Men’s soccer eliminated in conference semifinals

    The UCSD men’s soccer team must sit and wait for the announcement of the three-team NCAA Far West Regional bracket and hope to play another game this season following a loss in penalty kicks to Cal State Bakersfield on Nov. 5.

    The Tritons took on the Roadrunners in Carson, Calif. in the semifinal round of the California Collegiate Athletic Association, and lost 3-1 in the penalty kick round. This means that the Tritons will not get to play in the CCAA championship game. They still have a chance at the NCAA Division II playoffs, which begin on Nov. 11. The announcement will come Nov. 8 and the Tritons, who were seeded No. 3 in the CCAA tournament, have a decent chance at being selected by the NCAA to play at Regionals.

    The Tritons were hoping for a CCAA championship as well, but the Roadrunners showed them a harsh reality. UCSD scored first in the 14th minute, when junior midfielder Grant Nishio scored from six yards out off junior midfielder Matt Davey’s rebound.

    Cal State Bakersfield did not lose confidence and tied the game in the 27th minute. Roadrunner Daniel Juarez beat UCSD goalkeeper Edward Ruhland by putting the ball near the far post with a low shot. Although both teams tried to take the lead in the second period, both defenses held strong and brought the game into double overtime. Finally, with a 1-1 tie after double overtime, the penalty kick round began.

    Sophomore defenseman/midfielder Chase Douglas came up first with a chance to start the Tritons off with some momentum, but his ball hit the post and sailed away from the net. The Roadrunners sent Drew Rea to take the first shot, but Ruhland made a crucial save to keep the game tied.

    Davey, the Tritons’ point leader this season with seven goals and six assists, an All-CCAA First Team member and an All-American, had a golden opportunity to give UCSD a lead. Roadrunner goalkeeper Chris Wicks made one of his four saves in the game on Davey’s kick and kept the game knotted.

    Juarez, who beat Ruhland to tie the game in the first period, beat the Triton goalkeeper once more, this time for the Roadrunners’ first lead of the game. The lead was short-lived, as sophomore midfielder German Bravo finally put one past Wicks.

    Jason Doss-Carter opened the match up again then, giving the Roadrunners the lead at 2-1. Sophomore defenseman Dustin Tannenhaus had the chance to tie it one last time, but his shot, which was aimed at the upper left corner of the net, sailed above the posts. The miss set up a clinching opportunity for the Roadrunners. If Cal State Bakersfield’s Matt O’Sullivan could get the ball to the back of the net, the Roadrunners would have a 3-1 lead with only one kick left for the Tritons. O’Sullivan went left with the ball that got past Ruhland and propelled the Roadrunners into the CCAA championship game.

    “We got them into double overtime, and we played very well,” senior defenseman Luke Russell said. “But we missed some opportunities and they converted on some. I still feel that we are the better team.”

    With the loss, the Tritons fall to 9-4-4 on the season, which was filled with both disappointing losses and clutch victories. Although UCSD barely made the CCAA playoffs, the team still hopes to make it into the NCAA tournament.

    “I’d love the opportunity to play another game,” Russell said. “We’ve just been playing really well.”

    Russell, a senior, is very hopeful that the Tritons will get into the NCAA bracket, because if they do not, the loss to Cal State Bakersfield was the last game of his career at UCSD.

    “I’m really proud of myself and my other senior teammates,” he said. “Playing college ball is hard and we stuck with it. I had a great time playing soccer here at UCSD.”

    Despite the playoff shortfall, this season was a historic one, as 23-year head coach Derek Armstrong garnered his 300th career match on Oct. 15 against Chico State. Armstrong joined UCSD women’s soccer coach Brian McManus in the 300-win club, making the pair the first simultaneously active coaches in NCAA history to each have 300 wins at the same school.

    The CCAA Championship finals was played on Nov. 7 but results were unavailable at press time.

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