Tritons in Fight For First Place

    Played at Rohnert Park, the match featured two teams near the top of their tables — with the Tritons in a fight for first in the CCAA South Division and the Seawolves neck-and-neck for first in the North Division with Chico State and CSU Stanislaus.

    Just nine minutes into the match Sonoma put themselves 1-0 in the hole, as a Seawolf defender put the ball into his own net.

    Junior forward Tsuk Haroush doubled the lead at the 30 minute mark, as his shot from within the 18-yard box deflected off a Sonoma keeper and into the net.

    From there, the-six person UCSD backline kept the Seawolves scoreless, allowing Sonoma only four shots — none of which were on target. True freshman Cameron McElfresh logged his fourth game as a Triton, as well as his third shutout.

    “Defense is something that we try to coach often and thoroughly,” UCSD Assistant Coach Eric Bucchere said. “I think the whole team has bought into attacking together and defending together. I think that’s made us a really difficult team to break down, and we’ve really become hard-nosed, honest hard-working squad.”

    The Tritons have only allowed two goals in conference play, but are only averaging one goal a match. Bucchere concedes the Tritons may be lacking in the attack, but believes the goals will continue to come for UCSD.

    “We haven’t been scoring a lot of the goals,” Bucchere said. “The conference this year is especially tough, and all our games are going to be tight. But as the season progresses, we’re going to be scoring more and more goals.”

    Nine games into conference play, the Tritons are currently 6-1-2, having gone without a loss for six consecutive games. UCSD is just two points in front of CSU Dominguez Hills (6-4) and two points behind top of the South Division CSU Los Angeles (7-2-1).

    The Tritons will face CSU Los Angeles this Friday, Oct. 12 at RIMAC Arena. The last time the two teams met, the Tritons dropped a decision in double overtime at the 105th minute.

    “[CSU Los Angeles] knows how to make the game difficult,” Bucchere said. “But the boys are focused on doing their jobs, competing for the full game and breaking them down when they can.”

    With only two teams from each division earning a bid to the conference tournament, the Tritons need to hold onto second place, or take over CSU Los Angeles as Dominguez Hills and CSU San Bernardino try to jockey for position.

    A win for the Tritons would put UCSD at the top of the table, while a tie would potentially endanger their second-place standing.

    “Every year we’ve been building,” Bucchere said. “I think the team really understands what it’s going to take to get to a post-season. They’ve all felt the heartbreak of coming close. This is an experienced group that will be willing to fight.”

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