Los Angeles Soccer: Sam Russell
A scoreless draw was enough to give UC Irvine command of the Big West Conference race.
The ninth-ranked Anteaters (13-4-1) held off a late Cal State Northridge push in the Valley to notch their seventh shutout of the season and improve to 5-2-1 in the Big West, giving them a one-point lead over UC Davis (5-3), which lost at UC Santa Barbara. The Matadors are 7-7-2.
UC Irvine has two games remaining -- Saturday at home against UC Riverside and Tuesday at Cal Poly -- and likely will need victories in both to claim the conference crown.
In other menīs action:
- Tim Pontius (Yorba Linda/Servite HS) scored twice to lead UC Santa Barbara (10-5-1) to a 3-1 win over UC Davis, knocking the Aggies to second place in the Big West.
- Cesar Diaz Pizarro (Chino/Ayala HS) scored in the 65th minute to give UC Riverside (8-5-3) a 1-1 Big West draw with visiting Cal State Fullerton (7-5-4). Oscar Aguero (Anaheim/Katella HS) tallied in the first half for the Titans.
- Gabe Ramirez (Pasadena/Crescenta Valley HS) set up goals by Evan Keny-Guyer and Richie Marquez (Pomona/Bloomington HS) as Redlands (16-3-0), the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference champion, romped to a 3-1 victory at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (8-4-1).
Big West Conference rivals Cal State Northridge and UC Riverside pulled off stunning upsets Saturday night, winning on the road against Southern California's most storied programs.
The Matadors rallied for a 3-2 nonconference triumph at eighth-ranked UCLA, and Riverside beat No. 16 UC Santa Barbara -- also by a 3-2 scoreline -- for the second time this season.
Northridge (7-7-1) halted the Bruins' second five-game winning streak of the campaign. Riverside (8-5-2) handed the Gauchos their second successive Big West loss, leaving the national power in danger of missing the conference and NCAA tournaments.
In Westwood, Jose Luis Garcia (Sun Valley/Poly HS) set up goals by Brian Behrad (Woodland Hills/Taft HS) in the 83rd minute and Edwin Rivas (Los Angeles/Santee Educational Complex) in the 87th as Northridge rallied from a late deficit.
Freshman Christian Gonzalez Diaz (Mission Viejo/Mission Viejo HS) gave the Matadors a 34th-minute lead, but Chandler Hoffman netted his 12th and 13th goals of the season in the next 10 minutes to push UCLA (10-4-1) ahead.
In Santa Barbara, Cesar Diaz Pizzarro (Chino/Ayala HS) scored in the 72nd minute to lift Riverside (8-5-2), which climbed to third place in the Big West.
UC Santa Barbara (9-5-1) rallied twice from deficits, with Luis Silva (Los Angeles/Salesian HS) scoring his 10th goal of the year and setting up Sam Garza for another, but couldn't hold off the Highlanders.
Richie Osborne provided the first lead, about midway through the first half, and Jon-Paul Medina made it 2-1 in the 63rd.
In other men's action:
- Freshman Cameron Iwasa tallied three minutes into overtime to send Big West co-leader UC Irvine (13-4-0) to a 1-0 victory over Orange County rival Cal State Fullerton (7-5-3). Jimmy Turner (Mission Viejo/Mission Viejo HS) played his 76th career game for the seventh-ranked Anteaters, fifth-most in program history.