Two goals and an assist from UC Irvine senior Eduardo Calzada (South Los Angeles, Calif./CSU Bakersfield) propelled his team right back into the race for a conference tournament spot, and warranted his selection as the Big West Men’s Soccer Offensive Player of the Week.
The midfielder provided the game-winning goal and his second career brace in Wednesday’s 5-1 victory at UC Riverside. He stepped up in the 33rd minute to block an attempted clearance by a Highlander defender right back into the goal. Calzada later added an insurance goal in the 67th minute for the final 5-1 tally.
Calzada had a role in Saturday’s 2-0 win at CSUN, as the Anteaters picked up their second road triumph of the week. He served up a long cross for Luis Leon, which the freshman finished in the 76th minute to cement the win.
Calzada’s game-winner against UCR was the fourth of his career, and his sixth of the season. He is tied for fourth in the Big West in goals.
He leads the Anteaters in both shots (51) and shots on goal (27) this season.
UC Irvine freshman Jorge Lara (Turlock, Calif./Turlock HS) scored back-to-back goals in a pair of road victories to secure Big West Men’s Soccer Defensive Player of the Week honors.
Lara’s scores against UC Riverside (5-1) and CSUN (2-0) were the first two of his career. The offensive contributions from the UCI back line stalwart gave the Anteaters six important points in the Big West standings and pulled them into a tie for second place in the South Division.
Lara polished off his first goal in the 55th minute against the Highlanders, scoring from the center of the box to put UCI up 3-1.
He put the Anteaters up quickly against the Matadors with the eventual game-winning goal at the 1:32 mark, as he cleaned up a free kick in the box. All four of Lara’s shots this season have come on target.
Others nominated: Wade Hamilton (Cal Poly); James Del Curto (Sacramento State)