All Goose Eggs in Tie With Humboldt

    Senior forward Tony Fernandez and the UCSD offense had plenty of chances, but couldn’t find the back of the net in a tightly contested scoreless draw against Humboldt State last Sunday. (Andrew Ricci/Guardian)

    MEN’S SOCCER — “The sport is like that sometimes — the best team doesn’t always win,” head coach John Pascale said after his men’s soccer team played to a 0-0 double overtime draw against Humboldt State University on Oct. 5 at Triton Soccer Field. The Tritons failed to capitalize on numerous opportunities and were forced to settle with only one point in the finale of a four-game home stand. The draw, coupled with a 4-0 loss to Sonoma State on Oct. 3, leaves UCSD with an overall record of 6-3-2 and a California Collegiate Athletic Association mark of 3-3-2. The Tritons currently sit in fourth place in the CCAA South Division with 11 points.

    The home side showed the needed intensity from the get-go and nearly netted an early score halfway through the first frame. Senior midfielder Joe Shah lined a pass to freshman forward Scott Macbride, who was sitting on the doorstep ready to strike. But Humboldt goalkeeper Drew Ryan made a strong play on the ball, denying Macbride an easy goal.

    After a strong first half, the Tritons exhibited a sense of desperation as they pushed and prodded in their attempts to get on the scoreboard. The squad exhibited a fluidity and precision in their passing game that had recently been lacking, creating a multitude of opportunities to strike. In the 49th minute, sophomore midfielder Josh Jackson played a corner kick into the box where senior forward Tony Fernandez was waiting. Fernandez rose above a group of defenders and headed the ball on target but missed just above the crossbar.

    Moments later the Tritons were at it again as Fernandez headed a ball forward to Macbride, who ran up the left side of the pitch. Macbride was able to control the ball and put a shot on goal, but was again denied by the keeper.

    Even the defense got involved in the battering of the Lumberjacks’ goalkeeper. In the 58th minute, sophomore defender Jared Kukura came out of nowhere and put a diving header on a ball that was played through the box, only to be denied like so many of his teammates already had been.

    Both sides had opportunities to go ahead throughout the remainder of the second half, but neither squad could manage to put one home and the match headed into overtime. The Tritons and the Lumberjacks defended extremely well in the first overtime period and it came and went with few scoring opportunities.

    The second and final overtime of the match saw both teams scrambling to secure a victory and earn three points in the standings. Chance after chance went by in the final five minutes, the match often seeming more like a video game than real life. Despite the offensive efforts, neither team could capitalize on the combined 34 shots taken in the match, and were forced to settle for a draw.
    The Tritons’ offense certainly looked better in this match, but they still need to figure out how to be better up front.
    “I think it is just a matter of finding that last touch or last pass,” Fernandez said. “We need to be more of a threat in the attacking third.”
    The draw means that UCSD has not scored a goal in its past three matches. Luckily, the Triton defense was back to its old ways after a tough couple of outings, with senior goalkeeper Peter Akman posting his sixth clean sheet of the campaign.

    “I think we are back on track on defense,” junior forward Tony Choi said. “We worked a lot on individual team defending in practice, we just have some minor details we need to focus on.”

    Earlier in the weekend the Tritons welcomed No. 4 Sonoma State to Triton Soccer Field. The Seawolves are perennial contenders for the CCAA title and provided a great measuring stick for UCSD. The Tritons gave them all they could handle deep into the second half, playing some great soccer on both sides of the pitch. However, the Seawolves are just too good to be held down for long and netted four goals in the last 20 minutes of the match to take the win. Redshirt freshman Ben Langwith scored twice, with senior Nathan Medina and junior Alan Grady each chipping in a goal apiece.

    Losing a match 4-0 is never a good thing, but many members of the squad viewed the match as a good way to take a step forward.
    “We held them 0-0 for a long time,” Fernandez said. “We really felt like we had them on the ropes at times, you really felt that there was going to be a goal coming.”

    According to Pascale, the Tritons have already learned from the loss.

    “In large part, it was the best game we had all year, and we lost 4-0,” he said. “We were definitely a better team when we stepped off the field than when we stepped on.”

    The Tritons will look to build on that confidence as they take to the road to play conference matches against Cal State Stanislaus and Chico State on Oct. 10 and Oct. 12, respectively.

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