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HomeSportsSoccerUCI Defeats UCSD 1-0 in Final Regular Season Game

UCI Defeats UCSD 1-0 in Final Regular Season Game

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The UCI Men’s Soccer team (5-11-2, 5-3-1) defeated the UC San Diego Tritons (8-8-2, 4-5), 1-0, at Triton Soccer Stadium in San Diego on Saturday, Oct. 29.

UCI freshman defender Nolan DiCenzo scored the lone goal of the night as the Anteaters won their final regular season match of the year.

While the Tritons came into the game with their fate already sealed after failing to qualify for the Big West tournament, the Anteaters needed a win to clinch a first-round playoff matchup at home.

UCI came out of the gates playing rather slowly and methodically, not looking to take too many risks, instead, deciding to go for a more structured strategy. Graduate student forward Robert Mejia initiated the first dangerous attempt of the game in the eighth minute when he took a quick turn in the midfield, gliding past two Triton defenders. However, he was unable to find anyone to complete a second pass and finish the attack.

The Tritons had a threatening attack of their own in the 12th minute when senior midfielder Alessandro Allen crossed the ball low into the box toward graduate student midfielder Mason Haubrich. He then looked to have an easy tap-in goal. However, junior defender Ricardo Ibarra got in the way and blocked the scoring chance for UCSD.

Minutes later, Haubrich blitzed by a defender to set up a sprinting one-on-one versus Ibarra. However, Ibarra managed to keep up with his pace and stole the ball away, preventing the shot attempt. 

The match went into a stalemate for most of the first half, as neither team had any clear chances on goal and most set-piece opportunities had either poor deliveries or staunch defense.

The lone goal of the match finally came in the 30th minute when the Anteaters had a free-kick opportunity in the Triton half. Junior defender Eddy Berumen whipped a cross into the box where the UCSD defense failed to get a clean clearance. The ball dropped to the feet of DiCenzo, who slotted in his golden opportunity for the goal, putting the Anteaters ahead 1-0.

The ‘Eaters took the lead into halftime with many subs coming and going throughout the game. The team attempted to keep the starters’ legs fresh and ready for the first round of the Big West tournament coming up.

The Tritons almost equalized the score in the 47th minute when they drew a free kick in the Irvine half. Graduate student forward Nick Cirrito made great contact off a cross, but it went straight to sophomore goalkeeper Luke Pruter, who stopped and caught the ball comfortably, maintaining the Anteater lead.

Freshman forward Diego Otoya saw the next chance for Irvine when he rose for the header just wide of the UCSD goal. 

Both teams had trouble creating chances from open play, as they looked to convert off-set pieces from free kicks or corner kicks. 

In the 75th minute mark, another goal opportunity arose by the Anteaters’ junior forward Juan Barragan-Manzo as he spun away from his defender and sent his shot low and just wide of the goal.

The last 20 minutes of the game were dominated by Triton pressure as they were desperate to find a goal to end their season with a win. However, Pruter and the Anteater defense managed to keep their defense tight. They went home with a clean sheet and the 1-0 victory.

With the win, UCI clinched the third seed in the postseason Big West Conference tournament. They will look to continue their four match undefeated streak, hosting Sacramento State in the first round at Anteater Stadium on Wednesday, Nov. 2 at 6 p.m.


Miguel Rodriguez is a Sports Intern for the fall 2022 quarter. He can be reached at miguer9@uci.edu.