Photo by: Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego Publications
Josh Cohen (1) and Andisheh Bagheri (8) lead the Tritons into Denver for Friday's third-round tilt.
Road to Georgia Runs Through Denver for UCSD
Release: Tuesday 11/19/2013 

Match 22 - NCAA Championship Third Round (West Region Final)
No. 12 Simon Fraser (17-2-1)
Friday, Nov. 22 • 9 a.m. PT (10 a.m. MT)
Regis Match Pitch • Denver, Colo.
Live Stats

Match 23 - NCAA Championship Quarterfinal
vs. Regis (13-3-1)/No. 7 Midwestern State (12-3-2) Winner
Sunday, Nov. 24 • 12 p.m. PT (1 p.m. MT)
Regis Match Pitch • Denver, Colo.
Live Stats

The 17th-ranked Tritons (14-3-4) fly to Denver, Colo., on Wednesday, Nov. 20, to continue their quest for a fourth national championship in program history. As the West's No. 2 seed in the 2013 NCAA Division II Championship, UCSD will meet 12th-ranked and fourth-seeded Simon Fraser University in the tournament's third round on the campus of Regis University this Friday, Nov. 22, at 9 a.m. PT (10 a.m. MT). A West Region title will be at stake. The South Central Region champion will be decided when top-seeded host Regis (13-3-1) then faces seventh-ranked and second-seeded Midwestern State (12-3-2) at 12 p.m. PT (1 p.m. MT). The winners will meet in the national quarterfinals, also at Regis, on Sunday, Nov. 24, at 12 p.m. PT (1 p.m. MT) for the right to play for the ultimate prize in Evans, Ga., the week after Thanksgiving. All matches in Denver will have live stats. UCSD is 7-2-1 outside of La Jolla this season.

Tickets for the next two rounds of the 2013 NCAA Championship can be purchased at Regis University Match Pitch the day of the game. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students and youth. Children aged five and younger are admitted free of charge. A more detailed rundown of prices can be found here.

UCSD is making its second appearance at the NCAA Division II Championship. The Tritons earned their first NCAA berth under sixth-year head coach Jon Pascale, first since 2003, and just their second at the Division II level when the 35-team field was announced on Monday, Nov. 11. UCSD's 2013 tourney opener in the second round following a first-round bye resulted in a 1-1 draw with Chico State, with the Tritons advancing 5-4 on penalty kicks. The Tritons previously dropped a 2-0 decision on two late goals to Chico State in the Far West Regional semifinals at Toro Field in Carson on Nov. 14, 2003. Before that, UCSD went 26-10-4 (.700) in 15 NCAA Division III Championship appearances between 1983-99. That history includes three national titles in 1988, 1991 and 1993. This year marks the 25th anniversary of that very first title-winning side, and 20th of the last national championship.

For those statistically-inclined, something will have to give when UCSD and Simon Fraser meet in Friday's NCAA third-round match in Denver, Colo. The Tritons enter with the third-best defense nationally in Division II in terms of goals-against-average, averaging 0.5 goals allowed per contest. On the other side is the Clan, Division II's top offense with 69 goals scored and 189 points tallied. They average 3.45 goals per game.

UCSD and California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) rival Chico State played an instant classic in the NCAA Championship second round last Saturday night in front of a season-high 985 at Triton Soccer Stadium. It was a fourth meeting this year. The Tritons wound up with a 2-1-1 edge, the final three match-ups all requiring overtime. Penalty kicks decided Saturday's finale as the sides played to a 1-1 draw through 110 minutes of action. During the regular season, each team won a narrow 1-0 decision on the opponent's field. Taylor Wirth's (Escondido/La Costa Canyon HS) first collegiate goal at the 27:55 mark gave the Tritons the victory over then-14th-ranked Chico State in its home opener on Sept. 20, with Josh Cohen making three saves for the clean sheet. The Wildcats returned the favor in La Jolla on Oct. 13, with Justin Walmsley heading in a Justin Saul free kick at the 92:09 mark of the first overtime to nip UCSD, then ranked No. 6. The Tritons overturned a 1-0 halftime deficit to take the previous meeting in a CCAA Championship semifinal in Turlock on Nov. 8. Elan Gefen's first goal of 2013 served as the equalizer at 49:06 before Malek Bashti's first collegiate goal at 91:46 of overtime gave UCSD the 2-1 triumph. The two teams were both ranked prior to that one, with the Tritons 16th and 'Cats 24th.

