Tritons Mount Playoff Run

    After picking up a win against CSU Stanislaus and settling for a draw against Chico State last weekend, UCSD has inched its way closer to playoff contention but will need help from Dominguez in order to advance.

    The Tritons were ousted from second place after being shutout in two straight matches the weekend prior, in games that reorganized the hierarchy of the South Division. Currently, CSU Los Angeles leads the conference with 29 points, two points ahead of CSU Dominguez Hills with 27, followed by UCSD with 24.

    On Friday, Oct. 20, sophomore midfielder Elan Gefen recorded his first career goal to secure UCSD a 1–0 win over Sonoma State.

    In the 55th minute, senior midfielder Kian Malek struck a shot on frame. Sonoma keeper Clint Long deflected the ball down, allowing Gefen to run on and finish.

    “[This] is a big victory,” UCSD Head Coach Jon Pascale said to the UCSD Athletics Department. “Last weekend, we took two tough losses that were hard to swallow. I thought the guys did a great job bouncing back. This wasn’t an easy game. It was a game that takes us out of what we want to do.”

    With a little momentum gained from the 1–0 win, the Tritons went into a match against top of the CCAA North, Chico State, last Sunday in their last home game of the season.

    In a physical match that never dropped tempo and never seemed to find a rhythm, neither team was able to find composure in front of the goal, playing to a scoreless draw.

    The Tritons had the first real opportunity to go up, as a Chico defender gave away a penalty kick. Senior Alex Portela — UCSD’s penalty taker for the past three seasons — sent a well-struck ball, just saved by Chico keeper Sam Evans.

    Chico nearly took the lead in the 24th minute after forward Octavio Guzman got in behind the Triton defense. Guzman slotted the ball past sophomore Josh Cohen before the head referee called the forward offside.

    “Chico’s a really well-put-together team, in the sense that they have some big physical guys in the back, and they don’t make it easy on you,” Pascale said. “They have a lot of skilled players in the midfield and up front with a lot of pace and athleticism. They’re pretty hard to deal with, and they put you in some difficult spots.”

    In the last home match of the season, the Tritons honored their nine graduating seniors: Portela, Malek, Evan Walker, Andisheh Bagheri, Andrew Keimach, Ian MacAuley, Scott MacBride, Harris Rabin and Adam Zernik.

    “Those guys are all I know,” Pascale said. “They were my first recruiting class, and it’s going to be really hard seeing them leave. I’ve enjoyed coaching every single one of them day in and day out.”

    UCSD, 8-4-3 overall and 7-3-3 in the CCAA, has a good shot at picking up wins in its last two conference matches. This week, the Tritons face bottom-of-the-conference CSU East Bay (2-6-4) and CSU Monterey Bay (2-10).

    The Tritons need wins in both games and a loss from Dominguez to challenge for second place in the South Division.

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