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Cesar Diaz Pizarro struck with 2½ minutes to play Friday night, and UC Riverside completed a comeback for a 3-2 men's soccer triumph at UC Irvine, its third victory this season over a nationally ranked opponent.
The triumph leaves the Highlanders (9-5-2), who have twice beaten UC Santa Barbara this season, in position to qualify for the Big West Conference tournament and took command of the league's title race from ninth-ranked Irvine (13-5-1) and gave it to second-place UC Davis.
UCR twice rallied from deficits, with Jose Diaz (Corona/Santiago HS) answering Cameron Iwasa's early goal and Humberto Santiago scoring in the 79th minute to pull the Highlanders even after Christian Hernandez (Palmdale/Palmdale HS) provided a 2-1 edge to the Anteaters in the 68th.
Pizarro (Chino/Ayala HS) scored his team-best ninth goal -- and school-record eighth career winning goal -- in the 88th minute.
UCI remains atop the standings with 16 points from a 5-3-1 conference record, but UC Davis (5-3), one point behind, has two games remaining, one more than the Anteaters. UCR (4-3-2) and UC Santa Barbara (4-4) also are in the race.
In other men's action:
WOMEN: Cal Baptist claim share of Pac West title
Three first-half goals -- one by Kylee Nicassio -- and a superb defensive performance sent Cal Baptist to a 4-1 victory at Grand Canyon, avenging Wednesday's home defeat and clinching a share of the Pacific West Conference title.
Nicassio (Alta Loma/Los Osos HS) scored her 13th goal of the season and 47th of her career -- one off Courtney Firth's 11-year-old school record -- to send the Lancers (13-2-1) to 9-1-1 in the Pac West, three points ahead of Grand Canyon (9-5-2) with one game to play.
BYU Hawaii is six points back with two games remaining, so Cal Baptist needs at least a tie in its finale next Saturday at Dixie State -- or Grand Canyon's and BYU Hawaii's failure to win -- to claim the championship outright.
Grand Canyon, from Phoenix, had pulled even with the Lancers in the standings with a 3-1 victory Wednesday in Riverside.
“We had an off day Wednesday, but the girls were prepared tonight,” Cal Baptist coach Kristen St. Clair told her school's athletics web site. “They put the work in over the past few days, and their execution was just way better tonight, and we got a good road win against a good team.”
Cal Baptist is in its second year of transition from NAIA to NCAA Division II and is not eligible for the NCAA tournament.
Brazilian midfielder Fabiola Zanella da Silva gave the Lancers a lead just 45 seconds into the game. Nicassio made it 2-0 in the 27th minute, and Kitra Walters scored the third in the 41st following a da Silva free kick.
Amanda Lammers (Menifee/Calvary Murrieta HS) added a late goal.
In other women's action:
Arizona Christian 0, Marymount 4
Biola 2 (Bautista 33, 40), Vanguard 1 (Cornwall pen. 55)
Cal Lutheran 1 (Wagner 66), Occidental 2 (Richardson 34, 64)
Cal State Fullerton 3 (Vasquez 51, Blanco 69, Aguero 81), UC Santa Barbara 4 (Silva 3, 50, Madueno 22, Baiden 78)
Cal State Northridge 0, Cal Poly 0, OT
Caltech 0, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 5 (Doyle 12, 48, Hallberg 44, Garcia 50, Bishop 71)
Concordia 3 (Orozco 29, 86, Tamayo 32), Fresno Pacific 4 (Islas 20, 81, Nazare 26, Tyler 37)
La Verne 0, Redlands 3 (Kustura 36, Laughton 79, Walker 84)
San Diego Christian 2 (Onywera 33, Vienna 34), The Master's 1 (Silva 26)
UC Irvine 2 (Iwasa 13, Hernandez 68), UC Riverside 3 (Diaz 39, Santiago 79, Diaz Pizarro 88)
Whittier 4 (Russell 56, Guthrie 58, Carregha 68, Santos 69), Pomona-Pitzer 0
Arizona Christian 0, Marymount 4
Biola 2 (Coutin 43, Oliver 101), Vanguard 1 (Wisniewski 68), OT
Concordia 2 (Lopez 48, Vaughn 49), Fresno Pacific 0
Grand Canyon 1 (Brillantes 45), Cal Baptist 4 (da Silva 1, Nicassio 27, Walters 41, Lammers 88)
Hope International 0, Azusa Pacific 1 (Hardy 73)
Occidental 1 (Minamishin 20), Cal Lutheran 2 (Hulse 83, Rains 98), OT
Pomona-Pitzer 5 (Lopez 5, Edmonds 32, Barrett-O'Keefe 54, 55, Zaugg 87), Whittier 1 (Irha 57)
Redlands 4 (Phillips 8, Benenati 15, Morton 21, van den Bosch 79), La Verne 0
San Diego Christian 1 (Quintanilla 26), The Master's 4 (Long 25, 34, Trevino 32, 62)
William Jessup 1, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 0
Embry-Riddle (Ariz.) 1, Marymount 1, OT
Home teams listed first