Men Knock Golden Eagles from Perch

    After a crushing 1-5 loss on Oct. 10 against
    No. 18 Cal State Dominguez Hills, the UCSD men’s soccer team responded
    furiously with an upset Cal State Los Angeles 1-0 on Oct. 12. The impressive —
    and improbable — win improved the team’s record to 3-9-2 overall and 2-6-2 in
    California Collegiate Athletic Association play, while dropping South Division
    rival Cal State Los Angeles from first place.

    Although sophomore midfielder Shane Micheil and the Tritons managed only six shots in their game against Cal State Los Angeles, UCSD prevailed 1-0 over the Golden Eagles on Oct. 12. (Erik Jepsen/Guardian)

    Interim head coach Paul Holohan praised the
    Tritons’ ability to focus on the task at hand and put the embarrassing loss
    against Cal State Dominguez Hills behind them.

    “[Before the Los Angeles game] we had
    discussed the Cal State Dominguez game,
    and it was just a letdown,” Holohan said. “We have to have a good attitude, a
    110 percent commitment and a desire to win. And that desire to win was there.
    We played great; it was a great team performance.”

    Senior captain Josh Levy agreed that his
    squad handled the disappointment of losing by making a stronger effort two
    nights later.

    “We definitely bounced back,” Levy said. “We
    played really well and everyone stepped up. [Freshman midfielder] David Bakal’s
    goal was perfect. It was very well executed. [Junior goalkeeper] Peter [Akman]
    came up big and had a huge save toward the end.”

    When asked how it felt to knock the top team
    of the CCAA South Division leaders out of first place, Holohan admitted that he
    hadn’t thought about the standings during the game.

    “I actually don’t know where we are,” he
    said. “I haven’t been looking at the standings, because we have been just
    taking it one game at a time.”

    Sophomore midfielder Tony Choi will have to play like a veteran in UCSD’s final four games of the season if the Tritons have any hope of sneaking into the playoffs. (Erik Jepsen/Guardian)

    With the win over the Golden Eagles, Akman
    recorded his third shutout of the year. Earlier in the season, former head
    coach Derek Armstrong said that there was not enough leadership from the
    goaltender and backfield. Now, however, Holohan feels that Akman has definitely
    grown into his position and has
    become more confident between the posts.

    “Peter was excellent,” Holohan said. “He did
    very well. He has stepped up as the leader. We have also talked about it and
    he’s stepped up and tried to be an example to the younger boys.”

    Having scored a goal in each of their past
    three games after being held scoreless for the two matches before that, the Tritons
    finally seem to be reassembling their offense. More players have been getting
    involved offensively, as Bakal and freshman defender Brandon Yee scored the
    first goals of their collegiate careers.

    Holohan attributed this recent offensive
    streak to a combination of execution and fortune.

    “We haven’t really changed anything,” Holohan
    said. “We’re just trying to get more going in the final third [of the season].
    We’re finally getting a bit of luck.”

    Levy added that the practices have really
    helped.

    “We’re definitely scoring more,” he said. We’ve been practicing going to the
    goal more and it’s finally working now.”

    Ironically, all three of UCSD’s wins have come against
    higher-ranked opponents, proving that the Tritons have the talent to defeat any
    team in the CCAA. Levy believes that the team was more psychologically prepared
    for the big games, with the exception being the match against Cal State
    Dominguez Hills.

    “We’re stepping up against the bigger teams,”
    he said. “We get more pumped up. Unfortunately, against Dominguez, I don’t even
    know how to explain that game. It was weird and basically everything that could
    go wrong did go wrong. We’re capable of beating all the other teams in the
    conference.”

    With four games remaining against conference
    opponents, the Tritons may just sneak into the playoffs if they can be perfect
    for the rest of the season. Although the Tritons’ last four games are at home,
    the team will face difficult opponents, including Cal Poly Pomona, which beat
    UCSD 0-1 in early September.

    Holohan isn’t ruling his squad out and
    remains optimistic about the team’s chances.

    “If
    we can win our last four, I think it might be enough to get us in,” Holohan
    said.

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