Tough Losses Close out Soccer Season

Tyler Kern/Guardian
Tyler Kern/Guardian

MEN’S SOCCER — After a promising but ultimatey frustrating season, UCSD closed out its 2009 campaign with a very fitting end: two close losses.

UCSD dropped its match with Cal State Los Angeles on Oct. 30 1-0 before losing 2-0 on the final game of the season two days later, against Cal State Dominguez Hills.

The defeats dropped UCSD to 7-9-4 overall and 4-9-3 in the California College Athletic Association.

“We’ve been real unlucky, coming out on the losing side of a lot of one-point games,” Junior defender Josh Jackson said. “[But] Coach Pascale has preached to keep working hard and playing our game no matter what.”

On Oct. 30, the Tritons fell to No. 7 Cal State Los Angeles — who outshot UCSD 12-3 — in a 1-0 defeat.

To a crowd of home fans on a warm Friday night, the Tritons came out strong against CSULA when freshman forward Evan Walker chased down a long pass to create a breakaway situation against the Golden Eagles’ keeper. Walker attempted to juke the keeper, but the Golden Eagles goalie jumped on the ball at Walker’s feet to stop the shot.

The play ended badly for both teams: The players collided, resulting in a head injury to the Golden Eagles’ goalkeeper that forced him to leave the game.

Carrying a 4-0 shot advantage into the half, Cal State Los Angeles scored what would be the lone goal of the game in the 49th minute. A misplaced Triton header was picked up by a charging Golden Eagle, who booted a driving ball past senior UCSD keeper Peter Akman to put the Eagles on top.

Five minutes later, the Eagles almost doubled their lead when junior defender Anton Gunnarsson sent a weak shot through the box to senior forward Derrek Horn, who waited near the front of the net. Horn’s drive seemed to be on goal, but Akman made a diving save to prevent the score.

UCSD finally showed some sign of offensive life in the 81st minute, when the ball was deflected at the top of the penalty box. Bakal launched a solid shot on goal but the Cal State Los Angeles keeper came up with an impressive stop.

With just under a minute to play, the Tritons put in their final effort. Bakal took a Golden Eagle turnover and sent a hard shot — but it was stopped again by the LA keeper, sealing the Triton defeat.

On Nov. 1, the Tritons celebrated the season’s final game by hosting their annual Senior Day, where all eight graduating seniors were honored before the start of the match. However, family and friends was not enough to push the Tritons offense to scratch out a victory.

The starring legacy left behind by the team’s 2009 senior class are the accomplishments of Akman and senior Tony Choi.

Akman leaves the Triton soccer program with the most career saves in UCSD school history. Choi holds the distinction of graduating with more career assists at the Division-II level than any other Triton soccer player.

The match against the CSUDH Toros was scoreless until the 73rd minute, when a Dominguez Hills attacker drove a ball past Akman from 18 yards out. A second Toro score eight minutes later was too much for UCSD to overcome, and the 2009 season came to a somber close.

Despite a disappointing outcome in box scores and standings, Jackson said he believes his team has much to be proud of at the close of their 2009 season, including a solid core of young players and one of the best defenses in the CCAA.

“You can’t really point the finger at any aspect of our team for the results, and it’s really just a matter of so many things that just didn’t go our way,” Jackson said. “This year has been a great season to build upon for next.”

Readers can contact Cameron Tillisch at [email protected].