UCI Men’s Soccer Earns First Conference Win Over UCR
By Kevin Vote
UC Irvine (3-9-3) defeated UC Riverside (5-9-1) by a score of 1-0 on Wednesday night at Anteater Stadium, giving the ‘Eaters their first win in the month of October. UCI’s success was short-lived though, as they fell to Cal State Fullerton (9-5-1) 3-0 on Saturday night in the Orange County derby.
In the sixth minute, freshman midfielder Ivan Canales nearly scored to give UCI the lead, but UCR senior keeper Ashkan Khosravi stifled the attempt. The ‘Eaters next chance came in the 12th minute when senior forward Jaime Phillips found himself in on goal, but his shot went just wide of the goal post. UCR briefly got out of the shadow of their goal and pushed forward in the 16th minute, but senior forward Norberto Ochoa couldn’t capitalize on a chance inside the UCI box.
Senior midfielder Mats Bjurman had a chance to put UCI up in the 23rd minute, but his shot was unintentionally blocked by the back of Phillips’s head. Phillips and Canales were once again heavily involved in buildup play in the 42nd minute, this time connecting on a give and go; however, Canales’s shot hit the goal post, and the score remained 0-0 at halftime. Although the ‘Eaters didn’t score in the first half, they were a constant threat with 9 shots and 4 corner kicks.
“We came and embraced a different system of play tonight,” said head coach Chris Volk, “I thought it was very effective for us, being able to get the ball out wide, and attacking some of the wide spaces in the channels.”
With lightning strikes in the distance becoming more visible at halftime, match officials proceeded with caution in the second half. After the restart, UCR keeper Khosravi was issued a straight red card in the 47th minute after being caught out of position on a breakaway and taking out UCI’s Canales. UCR sophomore keeper Vincent Morales was then substituted in and play resumed with the ‘Eaters up a man.
Even though UCI had an extra man for the majority of the second half, it didn’t begin to pay off until the 70th minute. Senior midfielder Eduardo Calzada whipped in a corner kick that beat Morales, but UCR’s defense was there to clear the ball off the line. Calzada almost scored again just minutes later when he neatly maneuvered into the UCR box, but his shot was blocked by Morales.
Phillips finally found the winning goal late in the second half, with overtime looming. In the 83rd minute he redirected freshman midfielder Luis Leon’s shot, which then flew past Morales into the goal. The win helped the ‘Eaters move up in the Big West South standings.
“I’m happy because I scored, but it was because of a teammate. So I have to give him the credit for that because I just touched the ball into the net. The most important thing is that we got the three points.” said Phillips.
UCI didn’t fare as well in Saturday’s Orange County derby, as Fullerton beat the ‘Eaters 3-0 in a match that was closer than the score line indicates.
Fullerton got the scoring started early, as freshman forward Brandon West profited off of a UCI turnover to make it 1-0 in favor of the home team.
West had an assist in the match as well as he set up freshman midfielder Ronaldo Pineda in the 60th minute. Pineda hit a volley into the roof of the net from about 10 yards out to double Fullerton’s advantage.
Freshman midfielder Ross McPhie settled the match in the 73rd minute, making it 3-0 after being set up by sophomore midfielder Robert Coronado. Although UCI failed to score, they had chances, with 6 corner kicks and 7 shots on goal in the match.
The ‘Eaters will now continue their road trip before returning home to Anteater Stadium for the final two matches of conference play at the end of October, when the team will face off against Fullerton on Oct. 28th and Cal State Northridge on Oct. 31st.