SDSU falls to UCLA in overtime thriller


Aaron Tolentino

SDSU junior midfielder AJ Valenzuela and UCLA sophomore defender Eric Iloski chase down the ball during UCLA's 2-1 victory over the Aztecs on Oct. 13 at the SDSU Sports Deck.

by Cristian Alvarez, Staff Writer

San Diego State men’s soccer lost 2-1 against UCLA in extra time on Saturday evening at the SDSU Sports Deck.

The matchup against UCLA marked SDSU’s fifth Pac-12 Conference game and third home loss this season.

The Bruins pressed aggressively in the opening minutes by maintaining ball possession and attacking style of play. It was difficult for the Aztecs to be pushed back so early on in the match.

SDSU sophomore defender Dane Rozas felt that even though UCLA forced pressure early, the team remained collective as a unit.

“The first ten to fifteen minutes, they were on our heels,” Rozas said. “They were pressing us a little bit. We started to settle down and play our game.”

The flow of the game changed thirty minutes in when SDSU began to counter attack from loose balls. Some opportunities appeared in the final fifteen minutes, but no goals were claimed as a result.

Despite the chances created by both teams, the game remained scoreless in the first half.

The Bruins took a 1-0 lead within the first minute of the second half. A loose ball made its way into the box which landed on the feet of UCLA freshman midfielder Frankie Amaya.

Amaya chipped a shot over SDSU junior goalkeeper Max Watkin to open up the scoring in the match.

SDSU kept its composure and continued to fight for the tying goal.

The Aztecs’ response came in the 72nd minute when a cross from redshirt freshman Chad Morgan connected with junior midfielder Adam Vargas for the 1-1 equalizer.

The goal was Vargas’ first in an Aztec uniform.

In spite of ending in defeat, Vargas said he was pleased with contributing to the team’s only goal on the night.

“I just saw Chad (Morgan) lining up on the sideline making a good cross and I got into a good position,” said Vargas. “It felt really good to score for the team.”

SDSU head coach Lev Kirshner admired his team’s reaction to the opening goal and overall performance in the last 45 minutes.

He said he was proud of his team in the second half.

“I thought our team response to giving up that goal was fantastic,” Kirshner said. “I can’t speak highly enough of that second half.”

Still, SDSU continued to press for a second goal.

UCLA settled to defend for most of the second half, doing everything they could to stop the Aztecs from scoring.

Opportunities were no issue as both teams finished the match with nine shots each, while SDSU had a six to two corner kicks advantage over the Bruins.

However, neither team managed to put away more goals at the end of 90 minutes. This led to two 10-minute extra periods with sudden death stipulations.

It only took eight minutes into the first half of extra time for the Bruins to score once again.

UCLA senior midfielder Joab Santoyo hit a low cross from the right side of the field that aligned perfectly for freshman midfielder Cody Sundquist’s kick to go into the back of the net.

The Aztecs found themselves coming away with their fourth loss in Pac-12 play.

SDSU’s next match will be a non-conference meeting at crosstown-rival University of San Diego on Oct. 19.

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