Men’s Soccer Up Against a Wall

    Excellence in sports requires many qualities — determination, skill and preparation, just to name a few. All of these qualities can be controlled by any athlete; however, sporting events are often determined by the one quality that cannot be controlled: luck.

    To say that the UCSD men’s soccer team’s season has been full of bad luck is an understatement. And just when they thought it could not get any worse, the Tritons may have suffered their worst stroke of bad luck to date in their match against Cal State San Bernardino on Oct. 8. For the first time in weeks, the Tritons were the only team to score a goal in the match. Unfortunately, the only goal they did score went into the back of the wrong net, earning the Tritons a 1-0 loss, their sixth in the past seven matches.

    The Tritons began the contest looking to be more aggressive than usual on the offensive end.

    “We played [senior defenseman] Matt Horne at forward again and brought an extra midfielder up top to put on the pressure and create more scoring chances,” freshman midfielder Tony Choi said.

    The strategy seemed like a solid idea considering the Tritons have mustered only one goal in their past seven matches. But the plan soon backfired as a Coyote crossing pass deflected off retreating senior defenseman Dustin Tannehaus and past freshman goalkeeper Joshua Vasquez only six minutes into the match. With the early goal, UCSD had plenty of time to regroup and make up for the blunder, but the Coyotes played a stifling defense for the rest of the match and came away with the win. The Tritons had several scoring chances, but were outshot by Cal State San Bernardino, 11-6.

    With the loss, the Tritons’ record fell to 4-6-2 in California Collegiate Athletic Association play, nearly eliminating them from the playoffs. The Tritons’ overall record is also below .500 for the first time all season, falling to 6-7-2. Since their 2-1 win against Western Washington University on Sept. 20, the Tritons have a record of 0-6-1 and have been outscored 1-9 by their opponents. In that same stretch, UCSD has fallen from first place in the CCAA South Division into a tie for fifth.

    Choi believes that the team’s poor play cannot be attributed to only one factor.

    “Our effort has always been good, we just have not been able to get that last bit of touch on the ball when we need to make plays,” he said.

    Despite the sour turn the season has taken, the Tritons are trying to stay focused and finish out the rest of the year.

    “Our season is on the line now,” Choi said. “If we want to make the playoffs, we have to win all of our matches and hope to get a little help.”

    Even if the Tritons do not make the playoffs, there are still plenty of reasons to try to finish the season on a high note.

    “The seniors on the team deserve a better send off than this and we are going to do whatever we can to make that happen,” Choi said.

    The Tritons will host their final homestand of the season this weekend and will need all the support they can get if they hope to make a push toward the playoffs. UCSD will take on Cal State Los Angeles on Oct. 13 at 4:30 p.m. and Cal State Bakersfield on Oct. 15 at 3:30 p.m. The Tritons will conclude their season with two road games at San Francisco State and Cal State Monterey Bay Oct. 20 and 22, respectively.

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