UCSD Loses to Cal Poly in Regionals Opener
On Saturday, October 28th, the UCSD Women’s Club Soccer team began their long-anticipated journey through the NIRSA Regional Tournament in San Luis Obispo. After just five weeks of hard work and dedication as a team, the Tritons sought to defeat Cal Poly on their home field. Having played them many times in the past it was well known that this would not be an easy match. Despite less than ideal weather and field conditions, the Tritons played strong, while alumna Monica Cuevas made sure each player was rested and hydrated as she made her coaching debut. After the first 40 minutes, it was obvious that this was an even match up, as the score remained 0-0 at half. Both teams fought hard but were unable to capitalize their chances. Late in the second half, after a phenomenal save by graduate student Amy Schwartz, the Mustangs finished the rebound. The Tritons fought hard until the very end, but were unable to get the ball in the net. After 80 brutal minutes, the game ended 1-0, but the Tritons were hopeful to make a comeback in their next game.
University of Arizona Stuns the Tritons
Following a tough loss to Cal Poly earlier in the day, the Tritons set out to face University of Arizona. Right from the whistle, it was clear that the Tritons were determined to win the game, immediately dominating control of the ball and skillfully moving up the field. While they were able to keep good possession, they had trouble finding the back of the net. With five minutes left in the first half, University of Arizona pushed forward on a counter attack and drew a foul outside the 18-yard box. UCSD keeper Amy Schwartz was able to deflect the ball, but a U of A forward snuck past the Triton defense and tapped the ball into the back of the net. Entering the second half down 1-0, the Tritons were more determined than ever to come back and win the game. Increasing the intensity tenfold, the Tritons played arguably the best half of soccer they have all season, maintaining almost complete possession of the ball and rarely letting it leave the opposing half. Fifteen minutes into the second half, sophomore McKenzie Kirn drilled a great shot on frame, unfortunately slamming into the crossbar and deflecting back onto the field. After countless opportunities on goal and unfortunate misses, things were looking promising as the attack continued to build up. With ten minutes to spare, the Tritons moved up the field and placed the ball into the box. After another couple strikes to the crossbar by Kirn and several deflections in the box, Arizona was finally able to clear the ball out. As the game neared an end, it was clear that the University of Arizona team was getting frustrated with their lack of possession and inability to get the ball into the Triton’s defensive half. Fueled by this frustration, the game quickly proceeded to become very aggressive and heated, with several words being exchanged between players and three yellow cards handed out in the last five minutes, two to Arizona and one to UCSD. Shortly thereafter the final whistle was blown, leaving the Tritons with another 1-0 loss. However, UCSD gained newfound motivation to bring the same level of skill and intensity to their next game against USC in an absolutely must-win game.
UCSD Remains Winless against USC in Final Group Stage Game
Despite the early morning rise, the Tritons came out ready and energetic for their third group stage game of the weekend against University of Southern California on Sunday. This was an important game for both teams with a chance of moving on to the quarterfinals on the line. Early in the first half, ‘USC had a goal reverted due to an offside call, which flipped the switch for UCSD. The Tritons began to press the Trojans’ defensive line, resulting in several goal scoring opportunities. Unfortunately, UCSD could not find the back of the net. In the second half, USC had a few breakaways but goalkeeper Amy Schwartz did an amazing job shutting them all down. UCSD continued to fight hard, winning balls in the air, marking tight, and possessing the ball in the middle but had a hard time connecting passes in the offensive third and finishing the ball. The game ended in a devastating 0-0 tie, sending both teams home for the end of their weekend at Regionals and their competitive fall season.