Still Flying High

    MEN’S SOCCER— The men’s soccer team secured a goal in overtime on Friday night, giving the Tritons a 3-2 upset over No. 14 Chico State.

    The Chico State Wildcats came into the match heavily favored, sitting on top of the CCAA North division with a 7-3 record. However, the Tritons held Chico scoreless in the first half, with the two teams battling to a 0-0 draw at the end of the first period.

    UCSD was able to crack the tough Wildcat defense at the start of the second half when senior defender Jared Kakura scored off a rebound from inside the goal box. Sophomore defender Alex Portela sent a short corner kick to midfielder Andisheh Bagheri, who fired in a low shot that the Chico keeper could only deflect back into play. Kakura was there to finish, and the Tritons went up 1-0 just 54 seconds into the second half.

    With the lead against the Wildcats, the Tritons dropped back to defend their lead against a surging Chico offense. But in the 62nd minute, the Triton defense gave way when Wildcat forward Ferid Celosmanovic capitalized on a poor clearance to finish his ninth goal of the season.  The Wildcats’ top goal scorer sent a volley into the far post to beat UCSD redshirt freshman goalkeeper Jesse Brennan.

    With the game tied at 1-1, both squads opened up the game as they pushed forward to attack.  Chico combined for a chance on goal in the 73rd minute, forcing Brennan to make a diving save. The UCSD goalkeeper successfully saved the shot, but was forced to leave the game after sustaining a hip pointer injury. Josh Cohen replaced Brennan, and the freshman goalkeeper’s first minutes with UCSD proved crucial in attaining the win.

    Cohen denied Chico State a number of dangerous attempts at the Triton goal as the game remained tied late in the second half.  Cohen was helpless, however, as the draw was broken in the 88th minute when Celosmanovic finished an unassisted goal from 20 yards out.  The forward sent a hard left-footed shot past Cohen to put Chico State up 2-1.

    With less than a minute left in the regulation time period, the Tritons pushed forward, searching for an equalizer. They found redemption when senior midfielder David Bakal scored a header off a cross from freshman defender Cory Wolfrom.

    “We went down with about four minutes left, and we never gave up; we kept fighting,” Bakal said, regarding his last-minute goal. “Cory [Wolfrom] sent in a great ball and I was able to finish it.”

    The goal sent the game into overtime with the score tied at 2-2.  After 90 minutes of play, neither squad showed any sign of fatigue as they battled for possession up and down the pitch.  With 50 seconds left in the first period of extra time, the Tritons won a free kick just outside of the Wildcat goal box. Sophomore defender Adam Zernik lined up the kick and sent a dipping shot over the wall. Once again, Chico’s keeper could only deflect the shot, allowing an onrushing Kakura to bury the ball into the back of the net.

    “(Zernik) did well to put the ball on target and force the keeper to make a save,” Kakura said. “I was just in the right place at the right time.”

    The win moves UCSD up to fourth in the CCAA South division, and marks its seventh consecutive game without a loss.

    “We just take it one game at a time,” Bakal said. “We know that if we play our game, we can beat any team in the country.”

    UCSD will need to take that confidence into its match against a tough Cal State Stanislaus squad on Sunday. The Tritons expect Brennan to sit out the match because of the injury. The game will kick off at 2 p.m. at Triton Soccer Field.

    Michelle Jaconette / Guardian

    WOMEN’S SOCCER— The women’s soccer team collected its fifth straight win on Friday, picking up a 3-1 victory over Chico State. The Tritons also extended their unbeaten run to eight matches.

    After a rocky start to conference play knocked them out of the national rankings, the Tritons have rebounded beautifully, moving up to second in the CCAA South division and No. 22 in the nation. The win moved UCSD to 7-2-2 in the CCAA and dropped the Wildcats down to 5-6.

    The Tritons converted their first shot on goal six minutes into the game, when junior forward Sarah McTigue found forward Annette Ilg in the penalty box. Ilg pushed past Chico State goalkeeper Sydney Oliver to score her sixth goal of the season and put the Tritons up 1-0.

    Ilg — who has earned a starting position in the past three games and seen her minutes increase — continued to contribute to the Triton offense by tallying another assist just 7 minutes later. Ilg and McTigue once again combined to put in a cross, which fell at the feet of Danielle Dixon. The sophomore midfielder lofted a shot to beat the Wildcat goalkeeper.

    “I got a pass to my left on the top of the box, and even though I’m stronger with my right, I took a chance and shot it,” Dixon said.

    Dixon, who played more of a supporting midfielder role last year, has been given a larger role in the offense and recorded her second goal of the season.

    The Wildcats pushed back to score with less than 10 minutes remaining in the first half. Chico midfielder Ashley Perlman sent a curved cross to midfielder Lisa Webster, who got on the end of it to redirect the ball into the net.

    The Tritons maintained their 2-1 lead into the second half, although the Wildcat attack continued to put pressure on the Tritons. Sophomore goalkeeper Kristin Armstrong was forced to make three saves on the game, while Chico’s Oliver made two.

    Despite the Wildcats’ pressure, UCSD secured the win in the 60th minute when Ilg recorded her second assist of the game. Ilg crossed a ball from the right side into the penalty area to junior midfielder Shelby Wong, who hit a volley into the back of the net. The goal marked Wong’s first of the season, and Ilg’s third assist.

    The 3-1 score held until the end of the match, although Chico State mustered a couple of dangerous shots on goal.  The best Wildcat attempt happened just 5 minutes before the end of the game, when Armstrong denied a Chico forward’s well-placed header on goal with a diving save.

    “It wasn’t the prettiest soccer we’ve played — at times it was downright ugly,” junior midfielder and reigning CCAA Player of the Week Annie Wethe said. “But everyone was giving 100 percent and heart won it for us today.”

    UCSD will look to continue its winning streak on Oct. 17 against Cal State Stanislaus. The Warriors are 7-3-1 and are currently in second place in the CCAA North division. A win against the Warriors could allow the Tritons to claim the top spot in the South division — depending on other results from around the conference.

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