The UC San Diego men’s soccer team topped Hawaii-Hilo at home Thursday, 2-0, earning head coach Jon Pascale his first career win as a Triton.
The UCSD squad (1-0-0) outshot the Vulcans (0-1-0) 22-9 in a dominating effort, receiving a score from sophomore midfielder Aaron McDowell toward the end of the first half and another from junior midfielder Shane Micheil before the close of regulation to give the Tritons some breathing room and secure the 2-0 victory.
Early scoring chances off the feet of sophomore defender Brandon Yee and Micheil set the tone as the UCSD offense controlled the pace to start the game. In the 25th minute, a long drive from sophomore Josh Jackson narrowly missed giving the Tritons the lead as the ball glanced off the crossbar.
With about eight minutes remaining the first half, senior forward Tony Fernandez dribbled the ball up the left side of the field and put a cross into junior Tony Choi in the box. Although Choi’s shot on goal was stopped by the UHH keeper, McDowell had perfect positioning to corral the rebound and knock it into the back of the net.
Carrying the 1-0 lead into halftime, UCSD also held a shot advantage of 10-3. Play remained at a feisty level throughout all 90 minutes as the two teams totaled 36 fouls and five cautions.
After the break, the Vulcans brought in reserve goalkeeper Ivan Mercado even as the attack of the Tritons continued at its high level of intensity. Midway through the second half a corner from Jackson led to a bouncing ball in the box caroming to the feet of David Bakal, a UCSD sophomore midfielder. Bakal’s shot rattled to the left but before it left play, sophomore defender Jared Kukura got a foot on it for an attempted deflection that ran just wide left of the goal.
In the 86th minute the Tritons struck again, this time as a result of the creativity of senior midfielder Tom Caplan and Micheil. Caplan managed to make a nifty move on his defender and then flick the ball to his right. With Caplan’s quick pass, Micheil had enough time to launch a low line drive to the left of the keeper and into the net.
Pascale and the UCSD squad continue their homestand on Saturday with a 7 p.m. contest against Concordia University Irvine.