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Scardina’s goal the difference as Huskies top Aztecs

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Scardina’s goal the difference as Huskies top Aztecs

Nick Scardina dribbles the ball during Washington's game against GCU on Sept. 3 at Husky Soccer Stadium. Scardina's goal in the second minute against SDSU was the difference as the Huskies defeated the Aztecs 1-0 on Nov. 7.

The No. 3 Washington men’s soccer team rounded out its California road trip with a 1-0 win against San Diego State on Sunday, setting up a showdown for the Pac-12 title against Oregon State on the final matchday.

The difference Sunday proved to be the boot of Nick Scardina.

The sophomore’s prolific season continued, scoring his fifth goal of the year, which fired the Huskies (14-1-1, 6-1-1 Pac-12) into the lead after Dylan Teves set up the chance, playing a clever ball around the corner. Scardina showed calmness to chip the ball over the onrushing keeper and find the back of the net. Teves’ assist was his seventh this season, the second best mark in the Pac-12.

In a must-win game, the Huskies started with intent, scoring the breakthrough goal inside two minutes. Washington’s early goal would set the tone for the rest of the first half. UW dominated the shot statistics, outshooting SDSU 9-1 in the opening period. 

Although the Huskies had the clear advantage throughout the match, they cooled off in the second half as the contest turned into a stalemate, with both teams combining for only five total shots in the period.

Washington has been successful on its road trip, bouncing back from a slight blip in form, in which it went winless in two consecutive matches. Despite that, the Huskies have been lethal on the road, extending their perfect record to eight straight victories.

Although they struggled to get into the game in the first half, the Aztecs (8-6-2, 2-6-0 Pac-12) came out in the second half searching for a spark. That spark almost came just two minutes into the second half when a searching cross could not be turned in by the onrushing SDSU players 10 yards from goal.

While the Aztecs showed their quality, keeping the score close, they failed to test UW goalkeeper Sam Fowler throughout the duration of the game, only registering one shot on goal.

On Sunday, the Huskies became just the second team to take points off of SDSU on its home field after Oregon State handed the Aztects their first home loss this past Thursday.

The Aztecs gave the Huskies a late scare, putting the ball in the back of the net off a corner in the 82nd minute, but had their celebrations quickly subdued after the linesman raised his flag, ruling out the goal for an offside.

While not creating as many clear-cut scoring chances as they did in their previous game, where they created a season high 26 shots, the Huskies maintained a strong advantage throughout Sunday’s contest, totaling 14 shots. Scardina’s goal was all Washington needed in the end to secure its 14th win of the season.

Washington’s Pac-12 title hopes were boosted by Oregon State’s 3-2 loss to UCLA on Sunday. The Huskies will face the Beavers on Thursday, Nov. 11 at 6 p.m. in Corvallis, Ore.

Reach senior staff reporter Luka Kučan at Twitter: @luka_kucan

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