MERCED — With a quick layoff to Sean Ritchey and a one-touch kick across the field, Cody Golbad was in on the right wing.
His low hard shot was turned away with a good save, but the sequence showed the offensive potential UC Merced has to work with in its inaugural men's soccer season.
Unfortunately for the Golden Bobcats, that offensive flair just didn't show up often enough on Tuesday afternoon.
William Jessup frustrated UCM by condensing the field in the middle third and struck on a couple counterattacks to pull out a 2-0 road victory at The Bowl.
"We knew they were going to pinch the middle defensively, and I think we handled it well with our switching of the fields in the first half," Bobcats coach Albert Martins said. "We got some good chances and just didn't finish them off.
"I thought we outplayed them for much of the game, but soccer is a cruel sport if you don't finish.
"We had some defensive breakdowns, and once they got that first goal our inexperience began to show. We panicked a little bit."
UC Merced (0-1, 0-1 California Pacific Conference) dictated the play in the first 45 minutes, outshooting the Warriors (1-3, 1-0 Cal Pac) of Rocklin by 7-5 in the opening half.
Golbad had the team's best chance in the first half, slamming a free kick off the bottom of the crossbar.
William Jessup began finding space with its counter attack in the last 10 minutes of the first half.
The young UC Merced defense got caught sleeping a few times with balls over the top, forcing a couple big saves from goalkeeper Heriberto Diaz (four saves) and resulting in one ball ringing off of the right post.
It was foreshadowing for what was to come.
A miscommunication between a pair of Bobcat defenders sprung Dylan Valentine on an uncontested breakaway just three minutes into the second half.
Diaz had no answer this time as Valentine slotted it home for a 1-0 Warriors lead.
The goal took some air out of UCM and the decent-size home crowd that turned out to support them.
"The first goal definitely hurt," Diaz said. "We were playing well until that mistake, but we got down after that.
"We lost our intensity, and just never got it back up."
The Bobcats' best opportunity to equalize came in the 65th minute when Jesus Alvarez got loose with some nifty footwork on the touchline.
He feathered a pass back to Ritchey about 12 yards out. The senior midfielder fired right into the Warriors' goalkeeper and Derick Zamora drilled the rebound over the bar.
William Jessup finished things off 12 minutes later when a clever flick by Kyle Sakurada sent RJ Moore in alone on goal.
Moore buried his shot to the far post to seal the 2-0 victory.