On the Upswing

The UCSD women’s soccer team ended a six-game drought last weekend with wins over no. 25 Cal State San Bernardino and Chico State.

Last season’s NCAA national runner-up, UCSD, has struggled in its past few conference matches. Before last weekend, the Tritons hadn’t won a match since mid-September and have since slipped from the national rankings.

But UCSD seems to have turned a corner with its 2-1 win over conference leader Cal State San Bernardino on Friday, following up with a 2-0 win against Chico State on Sunday.

“Morale has been down, and we were tired of losing and frustrated that the games we were losing were games where we played well and got unlucky with the shots,” UCSD captain Izzy Pozurama said. “So winning this weekend was really important for us to get our confidence back.”

On October 11, redshirt freshman Kiera Bocchino scored her second goal of the season off a cross from freshman Jamie Benedetto, putting UCSD up 1-0. San Bernardino evened the score in the 75th minute. But in the 81st minute junior All-American Cassie Callahan got on the end of a ball from Benedetto to net her fifth goal of the season.

“This was huge, because in the last couple of games, we’ve been scored on in the last couple minutes,” Callahan said to the UCSD athletics department. “So this was big to show that we wanted it, and we could score that last goal.”

On October 13, UCSD’s win was evidence of the strength of the Tritons’ freshman and sophomore recruiting classes, as the UCSD underclassmen generated all of the offense against Chico State.

Bocchino, named the California Collegiate Athletics Association player of the week, scored her third goal of the season against Chico State. In the 58th minute, Bocchino — a reformed forward-turned-winger — collected on a botched Wildcat clearance, which she volleyed into the back of the net.

Midway into the second half, freshman midfielder Devon Roncoroni earned her first goal of the season.

The San Diego native capitalized on a cross by fellow freshman Jessica Dang, putting UCSD up 2-0.

With the two wins, UCSD moves up from third to second place in the California Collegiate Athletic Association South Division behind CSU San Bernardino.

Currently, the Coyotes have 20 points with a 6-2-2 record. The Tritons have 15 points (4-3-3 in the CCAA), two points in front of third place Cal Poly Pomona.

“Losing is contagious but so is winning,” Bocchino said. “We just needed that first win. We’ve been so used to winning that the losing has been really difficult. But we’re all getting to know each other more and more and becoming stronger, and I think we’ll be in good shape if we keep playing each game like it’s our last.”

This Friday, UCSD will face CCAA rival Cal State Dominguez Hills at 7:00 pm. The Tritons beat the Toros 1-0 the last time the two Southern California teams met.

On Sunday, UCSD takes on Cal Poly Pomona at 2:00 pm.