In blanking then-No. 14 Chico State and Cal State San Bernardino 1-0 away from home on Sept. 20 and 22, respectively, UCSD completed its first sweep of a CCAA road weekend since 2010. That year, the Tritons edged Cal State Monterey Bay, 1-0 in Seaside on Friday, Sept. 24, before blanking San Francisco State, 2-0, two days later. UCSD repeated the two-game road sweep two weekends later, achieving comfortable 2-0 scorelines at defending CCAA champion Cal State Stanislaus on Oct. 4 and Cal State East Bay on Oct. 6. At 7-2-1, the Tritons have their most wins away from home since 1993, when they went 9-1-1 outside of La Jolla en route to their third NCAA Division III title.

In its sixth CCAA Championship appearance (now 2-5-1) and first since 2005, UCSD returned from Turlock as the CCAA runner-up. The Tritons advanced into the final for the second time in program history, and were edged, 1-0, by then-11th-ranked Cal State L.A., with the Golden Eagles lifting their second banner in three years. Gefen and Bashti's goals put UCSD in that final, with Andre Bissmark notching the 85th-minute winner on Nov. 10. Bissmark had also tallied the late equalizer at 82:53 in La Jolla exactly one week prior, to give CSULA the South Division title and top seed at the CCAA tourney. The result in Turlock snapped a seven-game unbeaten streak (5-0-2) for UCSD. Andisheh Bagheri, Gavin Lamming, Will Pleskow and Cory Wolfrom earned spots on the All-Tournament Team. Pleskow assisted on both goals against Chico State in the semifinal on Nov. 8, with Wolfrom providing the final pass ahead of Bashti's decider.

Seven UCSD players earned CCAA recognition when the conference announced its awards on Nov. 7. Pascale was chosen by his peers as CCAA Coach of the Year for the second successive season. Cohen was the Most Valuable Defensive Player for the second year running and made the All-CCAA First Team this time around after a second-team nod in 2012. Joining him on the first team were Bagheri and Alec Arsht. Arsht is now a two-time first-teamer, while Bagheri made the second team a year ago. Wirth was an All-CCAA honoree for the first time, making the second team. Garnering All-CCAA honorable mention were Lamming, junior striker Alessandro Canale and redshirt freshman right back Brett Sampiere (Solana Beach/Torrey Pines HS).

Eleven UCSD standouts were recognized prior to kickoff on Senior Day at Triton Soccer Stadium on Nov. 3. The group is made up of Arsht, Bagheri, Cohen, Gefen, Lamming, Pleskow, Wirth, Wolfrom, Jesse Brennan, Tsuk Haroush and Nick Roberts.

UCSD moved down one spot, from No. 16 to No. 17, in the last National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) poll of the regular season, released Nov. 12. The showing at No. 6 on Oct. 8 was the program's highest ranking of the Division II era (since 2000). Before ascending from No. 22 to No. 10 on Oct. 1, the Tritons previously were as high as No. 15 on Sept. 13, 2005. UCSD was last as high as sixth in any poll on Nov. 11, 1996, when it was No. 6 in the final Division III ranking of the 1996 regular season. In its first in-season installment of 2013 on Sept. 10, UCSD entered the NSCAA national rankings, at No. 25, for the very first time under Pascale. The Tritons' last appearance before that occurred on Nov. 1, 2005, at No. 19 ahead of the CCAA Championship.

On Oct. 15, Pascale and the program were featured on NSCAA TV. On Oct. 31, UCSD and Bagheri were highlighted in Tod Leonard's biweekly Local Colleges column in the U-T San Diego. Leonard then also was on hand to witness Saturday's epic showdown with Chico State. The NSCAA TV episode on Nov. 19 contained highlights from that match.

With a pair of 2-1 home triumphs the weekend of Oct. 25-27, UCSD clinched its first CCAA Championship berth since 2005. The Tritons finished in second place in the CCAA South Division, one point behind Cal State L.A., which picked up two extra points on Friday, Nov. 1, when seven points were taken away from Cal State Monterey Bay for three matches in which it fielded an ineligible player. UCSD needed to beat CSULA at home on Nov. 3, for its first divisional title since 2003 and the top seed at the CCAA Championship. The match ended in a 1-1 tie. Following a 2-0 loss at Cal State Monterey Bay in its regular-season finale, Chico State settled for third in the South, one point back of UCSD. Sonoma State took the last spot as the lone North entrant, winning that division with a 9-4-3 mark and 33 points.

Through games played on Nov. 17, the Tritons are third in the NCAA Division II in goals-against average (0.5), 13th in save percentage (0.838) and 19th in shutout percentage (0.48). Last season, they led the nation with a CCAA-record 0.44 GAA, and 0.71 shutout percentage. UCSD has kept 10 clean sheets out of 21 matches in 2013, including a stretch of seven straight shutout triumphs around which it did not surrender a goal for 766:07, that was snapped on Oct. 13. It marked the program's longest shutout streak in Division II, second-longest ever (845:12 in 1988) and fourth of 400-plus minutes since the start of the 2012 campaign. Individually, Cohen, No. 1 nationally in 2012 in goals-against average (0.397) and save percentage (.898), is currently fourth in GAA (0.501) and 17th in save percentage (0.836). The Tritons have given up only one goal in each of their other 11 contests, and have allowed no more than one score over the past 25 games going back to a 3-0 loss at Cal State Dominguez Hills on Oct. 14, 2012. UCSD has posted 22 shutouts over its last 37.

