Soccer one win from division title

Just over a week ago, the women’s soccer team was riding a nine-game winning streak and was prepared to enter the home stretch of the regular season with only one loss on the year. Now, the Tritons have tripled their loss count by dropping two games in a row, both by a score of 2-1 to Cal State Stanislaus on Oct. 16 and Cal State Dominguez Hills on Oct. 22.

The No. 11 Tritons (13-3-0 overall, 9-3-3 California Collegiate Athletic Association) played host to the No. 10 Toros (12-4-2 overall, 7-3-2 CCAA) in their penultimate home match of the year. The Tritons entered the game in first place in the CCAA South Division with a spot in the CCAA playoffs secured.

Although the Tritons are still poised for a playoff appearance, their play of late has been less than stellar. During their winning streak, the Triton defense tallied six-straight shutouts while the offense notched 25 goals; however, during their two-game losing streak, the Tritons have allowed four goals while scoring only two.

The defense, normally reminiscent of a brick wall, came crumbling down in the 40th minute of the first half against Cal State Dominguez Hills, allowing the Toros’ Tara Senff’s sixth goal of the year. Triton freshman goalie Mia Shirley, who has been spectacular so far this year, made a rare mistake and let a low ball to the right get through to the net.

Shirley’s slip gave the Toros a 1-0 lead, but the Tritons were able to notch an equalizer in the 67th minute. Sophomore Chelsey Campbell’s shot from 25 yards out bounced off the right post to junior Kelly Cochran, who took the rebound and netted her eighth goal of the season from the left side.

Following the Triton goal, the Toros started mounting momentum by putting pressure on the defense. Cal State Dominguez Hills kept the ball in Triton territory for most of the rest of the game, eventually taking advantage of a tired defense for the go-ahead goal in the 86th minute.

Senff was once again responsible for the score, but this time she went to the opposite side, putting the ball in the upper right corner of the net from 22 yards out for the lead. The lead proved to be insurmountable, as the Tritons hoped for some last-second heroics. However, Senff remained the hero of the game and the Toros went on to win.

The loss hurts the Tritons for obvious reasons, but their playoff hopes are safe. The Tritons are still in first place in the CCAA South, leading Cal State Dominguez Hills by four poin ts. With the lead, the Tritons must win only one of their remaining two regular season games to clinch their sixth-straight CCAA South Division title.

The remaining two games for the team include a road rematch against Cal State San Bernardino on Oct. 26 and a home finale versus Cal State Los Angeles on Oct. 29.