Soccer Braces for Conference Playoffs

    After wrapping up its 2009 regular season with two tough one-goal losses, UCSD will now prepare for the CCAA conference championships from Nov. 6 to Nov. 8, hosted by CSU Stanislaus in Turlock, Calif. (Kevin Wu/Guardian)
    After wrapping up its 2009 regular season with two tough one-goal losses, UCSD will now prepare for the CCAA conference championships from Nov. 6 to Nov. 8, hosted by CSU Stanislaus in Turlock, Calif. (Kevin Wu/Guardian)
    WOMEN’S SOCCER — The No. 18 UCSD women’s soccer team finished the 2009 regular season with back-to-back disappointing losses. The Tritons fell 1-0 to California Collegiate Athletic Association rival Cal State Los Angeles on Oct. 30 before falling 2-1 in overtime to Cal State Dominguez Hills on Nov. 1.

    Including its final losses, UCSD concludes the 2009 regular season with a 14-5 record (11-5 CCAA). Despite the winless weekend, the team’s consistent performance throughout the season earned them the No. 2 seed in next week’s CCAA Championships, beginning Nov. 6 in Turlock, Calif.

    Having already secured a position in the upcoming CCAA Championships, the Tritons began their Oct. 30 match looking to finish the season on a positive note. However, the UCSD offense failed to step up, and the Tritons lost to the Golden Eagles in a 1-0 thriller.

    The match was tied 0-0 until the 88th minute. With only two minutes left on the clock, Cal State Los Angeles finally broke through the UCSD defense to score the game’s lone goal.

    The Tritons had their fair share of scoring opportunities throughout the game, including a 3-1 advantage in corner kicks. Both offenses were very aggressive: UCSD attempted 14 shots on goal, while the Golden Eagles rebutted with 17 of their own.

    UCSD sophomore goalkeeper Kristin Armstrong posted a career-high 10 saves in the game.

    “We played well,” sophomore midfielder Anne Wethe said. “There is not a whole lot I would change about how we played. It happens. Sometimes you play better than the other team and you don’t win.”

    Looking to bounce back from their loss to CSULA, the Tritons set their sights on victory two days later in a game against Cal State Dominguez Hills.

    UCSD took an early 1-0 lead when — after receiving a cross from freshman midfielder Jessica Wi — Wethe knocked a header into the net. The goal was Wethe’s third of the season, and gave Wi her 6th assist on the year. The Tritons held their 1-0 lead up to half time.

    “I think a lot of people found a sense of complacency after we scored the first goal,” Wethe said. “The team needs to be confident in our ability to score more goals. One goal isn’t enough. We need to realize that when the [opposing] team is already on its heels, that is the time to attack.”

    The Toros evened the contest to 1-1 in the 71st minute after a hand ball outside the Tritons’ defensive zone set up a game-tying free kick.

    The two teams continued to battle with no scoring until the match moved into overtime.

    In overtime, Cal State Dominguez Hills found the goal once again. After a missed free kick in the 98th minute, a lone Toro in a swarm of Tritons sent a header past Armstrong for the game-winning score.

    “We’ve got to win the CCAAs next week if we are going to go to regionals,” head coach Brian McManus said. “We have got to step up our game. We are too soft a team when meeting challenges and meeting tackles. We’ve talked about it, and now the girls have to step up. I don’t care if they are freshmen or sophomores­ — they need to step up and be physical.’’

    UCSD will kick off the CCAA championship at 11 a.m. on Nov. 6 with a match against No. 3 seed Cal State Dominguez Hills.

    Next comes a bout between No. 1 seed Cal State Los Angeles and No. 4 seed Chico State. The winners of the two matches will then battle for the CCAA championship on Nov. 8.

    UCSD and Cal State Dominguez Hills have met in the postseason for the past two years.

    Dominguez Hills defeated the Tritons in the first round of the 2007 NCAA West Regional a year before UCSD clinched the 2008 CCAA Championship with a 3-1 win over the Toros.

    The Tritons are currently 1-1 against Cal State Dominguez Hills this season, after picking up a 2-1 win on Oct. 16 and dropping a 2-1 decision on Nov. 1.

    “Dominguez Hills’ strength definitely lies in their physicality and size,” Wethe said. “Our strength would be quickness, speed of play and creativity. It’s do or die now. It’s not a matter of talent, it’s not a matter of style. It’s just a matter of wanting to win, drive and motivation.”

    Readers can contact John Beck at [email protected].

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