Having entered his fourth and final season in a Triton uniform with two career goals, Bagheri has enjoyed a breakout campaign. He leads the team with 10 goals, tied for fourth-best in the conference. That haul includes a league-best six game-winners, with no other player in the CCAA having more than four. The Davis native had tallied in five straight matches, missing the road win at Cal Poly Pomona on Nov. 1, with six goals during the stretch before being held without one by Chico State on Nov. 8. The 10 strikes are the most by a Triton since former All-American Matt Davey achieved that total as a senior in 2005. Courtesy of goals in six of eight matches in the month of October, with seven in all to lead UCSD to a 6-1-1 record, Bagheri was named on Nov. 5 as a San Diego Hall of Champions Star of the Month.

Cohen leads the CCAA in goals-against average (0.5) and minutes played (1977:52), and is second in shutouts (10) and save percentage (0.836), sixth in least goals against (11) and seventh in saves (56). Bagheri has two more game-winning goals, six, than anybody else in the conference. He is tied for fourth with 10 goals and fifth with 22 points. Brandon Bauman is tied for fourth with a team-best five assists. Canale, like Bauman a junior newcomer, is tied for 17th with four goals, tied for 19th with 11 points, and tied for 22nd with three assists. Pleskow is tied for 14th with four assists.

Arsht and Bagheri were each named Oct. 31 to the Capital One Academic All-District Men's Soccer First Team for the NCAA Division II District 8. Both are now two-time honorees, with Bagheri having earned the distinction in 2012 as well, and Arsht in 2011. They each move on to the Capital One Academic All-America ballot, with those awards being announced on Nov. 25.

UCSD's fourth-year senior center back tandem of Arsht and Lamming both earned Wilson/CCAA Player of the Week selection for UCSD this season. Arsht was named on Oct. 7. He led a pair of shutout road victories as the Tritons let up just 12 shot attempts over 180 minutes, and added his first goal of 2013 to cap a 2-0 triumph at Cal State East Bay on Oct. 6. Lamming was chosen on Sept. 24, similarly after anchoring the defense to two shutout road wins, over divisional foes who each entered that weekend undefeated. Lamming also headed in a 27th-minute corner kick from junior teammate Jacob Valadez for the lone goal at Cal State San Bernardino on Sept. 22.

UCSD is 11-0-1 when scoring first in 2013 and 8-0 when leading at halftime ... The Tritons' 14 overall wins are their most under Pascale, most in Division II, and most in exactly two decades, since the 1993 Division III national championship side finished 21-2-1 ... UCSD's 11 CCAA victories reflect a program record ... The Tritons got off to their best 10-game start (8-1-1) of the Division II era, and best since an unbeaten 9-0-1 opening to the 1988 Division III national championship season ... The seven-game win streak earlier this year was the Tritons' best in Division II, and longest since a nine-gamer in 1996 ... Cohen is the only Triton to have played all 1977:52 in 2013 ... Arsht, Lamming, Sampiere and junior left back Matthew McClure have made up the back four in front of Cohen for a large majority of the current campaign and virtually every minute of the seven-game shutout stretch ... Cohen handled his 100th career save early in the opener at California Baptist (9/5), and his career-best 10 shutouts in 2013 give him a career total of 22, third-most in program history and tops in the Division II era ... Bagheri paces the team with 10 goals, 22 points and six game-winning goals ... Bagheri's winners have come on an overtime penalty kick at CBU, free kick vs. Sonoma State (9/29), penalties vs. CSUSB (10/11) and CPP (10/20), and second-half goals vs. SF State (10/25) and CSUMB (10/27) ... Bauman's team-leading five assists are the most by a Triton since Wolfrom set up eight scores in 2011 ... Bauman collected two assists each vs. Point Loma (9/7) and at Cal State East Bay (10/6), with Canale adding a two-assist game vs. CSUMB and Pleskow vs. Chico State (11/8) ... Two of Wolfrom's three goals in 2013 have been game-winners ... The 2-1 victory at CBU was UCSD's first of the comeback variety since a 4-1 home defeat of SF State on Oct. 28, 2011 ... The Tritons have since produced two more come-from-behind 2-1 wins, vs. CSUMB and at the CCAA Championship vs. Chico State (11/8) ... UCSD produced five 1-0 victories in 2012 and has six more in 2013, with Bagheri accounting for the lone goal in three of them.

