UC Riverside’s men’s soccer team (5-4-2) took on UCLA at a game that got off to a quick start on Tuesday night. The Highlanders struggled to keep up with an unrelenting Bruin attack that put up a total of 10 shots, six of which were on target.
Despite allowing all three goals in the first minutes of each half, the Highlanders maintained their resilience and responded with a few of their own offensive attacks. Sophomore forward Issa Badawiya and senior midfielder Ronaldo Lomeli each contributed to the box score by combining for three of the five total shots attempted by the Highlanders. UCLA (4-4-1) cushioned their lead with a score in the early minutes of the second half, all but securing their fourth win of the season.
The Highlanders would eventually capitalize on their offensive efforts when senior defender Uros Ilic found the back of the net in the final minutes off an assist from fellow senior Matthew Mitiku.
Despite the three goals on the scoreboard, senior goalkeeper Edwyn Gutierrez prevented a blowout — saving three on-target shots by the Bruins.
UC Riverside soccer then traveled to the University of Portland on a short week to face the Pilots (4-3-1). The Highlanders encountered a similar, fast-paced attack from the Pilots and met the same results as they did against UCLA. This time around though, the Highlanders played an aggressive attack, amounting to a whopping 16 total shots, with 12 of those coming in the second half of the game.
Early miscues, paired with a trigger-happy attack, led to a successful penalty for Portland and cost the Highlanders their second loss of the week.
The Highlanders enter their Big West conference schedule sitting at 5-4-2 and will look to revitalize their season with their opening conference matchup on Wednesday, Oct. 9. as they take on the UCI Anteaters (3-4-4).