Reigning Pacific West Conference Champion California Baptist University answered some of its own questions in a big way Thursday night and picked up right where it left off last season when it won a program-record 17 games.
Marc Hope scored twice in the first 20 minutes, and the vaunted Lancer defense, which was one of the best in the conference last year, limited UC San Diego to just one shot on goal in a 2-0 season-opening victory on the road.
"Winning on the road is one of my favorite things to do," said CBU Head Coach Ryan Jorden. "It's always tough to play on the road and in tough environments. It was great to take a look at what we have and tactically play for a result in a game setting. By and large, the guys were on the same page, and we were able to get a great result and feel good about the way we played."
The Lancers improve to 1-0. The Tritons, who beat the Lancers 2-1 in Riverside in last year's opener, fall to 0-1.
CBU outshot the Tritons 17-9 overall, including a 9-1 margin on goal. Hope, an All-PacWest second team pick last year, hit pay dirt on his first two shots, and that was all the Lancers needed.
Just 2:59 into the game, Tyler Garrison assisted on a 13-yard low strike from the center by Hope to give the Lancers a quick lead. Then, just 14 minutes later, Jonathan Garcia found Hope with a through ball up the middle, and Hope beat Josh Cohen to the left to double the lead in the 17th minute.
"Scoring early is always good, and that first goal helped us settle in and control the game," said Jorden. "It's a much different proposition playing from behind, and we didn't have to do that tonight."
The Lancers scored their two goals on their first four shots.
Meanwhile, Joey Pacheco, the PacWest Goalkeeper of the Year, was rarely tested as the back four did stellar work in front of him. Pacheco needed to make just one save for his 11th career shutout, bringing him within one of tying for the program's career record.
"We did a great job of making them go where we wanted them to go and keeping them out of dangerous spots," said Jorden. "Even though we didn't have the ball as much as I would have liked, we managed the game well."
CBU has a quick turnaround as they host Cal State Dominguez Hills, which tied Azusa Pacific tonight 1-1, Saturday evening. Kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m.