Pascale, now a two-time CCAA Coach of the Year through back-to-back honors in 2012 and 2013, has posted a 58-36-18 (.598) overall record in his sixth season in charge of the UCSD men's soccer program. The 1-0 home victory over Sonoma State on Sept. 29 gave him career win No. 50, while the 2-0 triumph at Cal State Stanislaus on Oct. 4 marked his 100th match at the Triton helm. Pascale directed his first postseason tilt on Nov. 8 in Turlock, and made his NCAA Championship debut as a head coach this past Saturday night in La Jolla.

The upcoming trip to Denver, Colo., will be a homecoming of sorts for UCSD's first-year volunteer assistant coach, Seth Trembly. Trembly is a native of Littleton, Colo., a suburb of Denver. He attended Arapahoe High School in Centennial for a time, while simultaneously playing professional soccer for the Colorado Rapids of Major League Soccer. Trembly appeared in 52 matches for the Rapids through the 2004 season, before later playing for Real Salt Lake and the Montreal Impact.

No. 12 Simon Fraser heads to Denver at 17-2-1 overall. The Clan won their fourth straight Great Northwest Athletic Conference crown, over Seattle Pacific, with a league ledger of 11-2-1. Their only two losses this season have come at SPU on Oct. 3 (2-1), and 3-0 at Western Washington in the regular-season finale. SFU was a national semifinalist a year ago, advancing to this year's final destination, Evans, Ga., before dropping a 3-1 decision to eventual runner-up Saginaw Valley State. Simon Fraser is the NCAA's first and only Canadian program, located in Burnaby, British Columbia, just due east of Vancouver. The Clan's tourney run began with a 5-0 victory over California Baptist in Los Angeles, and then a 2-1 double-overtime triumph over the host Golden Eagles of Cal State L.A. last Saturday night. It was CSULA's first and only home loss in 2013 after nine straight wins. Among SFU's nation-leading 69 goals, Colin Jacques leads with nine. The sophomore forward also has a team-best nine assists for 27 total points. The midfield tandem of Jovan Blagojevic and Ryan Dhillon have added eight goals apiece, while senior striker Carlo Basso, who notched the 106th-minute decider at CSULA, has seven goals and five assists. The Clan's regular goalkeeper is redshirt freshman Brandon Watson (0.79 GAA, 45 saves, five shutouts). Alan Koch is in his sixth season in charge at his alma mater. SFU is 8-2-1 away from home this season.

Regis is the host of this weekend's games and the only unranked team among the four to be taking the field in Denver. The Rangers, currently 13-3-1 overall, have been idle since Nov. 10, when they dropped a 2-1 home decision in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Championship final to Colorado Mesa, allowing a goal with just two seconds left in the second overtime. The result snapped Regis' five-match win streak. The Rangers went 11-2-1 in RMAC play. They are led by Martin Maybin, who is tied with two others for fourth nationally with his 17 goals scored. The junior forward also has a team-best nine assists for 43 total points. Senior teammate and fellow Northern Ireland native Mark Kelly is second on the points chart with 33 from 13 goals and seven assists. Freshman Connor Adkisson (1.21 GAA, 53 saves) and sophomore Christian Nicolosi (2.23 GAA, 27 saves) have both seen time in net for the Rangers, who have posted just three clean sheets as a team this season. Tony McCall is in his fifth year at Regis, which is 7-2-1 at home in 2013.

No. 7 Midwestern State, a Division II independent program that hails from Wichita Falls, Texas. The Mustangs, ranked seventh nationally, are 12-3-2 overall and unbeaten over their last 13 (11-0-2), including seven wins in the past eight games. They blanked Colorado Mines, 1-0, in their NCAA second-round match at home last Sunday afternoon on a ninth-minute Andrew Power goal. MSU has not allowed a goal in the last 454:42, with four successive clean sheets. The Mustangs boast the goalkeeper with the top individual goals-against average in the nation in Nick Petolick at 0.238. The redshirt sophomore out of Frisco, Texas, who began his career at Oral Roberts, also paces Division II with a 0.945 save percentage. Len Smith paces the side offensively with 18 points from eight goals and two assists. Power and Dan Johns each have five goals, while a fourth junior, Chase Robertson, has produced two goals to go along with a team-best six assists. MSU is led in scoring by Doug Elder is in his 14th campaign leading his alma mater. The Mustangs are 6-1-1 away from home in 2013.

UCSD has never met Simon Fraser, Regis or Midwestern State in men's soccer.

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Should the Tritons advance through Sunday's quarterfinal round, the NCAA Championship will take a week off for Thanksgiving before concluding with the semifinals and final, in Evans, Ga., Dec. 5 and 7.


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