “But they came out tonight and that was probably one of their best performances all year, and I am well pleased with how they came out, the attitude they came out with. I think they’ll come out with an even better attitude [on Oct. 27] and that’s what I’m looking for.”

    The next match for the Tritons was scheduled against another CCAA South Division opponent, Cal State San Bernardino, at RIMAC Field on Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. Coming into the match, the Coyotes were 8-7-2 overall and 6-4-2 in conference play. Last time these two teams met, UCSD won, 2-1, on Oct. 6 in San Bernardino, Calif. The match was postponed due to a field closure on account of rain, and has not yet been rescheduled.

    The Triton women’s soccer team will play its final scheduled match of the regular season at home when it hosts Cal State Bakersfield (2-11-5, 1-7-4 CCAA) at RIMAC Field on Oct. 30. Play begins at 7 p.m.

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