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Men’s soccer stymies UCSD’s attack

Biola men’s soccer was introduced to the NCAA Division II by the #4 preseason ranked defending DII west region champion University of California San Diego Tritons. The Eagles held the Tritons to a 0-0 draw on a hot humid night at Al Barbour Field.

“For us, getting to play at home is nice, because there is some sense of [comfort] with everything that is new this season,” said head coach Todd Elkins. “With being in DII and a new conference, it was nice to start our new season at home.”

With the move to the NCAA, the team needed some players to step up. One of these players was senior goalkeeper Igor Puglia, who had 12 saves on the night, including many clutch stops within the last 30 minutes of the game.

“I’ve been working hard the whole summer with my training coach,” Puglia said. “He was amazing this summer, just getting me where I have to be [for this season].”

From the first whistle of the game, UCSD controlled the bulk of the possession. The Tritons had 29 shots (12 on goal) and 12 corner kicks, while Biola only managed 9 shots (3 on goal) and no corner kicks during the entire game.

Biola’s best opportunity of the game came in the 21st minute when senior defender Sammy McKay forced a point blank save from Tritons goalkeeper Pedro Enciso.

A Triton shot finally got past Puglia in the 67th minute, but luckily the ball hit the goalpost and was cleared away by a defender. Puglia came through again in the 87th minute when he palmed a UCSD shot from outside the box onto the post. The goalkeeper notched one more big save as he tipped a Triton header from point blank range over the bar in the 103rd minute.

The final chance to win the game fell into the lap of Eagles' senior forward Keaton Kerr in the 110th minute. Kerr found himself one-on-one with Enciso, but shot over the bar as overtime ended.

The Eagles’ next game will be against Cal Poly Pomona in Pomona, Calif. on Sept. 2.

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