Playing in their first-ever Big West game at home on Sept. 30th, UC San Diego’s women’s soccer team couldn’t get a win in front of the Triton Soccer Stadium crowd, tying the California State University, Bakersfield Roadrunners 1–1 in a contest that went to 2 overtimes. The Tritons had high quality chances all night, outshooting CSUB 23–9, but they couldn’t add a goal to break the tie after equalizing in the 33rd minute.
Coming into the match, the Tritons had notched their first conference victory of the season on the road against UC Irvine, and were looking to do the same at home against a Roadrunner squad that had scored just 4 times through 10 matches. Both teams were cautious to start the game, and while there were a few chances on each side, neither goalkeeper had to work too hard in the opening minutes.
In the 18th minute, however, the Roadrunners would finally break through. A free kick from Regielly Halldorsdottir banged off the crossbar and with the bounce too high to clear, Bakersfield’s Chelsee Duran arced a header over UCSD sophomore goalkeeper Keara Fitzgerald to put the visitors up one. The Tritons picked up the pace after the goal, but despite a few opportunities in the next fifteen minutes, they couldn’t get a shot on target.
That changed in the 32nd minute, when UCSD sophomore forward Kennedy Carter, leading the team with 5 goals on the season, was fouled while muscling her way down the left flank into the box, giving the Tritons a free kick in excellent crossing position. Junior forward Ava D’Arcangelo placed the set piece perfectly in front of goal, and although 2 Tritons were unmarked in front of goal, the ball simply bounced untouched into the net to equalize for UCSD; Roadrunner keeper Flavia Burrell was expecting a tap-in to her right, but none materialized, and by the time she moved left to stop the ball, the damage was already done as D’Arcangelo scored her first career goal.
CSUB almost took the lead again in the 37th minute, as forward Jamie Ingrassia’s shot from outside the box took a dangerous dip and needed to be poked over the crossbar by a leaping Fitzgerald. Two minutes later, it was Burrell who needed to pull off the goalkeeping heroics. A corner from UCSD junior midfielder Mika Celeste flew into a gaggle of players in the six-yard box, and Burrell barely slapped a would-be goal out of the net to keep the match on level terms. Burrell would be tested again 3 minutes later, as Triton junior midfielder Kate Hottinger made a nice run to get the ball to senior midfielder Lucy Tang, whose shot forced a diving save to the left from Burrell. That save sent the match into halftime knotted at one, with UCSD holding a slight 57-percent–41-percent lead in possession and an 8–6 lead in shots.
The second half, like the first, didn’t begin with many chances for either team, though the Tritons continued to get in position. In the 65th minute, graduate midfielder Maddy Samilo crossed the ball from the right flank into the box for senior midfielder Caitlin McCarthy, who redirected the cross towards goal but hit the crossbar. That would be the Tritons’ best chance all half, as despite holding the upper hand in the run of play, UCSD just couldn’t get a score and the match went into two, ten-minute overtimes.
The Tritons had their foot on the gas in overtime, as a goal would end the game and give them a second straight Big West victory. After a couple of missed opportunities to start the period, UCSD found themselves with a dangerous free kick from behind the right corner of the box with under a minute to go in the first overtime. Graduate midfielder Michelle Baddour’s kick bounced to Burrell in goal, who weakly punched it into a crowd towards D’Arcangelo, whose shot was likewise saved. The ball then bounced left to Carter, looking for her fourth game-winning goal this season, but Carter’s wide-open shot was blocked on the line by a Roadrunner defender, and the threat was soon cleared, sending the game into another sudden-death period.
The UCSD squad, having come inches from a walkoff goal, were even hungrier for a game-winner in the second overtime. Their first chance came with 7 minutes remaining, as D’Arcangelo sent a cross to the right post for a wide-open Samilo just feet in front of the open net. But the ball bounced too high for Samilo to get a foot on it, and nothing came of the chance. The remainder of the overtime period was a series of decent chances from UCSD, but they either failed to generate shooting opportunities or were collected with little effort from Burrell.
The final whistle blew minutes later, with the Tritons and the home crowd frustrated about leaving with a tie when they had dominated most of the latter stages of the game; UCSD outshot CSUB 11–1 in overtime, and the Tritons seemed constantly on the edge of victory through both periods.
“I don’t think anybody — me, staff, players included — are really excited about that performance. More so than the result today, we’re trying to find where the inconsistency is in the performance and come back with our heads up on Sunday,” said Jones.
When asked what her team had learned so far in the Big West and Division I, Jones said, “We get punished more for mistakes, and things aren’t handed to us as easily as they were in Division II. We’re capable of being better and more clinical… I think the girls are prepared to make the jump, and we’ve been competitive. We just need to figure out how to put some results on the board.”
The Tritons will instead look for their first Big West home win on Sunday, Oct. 3 against California State University, Northridge, and will then take their longest break of the season before hosting UC Santa Barbara on Oct. 14.
Image courtesy of Mike McGinnis / UC San Diego Athletics