The second-ranked UC San Diego women's soccer team scored four goals in the second half as the Tritons pounded Cal State East Bay 5-1 in California Collegiate Athletic Association play on Sunday afternoon at Triton Soccer Field.
UCSD remains undefeated on the year, improving to 8-0-2 overall and 7-0-1 in CCAA play. The Tritons are the only unbeaten squad in the conference and they lead the CCAA South with 22 points, eight points ahead of second-place Cal State L.A.
UCSD nearly broke it open early, as Sarah McTigue fed a wide-open Jessica Wi across the box in the first minute. Wi pounded a shot straight to the keeper's hands and her rebound was blocked on a slide by a CSUEB defender.
The Tritons found themselves trailing for the first time since September 16 when Eugenie Foote curled a shot upper-v to give CSUEB a 1-0 lead 12 minutes in. Foote's strike snapped UCSD's streak of 429 minutes without surrendering a goal.
Britnee Chesney registered the first goal of her Triton career in the 31st minute to tie it at one apiece. Chesney made a looping back-door run on a free kick by Hayley Johnson, beating her defender to the left post to volley the cross into the top of the net.
"We should have nicked a few in the first four or five minutes, but we didn't finish and it came back to bite us," said UCSD head coach Brian McManus. "We worked our way back into it and before halftime we got a goal back. Then we were able to relax and go back to our game plan."
The plan must have been to score early and often, as the Tritons exploded for four goals in the first 20 minutes of the second half.
Ellen Wilson played a long ball over the Pioneer back line intended for Wi, who dribbled toward the right side of the goal. Before she reached the end line, Wi drove a low ball across the goal. CSUEB was able to get a foot to it but the ball ricocheted into the side-netting to make it 2-1.
Wi added two assists from that same right side before the day was finished. In the 63rd minute, Wi played found herself stuck near the corner flag, so she played the ball back toward the edge of the box for her midfielders. Danielle Dixon teed-off from the right corner of the box on the perfectly-weighted pass, cracking a low shot off the far post and into the net.
Three minutes later, Wi took the ball to the end line along the right flank and played a hard cross into the six yard box. Gabi Hernandez leapt to meet it with her forehead as she headed-home UCSD's final goal of the day.
"A lot of players- when they miss chances like that early on- they go into a shell and it gets into their heads," said McManus. "But Jessica [Wi] came on in the second half ready to play. Got her goal, got her assists... and back to playing how she can play."
McTigue recorded her team-leading sixth goal of the season off a corner kick from Johnson in the 57th minute. It marked the second time in three days the McTigue-Johnson connection hooked-up on a corner kick; Johnson also found McTigue on a corner for UCSD's first goal in a 5-0 stomping of Cal State Monterey Bay on Friday evening. Johnson has tallied an assist in five straight matches and has recorded multiple assists in three of those contests.
"We went back to playing the basics. Keeping the ball on the ground, getting balls in behind them. All of a sudden its four goals. That's it, game over," said McManus.
The Tritons will have their final road trip of the season next weekend against Chico State and Cal State Stanislaus on Friday and Sunday, respectively. UCSD will return for a six-match home stand to end the regular season, starting October 14 against Cal State L.A.
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