Dons’ road trip ends in defeat

(From left to right):  Nik Kizerian (#19), Elias Thomas (#5), and Dominic Valdivia crowd in a huddle to raise the energy before their match. PHOTO COURTESY OF CHRIS M. LEUNG/DONS ATHLETICS

In search of their first away win of the season, USF men’s soccer came up short Sept. 17 against the California State University, Fullerton Titans losing by a score of 0-1.

USF played defensively to open up the game as the Titans tallied the first two shots of the game. Freshman forward Nonso Adimabua took the Dons’ first shot at the twentieth minute of the contest, but he was unable to sink the ball into the back of the Titans’ net.

Freshmen midfielders Ferdy Ghafury and Rodrigo Bueno also fired off their own shots but neither player was able to put USF on the board, and the contest remained scoreless heading into halftime. 

Coming out of the first half, Bueno and Adimabua did their best to string an attack together, but their efforts were once again stopped by Jose Espino, the Titans’ goalie. Bueno gave his third shot of the night in the closing minutes of the game, but he missed the go-ahead goal. Freshman defender Filip Kanold took the last and final shot of the evening for the Dons but was unable to break the scoreless affair.

With less than a minute left in regulation time, junior defender Kevyn Lo was charged with a foul that awarded the Titans a penalty kick. The Titans slipped a shot by  freshman goalie CJ Pycior and took the lead. The Dons searched for an equalizer to no avail, and the Titans hung onto their lead and victory. 

On the pitch, Bueno recorded a game-high three shots for the Dons, marking the third time in his career he has recorded three-plus shots in a single game. This match also marked the third consecutive contest in which Adimabua recorded at least two shots. He leads the Dons with 12 shots this season. Pycior also made his collegiate debut as goalie and collected four saves on the night.

USF’s losing-streak continued Sept. 19 against the University of California, Riverside Highlanders. The Highlanders scored two unanswered goals within the first fifteen minutes to put themselves on the board. However, the Dons responded in rapid-fire succession with a goal of their own to trim the deficit back down to one point. The Highlanders shuttered USF’s comeback in the last three minutes of regulation with another goal, and the Dons would lose by a score of 1-3. 

Looking ahead, the Dons begin West Coast Conference play Oct. 2 against the Santa Clara University Broncos.

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