Men’s soccer stuns No. 2 UC Irvine

Jaspery Goh/HIGHLANDER
Jaspery Goh/HIGHLANDER

Oct. 22, 2014
Highlanders 2 – Anteaters 1

On a four-game skid, the UC Riverside men’s soccer team entered Wednesday night’s showdown against one of the best teams in the nation, UC Irvine, as major underdogs. The Highlanders, backed by an unrelenting offense, defeated the Anteaters 2-1, giving the No. 2 team only its second loss of the season.

UC Riverside (3-9-2, 2-3-1) came at the visiting Anteaters all night on offense, firing 20 shots, 11 in the first half. However, UCI’s goalkeeper Michael Breslin prevented point-blank shots from several UCR players.

In the second half, UC Irvine made adjustments and picked up their aggression. The first five shots went the way of the Anteaters, but neither team could score.

UCR finally broke through in the 79th minute as Ricardo Ruiz’s corner kick found Philipp Dominique, who blasted the ball past Breslin for the Highlanders’ first goal of the evening, 1-0.

The lead was short-lived as, 96 seconds later, the Anteaters’ Eduardo Calzada converted on a penalty play to knot the score, 1-1.

The offenses continued to attack down the stretch, and UCR got the opportunity it needed, earning its own penalty shot with 78 seconds left in the match. Hector Romo put it away, ultimately closing the book on the Highlanders’ biggest victory of the season, 2-1.

UCR’s thumping over UCI was the team’s fifth win over a nationally ranked opponent since 2011.

Oct. 25, 2014
Highlanders 1 – Titans 1

Following their surprising win over UC Irvine, the Highlanders and Cal State Fullerton Titans went down to the wire at the UCR soccer field. After the teams each scored within the first minutes of the game, neither squad was able to scratch again as the contest ended in a double-overtime tie. The result allowed the Highlanders to maintain their third-place standing in the Big West Conference’s South Division.

At the 16-minute mark, the Highlanders were the first team to get on the board as Otis Earle’s skillful passing found Michael Salazar for his team-leading fifth score of the season, 1-0.

Seven minutes later, a corner kick by Cal State Fullerton’s Spencer Johnson in the 23rd minute led to Amara Soumah’s fourth goal of the season as he poked the ball past UCR goalie Ashkan Khosravi for the score, 1-1.

The second half featured even play from both squads, with Cal State Fullerton generating slightly more shots, 10-8, in the period. The Titans, however, created more set piece opportunities for themselves, leading 5-1 in corner kicks.

Despite seven more shots being taken in the 10-minute double-overtime, neither team was able to score, ending the contest in a 1-1 tie.

The Highlanders (2-3-2) remain at home this week hosting Cal State Northridge on Wednesday, Oct. 29.

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