Topsy-turvy CCAA Weekend Ends in Split

    Erik Jepsen/Guardian File
    Erik Jepsen/Guardian File

    WOMEN’S SOCCER — The No. 11 UCSD women’s soccer team had a roller coaster of a weekend, vanquishing California Collegiate Athletic Association rival Cal State Dominguez Hills 2-1 on Oct. 16 before falling to CCAA rival Cal State Los Angeles 1-2 on Oct. 19.

    With only four games remaining in the season, UCSD holds a 12-3 record (9-3 CCAA) and sits in second place in the CCAA South Division.

    Heading into their Oct. 16 match, the Tritons were tied with the Cal State Dominguez Hills Toros for second place in the CCAA South Division — a short-lived standstill after UCSD supplied some late-game heroics for a 2-1 victory.

    The Toros struck first, taking an early 1-0 lead just five minutes into the match.

    “It kind of settled us down a little, and made us realize that we needed to organize better and pick it up from there,” sophomore forward Sarah McTigue said. “Our team just had a mindset that we were not going to lose that game. I think we handled [falling behind] pretty well.”

    The Tritons gave their answer 15 minutes later. McTigue scored the game-tying goal, her sixth of the season, tying her with sophomore midfielder Shelby Wong for the team lead. Sophomore midfielder Anne Wethe earned an assist on the play — also her sixth of the season.

    The match was tied 1-1 heading into halftime.

    “We just made sure that our defense knew what we were doing when going back into the game,” McTigue said of the team’s halftime adjustments. “Other than that, it was no different than the first half.”

    The second half played out much differently than the first. The Triton’s defense stood strong, surrendering zero goals despite three well-aimed Toro shots. It was a shift from the first half, when UCSD allowed one goal on two shots.

    The second half also saw a decisive change in the Tritons’ offense. UCSD had attempted five shots against Cal State Dominguez Hills in the first half, but only took one shot in the entire second half.

    However, that one shot would be all the team needed.

    The game-winning goal was scored at the 87:42 mark, with less than three minutes of play left on the clock. Scoring was freshman forward Alyssa Newcomer, while Wethe executed her second assist of the game.

    “That’s just the way the game ended up going,” McTigue said. “It was a really close game, and luckily, we finished our one opportunity. They were very physical. Going into the match, we knew it was going to be a war.”

    With the victory, the Tritons extended their winning streak to seven games and took sole possession of second place in the CCAA South.

    With a match against division-leading Cal State Los Angeles just three days away, the Tritons were eyeing a share of the division lead and a potential eight-game winning streak.

    Prior to battling Cal State Los Angeles, McTigue touched upon the upcoming match’s significance.

    “Everyone is going into it knowing this is going to be one of the most important and possibly one of the most difficult games of the season,” McTigue said. “But we are definitely ready for it.”

    Despite’s the team’s efforts, the Tritons were unable to extend their winning streak against the No. 17 Golden Eagles. UCSD fell behind early in the game only to charge back late in the match, but their rally fell short.

    The Golden Eagles took a 1-0 lead in the 22nd minute of play, securing a lead that would stick through the first half.

    “They were very strong on the ball,” sophomore goalkeeper Kristin Armstrong said. “They always had two players attacking us when we had the ball. They played very fast and strong on the ball, and were physical.”

    Cal State Los Angeles extended its lead to 2-0 in the 53rd minute of play. The Tritons attempted a late push for victory, led by a goal from sophomore defender Sara Spaventa. In the 79th minute, Spaventa fired a rocket from over 30 yards out, driving the ball past the Golden Eagle keeper. The goal was Spaventa’s first of her career, and reduced the Golden Eagle lead to 2-1.

    The Tritons made four more attempts at goal as the clock ran down, but none were successful: Cal State Los Angeles outshot the Tritons 16-11 in the end.

    The loss was UCSD’s first in October; the team’s last loss was on Sept. 20 at Chico State.

    “It was a very good battle,” Armstrong said. “They beat us. We put up a very good battle and almost tied it up. If anything, we will try to rebound from this loss as we did in the Chico game, and use it to fuel us in the next couple matches. Even though the end of the regular season is approaching, I don’t think we are losing any steam.”

    UCSD will finish its regular season with four home matches, beginning with an Oct. 23 game against Cal State San Bernardino.

    Readers can contact John Beck at [email protected].

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