SAN DIEGO, Calif.- The UC San Diego (1-0) men’s lacrosse team upset No. 22 UC Santa Cruz, 8-4, in the team’s season opener on Saturday.
Triton freshman midfielder Grant Barclay introduced himself to the MCLA with three goals while senior goalie Cameron Bowlby stifled the Slug’s with 20 saves.
UCSD dominated the first half with an up-tempo attack. After a rocket goal from Barclay, Aiden Massoumi finished a nifty feed from fellow attackman Joseph Sawires to put the Tritons up 2-0.
Santa Cruz got on the board with an unassisted goal from Anthony Overton, but UCSD answered back with a man-up goal from Jake Cuffe followed by two more goals from Barclay to complete his hat trick.
Both teams made adjustments at halftime and the third quarter began as a defensive battle, with both Bowbly and Santa Cruz goalie Spencer Cabello making multiple saves.
Late in the third, 2017 WCLL Offensive player of the Year Cade Vlacos scored on back-to-back possessions to bring the Slugs within two goals, seemingly shifting the momentum.
However, with 40 seconds left in the third period, Triton attackman Vito Digiorgio picked up loose ball in front of the cage and put it past Cabello, energizing the Tritons.
UCSD dialed up the pressure again and got goals from Sawires and David Mastro to push the Tritons lead back to five. Vlacos had one more goal for Santa Cruz to round out the scoring.
“A first game against a well-coached, athletic team like UC Santa Cruz with games under their belt already was going to be a challenge,” said UCSD coach Albert Man. “But our team has been working extremely hard in the preseason and it paid off today. Defensively Matteo (Liebmann) did a good job limiting their top scorer and our entire midfield played relentlessly on both sides of the field.”
UCSD goes on the road next week to face Loyola Marymount University.