Controversy Muddles Tritons’ Defeat

    Senior Tony Fernandez helped generate nine shots for the UCSD offense, but couldn’t find the net in a 2-0 loss at Cal State Dominque Hills. It was the fifth time in six games the Tritons failed to score. (Andrew Ricci/Guardian File)

    MEN’S SOCCER — After an impressive road win against Chico State on Oct.12, the men’s soccer team looked to continue its momentum as the Tritons traveled to Carson, Calif., to take on Cal State Dominguez Hills. The Oct. 15 midweek match gave the Tritons the opportunity to take down yet another team from the California Collegiate Athletic Association and take a major step toward playoff qualification. Instead, UCSD gave up a controversial goal less than two minutes into the match and never recovered, falling 2-0.

    The Tritons came into the match with aspirations of upsetting the Toros, who have yet to lose at home this season. However, they were on the wrong end of an odd play that occurred shortly after the start of the match. In the second minute, Cal State Dominguez Hills freshman forward Greg Piechota played a ball into the box to teammate and senior midfielder Kyle Holland, who appeared to have committed an obvious hand ball — so obvious that players from both sides stopped playing, expecting the referee to make the easy call. But Holland did not stop, and knocked the ball past stunned senior goalkeeper Peter Akman, who could only watch as his team went down a goal in the early moments of the match. The score seemed to take the wind out of the Tritons’ sails, as they found themselves undeservedly down 1-0 against a tough team on the road.

    “I don’t like to make excuses but the way the game started off made it tough to battle back against such an established team like Dominguez,” senior forward Tony Fernandez said. “We don’t do well when we get behind — it doesn’t work in our favor. Such a change of environment within the first two minutes distracted a lot of the guys. It makes it tough to bounce back from that.”

    With the Toros up early, the Tritons were forced to change their game plan and focus on their attack in order to earn an equalizer. But that strategy backfired as Cal State Dominguez Hills found the net again in the 27th minute. Senior midfielder Carmelo Terranova collected a loose ball 25 yards out and blasted a shot past Akman, who could not stretch far enough to make a diving save.

    Down 2-0, the Tritons came out strong in the second half and created a number of scoring opportunities. Senior forward Tom Caplan, junior defender Daniel Pavitt and sophomore defender Tyler Zuppan all had shots at the keeper but failed to put one home, leaving the Tritons goalless for the fifth time in six games.

    The Toros dominated most of the offense, outshooting the Tritons 20-9 and earning a 4-3 advantage on corner kicks. Caplan led the UCSD attack with three shots in the match. Junior midfielder Tony Choi added two shots as a substitute. The loss drops the Tritons’ overall record 7-5-2 and 4-5-2 in league play.

    The squad may have felt like the victims of some poor officiating, but head coach John Pascale did not hesitate to admit his team was beaten by a better side.

    “Dominguez is as good a team as we have seen all year,” he said. “They make you play at a high level for 90 minutes. I thought they were two goals better than us on the day.”

    Pascale was also quick to point out that his squad played with the intensity and work ethic that fans have come to expect in his first year at the helm.

    “At times we were defending well and we attacked better and moved the ball better than the first game,” he said. “We did the best we could.”

    Choi also praised the Tritons’ effort, but pointed to a lack of focus as their downfall.

    “I think we did well working hard and we tried to work together as a team,” he said. “We lost focus a couple of times and those lapses cost us mistakes that led to goals.

    The Tritons, who have only three conference matches left in the season, still have a chance to make it to the playoffs, which has become the team’s focus.

    “We are still in playoff contention,” Fernandez said. “We need to win all the rest of our games — there is no more room to lose.”

    The Tritons returned home to battle conference powerhouse Cal State Los Angeles on Oct. 19 at Triton Soccer Field, but scores were not available as of press time. The final UCSD home match will be played against Seattle Pacific University on Oct. 25 before the Tritons take to the road to play Cal State San Bernardino and Cal Poly Pomona on Oct. 31 and Nov. 2, respectively.

    More to Discover
    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    $200
    $500
    Contributed
    Our Goal

    Your donation will support the student journalists at University of California, San Diego. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, keep printing our papers, and cover our annual website hosting costs.

    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    $200
    $500
    Contributed
    Our Goal