Men’s Soccer Drops Pair of Close Games to Top Opponents

Senior forward Tony Choi saw his shot blocked late in UCSD’s Oct. 18 game versus Cal State Los Angeles. Choi’s unsuccessful shot was one of three failed Triton attempts to tie the score in the game’s final period, and the team lost 1-0 to the Golden Eagles. After the loss, the Tritons’ season record now stands at 4-5-3. (Daniel Caddell/Guardian)
Senior forward Tony Choi saw his shot blocked late in UCSD’s Oct. 18 game versus Cal State Los Angeles. Choi’s unsuccessful shot was one of three failed Triton attempts to tie the score in the game’s final period, and the team lost 1-0 to the Golden Eagles. After the loss, the Tritons’ season record now stands at 4-5-3. (Daniel Caddell/Guardian)

MEN’S SOCCER — Coming off a two-game sweep of conference cellar dwellers Cal State East Bay, the Tritons faced off against teams at the top of their division last weekend. UCSD was unable to pull out an upset in either match, losing two consecutive one-goal road games.

After falling behind 3-0 on Oct. 16, the Tritons mounted a comeback in the final minutes against Cal State Dominguez Hills, but failed to erase the deficit.

Playing against Cal State Los Angeles on Oct. 18, UCSD was again unable to get on the board, taking the 1-0 defeat.

Following the series, UCSD’s conference record drops to 4-5-3 entering a game this Friday against Cal State San Bernardino.

Though UCSD’s defense played consistently well throughout Saturday’s match, the Triton offense struggled to create scoring opportunities on Sunday against the Toros.

In the first half, UCSD did not attempt a single shot on goal. On the other side of the ball, senior goalkeeper Peter Akman sent away all 14 of CSULA’s shots.

Starting the second half scoreless, the Golden Eagles wasted no time getting on the board, netting a goal in the 48th minute. The Tritons managed five shots in the second half, but none of them got through CSULA’s defense.

“I think that Cal State Los Angeles did a great job making it hard [for us] to get in a rhythm,” head coach John Pascale said. “They put a lot of pressure on the ball making life difficult for us. It was a combination of them being really good and us being a little off.”

Akman recorded a career-high 11 saves in the game, but UCSD’s offense was unable to support its goalkeeper in the Tritons’ fifth shutout of the season.

“Peter is an experienced goalkeeper, and he did for us what he’s been doing all year,” Pascale said. “His saves were excellent, but were well within his capabilities. He reads the game well and is very good technically.”

The Tritons struggled on both sides of the ball against CSUDH last Friday, allowing a season-high three scores. Outshooting UCSD 7-1 in the first half, the Toros scored on a header off the cross for a 1-0 lead.

UCSD didn’t get on the board until the Toros netted their third and final goal in the 79th minute. Senior midfielder Kyle Parton broke away from the defense for his first career goal, cutting CSUDH’s lead to 3-1 in the 85th minute.

Parton earned an assist on junior midfielder David Bakal’s goal in the 89th, which brought the Tritons within one score. However, UCSD’s early deficit proved too deep to overcome when they fell 3-2.

“Our approach was to put pressure on [Dominguez Hills] and not let them get in a rhythm. Dominguez Hills never felt comfortable, but they were able to capitalize on our mistakes,” Pascale said. “We were able to get a few goals late and definitely made it interesting, and our guys showed a lot of character, sticking with the game plan the whole time.”

The fourth-place Tritons now return home to face Cal State San Bernardino, sitting in third place, and fifth-place Cal Poly Pomona in the California Collegiate Athletic Association South Division. The last time they faced those two squads this season, the Tritons lost to the Coyotes 1-0 and beat the Broncos by the same score.

“At this point, we’ve seen everybody once this season, and we don’t feel like there’s anybody we can’t beat.”

Readers can contact Janani Sridharan at [email protected].

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