Four Win Weekend: Mens Soccer

With just 10 minutes left to play, sophomore midfielder Cory Wolfrom collected a deflected shot from junior forward Evan Walker. Within a crowded 18-yard box, Wolfrom found sophomore midfielder Alec Arsht who was just able to thread a pass through to junior midfielder Alex Portela. With his third shot of the game, Portela fired a ball low and hard to the mouth of the goal, which slipped through the hands of the Monterey Bay keeper, putting the Tritons up 1-0.

“It’s a big win for us,” sophomore defender Gavin Lamming said. “It was a tough game, we had to grind it out. I thought our team stuck together really well. We had a lot of early opportunities that we didn’t put away, but we stuck together, played the best that we could and had to grind it out until we scored at the end.”

The goal proved to be the game winner, but UCSD battled for the 1-0 advantage up and down the pitch. The two teams tallied 16 fouls and four yellow cards — three of which were issued to UCSD. On two occasions, sophomore forward Sam Ball was shouldered into the penalty area, which arguably could have led to penalty kick opportunities. Defensively, the Triton backline — junior Harris Rabin and sophomores Josh Van de Vrugt and Lamming, sitting in front of redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Jesse Brennan — did well to keep the net clean.

In his last four games, Brennan allowed only one goal and tallied 16 saves. When asked about the effectiveness of the Triton defense in the past few matches, Lamming attributes the success to the work ethic of the team as a whole.

“The whole team’s playing defense, it’s not just the back line,” Lamming said. “Starting from the forwards, everyone’s working together, everyone’s playing well, everyone’s trying as hard as they can to get the ball back as soon as they lose it.”

On Sunday, the Tritons posted another shutout, beating CSU East Bay by their largest margin of the season so far, 3-0.The first goal came just 57 seconds in, when Wolfrom played a lofted ball into the front post for Ball, who struck the ball into the net for his first goal of the season.

“The early goal really helped to swing the momentum in our favor,” said Walker. “It was great for three of our players to get their first goals of the season.”

In the 30th minute, freshman midfielder Franco Cruz sliced his way through the midfield to find Portela on the left flank. Portela let fly a cross that deflected off the crossbar, landing at the feet of junior midfielder Kian Malek, who headed the ball past the Pioneer goalkeeper. Walker capped the game by putting the Tritons up 3-0. Arsht found Walker in the 57th minute, who positioned himself one-on-one with the keeper. Walker, who worked himself back into the starting eleven after sustaining an injury last season, pushed the ball into the net to score his first goal of the season.

“I was really happy to get my first goal of the year, and I hope I can add to that tally this weekend,” Walker said.

With the pair of shutouts the Tritons take six points in the CCAA standings. And with the three straight wins, UCSD has pulled themselves above .500, with a 6-4 overall record and a 5-3 record in the CCAA.
“It was really important for us to get our first six point weekend of the year,” said Walker. “Hopefully we can carry this win streak into the coming weekend against Chico and Stanislaus.”

The Tritons will head up North for their next batch of games. On Friday Oct. 7, UCSD is set to face off against 4-2-2 Chico State. The Wildcats hold the second spot in the CCAA North division and, like the Tritons, have put together shutouts in their last three matches.

On Sunday, UCSD will head to Turlock for a test against CSU Stanislaus.