Top-Seeded UCSD Drops the Ball in the CCAA Semifinals

    On Friday, Nov. 4 the Tritons took a 2-1 loss against the Warriors, a squad that barely qualified over Sonoma State for the last remaining spot.

    “We came out a little lackadaisical in the first half, and we paid for it,” senior goalkeeper Kristin Armstrong said.

    Although the Tritons — arguably the most dangerous set-piece finishers in the conference — were awarded five corner kicks within the first 16 minutes, they were unable to score. In the 17th minute, Cal State Stanislaus took advantage, as the Warriors’ Liz Scherrer floated a cross into the box that got caught in the wind and angled into the goal.

    “We had too many people marking [Karenee Demery], and not enough people on the ball,” Armstrong said. “When she crossed it, the ball got caught in the wind and I just mistimed it.”

    Up 1-0, UCSD looked for revitalization from the bench, replacing its forwards and wingers in search of offense. But the Tritons were unable to find the net before Cal State Stanislaus’ two All-team selections, junior Alexia Poon and sophomore Karenee Demery, connected to score.

    In the 41st minute, Poon cut her way through the Triton midfield to play Demery behind UCSD’s backline. Demery ran onto the ball and chipped it over Armstrong to score her 12th goal of the season, putting the Warriors up 2-0 at the end of the half.

    “The first half was the worst 45 minutes of soccer we’ve played all season,” head coach Brian McManus said in an interview with CCAA representatives after the match. “[Cal State Stanislaus] came out giving everything and we just weren’t ready.”

    The Tritons regrouped in the second half but weren’t able to put one away until the 85th minute. Junior defender Hayley Johnson crossed the ball from the left to find freshman midfielder Cassie Callahan. Knocking the ball around in the 18-yard box, Callahan found McTigue, who headed the ball into score.

    “[Demery] got around us in the back,” said Armstrong. “And with her speed, once she gets past you, you really can’t catch up to her.”

    With a lot of momentum, the Tritons looked dangerous at the end of the match, but UCSD was unable to equalize.

    The loss marks the third consecutive time UCSD has been knocked out of the CCAA Championships in the semifinal round.    

    On the other side of the bracket, third-seeded Chico State took a 1-0 win from second-seeded Cal State Los Angeles.

    On Sunday, the two bottom seeds, Cal State Stanislaus and Chico State, fought for the conference championship, with the Warriors beating the Wildcats 4-0 for their first conference title in program history. With the win, Stanislaus is also guaranteed a berth in the NCAA National tournament.

    Fortunately, the loss is only the second for the Tritons this season. Since UCSD is still ranked No. 1 in the West Region, the Tritons have clinched a national tournament berth, along with fellow CCAA opponent Cal State Los Angeles and Cal State Stanislaus.

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