Photo by: Andy Wilhelm
Redshirt freshman Natalie Saddic and the Tritons are in Colorado looking for their first West crown since 2012.
It's No. 9 UC San Diego Against No. 1 Western Washington for West Region Crown, Friday in Colorado
Release: Thursday 11/17/2016 

NCAA Championship Third Round - South Central Region Final
No. 6 Colorado Mines (19-2-1) vs. Texas A&M-Commerce (15-5-1)
Friday, Nov. 18 • 11 a.m. PT
Stermole Stadium • Golden, Colo.
Live VideoLive Stats

Match 22 - NCAA Championship Third Round - West Region Final
vs. No. 1 Western Washington (20-0-1)
Friday, Nov. 18 • 1:30 p.m. PT
Stermole Stadium • Golden, Colo.
Live VideoLive Stats

Match 23 - NCAA Championship Quarterfinal
vs. No. 6 Colorado Mines or Texas A&M Commerce
Sunday, Nov. 20 • 11 a.m. PT
Stermole Stadium • Golden, Colo.
Live VideoLive Stats

The No. 9 University of California San Diego women's soccer team arrived in Golden, Colo., late Tuesday night, for the second weekend of the 2016 NCAA Division II Championship. The California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) double champion Tritons (19-2) are winners of 16 in a row since a 3-2 loss at Western Washington, with a showdown now set with the unbeaten, top-ranked Vikings (20-0-1) in the West Region title game, otherwise known as the third round, Friday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. PT. The top two seeds in the South Central Region will meet in that title tilt first at 11 a.m. PT, in sixth-ranked host Colorado Mines (19-2-1) and Texas A&M-Commerce (15-5-1). Friday's winners will meet on Sunday, Nov. 20, in a national quarterfinal, with kickoff at Mines' Stermole Stadium set for 11 a.m. PT.

UCSD is the CCAA's automatic qualifier, having added a record 10th tournament title on Nov. 6 in Turlock, to its record ninth conference crown. The Tritons are 11-1 away from home in 2016.

All games this weekend in Golden will have live video for free, as well as live stats. Click here. Fans can access live coverage from the Schedule/Results page, or by clicking on the links above. Starting lineups, live in-game updates and other news and notes can be found by following Triton Soccer all season long on the UCSD Athletics Twitter handle (@UCSDtritons).

Tickets will be available at the gate and are $10 for adults and $5 for seniors and students. Cash and credit cards are accepted. Please note that fans attending Friday's games will have to pay for parking if utilizing Lot K adjacent to Stermole Stadium. The weather forecast for Friday is a high of 42 with sunshine and west winds 10-15 mph, while Sunday is forecast to be sunny with a high of 62.

UCSD settled into the No. 9 position in the final regular-season National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) poll. With the first in-season release of the NSCAA poll on Sept. 6, UCSD entered at No. 7, having been left out of the preseason listing. It marked a first national rank for the Tritons since they were No. 23 on Sept. 17, 2013. UCSD's highest rank this year has been No. 6 on Sept. 13. Of this week's opponents, Western Washington is No. 1 and host Colorado Mines is No. 6.

UC San Diego is one of just three schools at the Division II level with both of its soccer programs still alive in the Round of 16 of the NCAA Championship. Adelphi (Garden City, N.Y.) and Fort Hays State (Hays, Kan.) are the other two. Adelphi's men moved on to the quarterfinals with a 4-0 victory early Thursday.

UCSD will have a rather unique opportunity this weekend in Colorado, to avenge both of its two losses from this season. The Tritons lost 1-0 late at home to Colorado Mines on Sept. 11, and then 3-2 at Western Washington in their very next match on Sept. 14. Both Friday matches pit the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the respective regions represented. In the West final, UCSD is the top offensive team in the region with 58 goals scored, while Western is the top defensive side with a 0.282 goals-against average and just six goals surrendered in 21 matches. Two of those were scored by the Tritons.

The other oddity about this weekend is that in 2012, when UCSD last made the national semifinals, it did so by going through Denver, Colo., with Metro State the host that year, by virtue of getting past Western Washington (2-1 OT) and Colorado Mines (0-0, 6-5 PKs) back to back.

UCSD scored three times within the first 25 minutes and cruised to a 4-2 victory at home over Pacific West Conference champion Azusa Pacific in the second round last Saturday, Nov. 12. Mary Reilly hit a third brace for this season, around goals by Katie O'Laughlin and Jordyn McNutt from the penalty spot.

The Tritons are in search of an eighth national title. The first five came during the NCAA Division III days, with the last two coming in UCSD's first two seasons at the Division II level (2000, 2001). UCSD is making its 14th Division II tourney appearance in its 17th year since moving to Division II. The Tritons take a record of 24-10-3 (.689) in NCAA Division II Championship games heading into Friday. Advancement past Friday would mean a seventh Division II West Region crown for the program, and first since 2012. UCSD previously was 37-8-2 (.809) in 14 NCAA appearances in Division III.

The top-seeded Tritons earned their record 10th CCAA Tournament title and second in a row, Nov. 6 in Turlock with an easy 2-0 win over No. 6 seed Cal State LA. It was a 16th CCAA Tournament appearance, more than any other current member, in their 17th season in the conference. Mary Reilly's goal at 88:49 was the difference Friday night in a tense affair against fifth-seeded host Stanislaus State, with Kiera Bocchino and Elisa Martinez effectively ending Sunday's drama within the first 18 minutes. Reilly was the tournament's Most Valuable Offensive Player, with Meghan Berry the Most Valuable Defensive Player. Jamie Benedetto, Itzel Gonzalez, Jordyn McNutt and Natalie Saddic joined them on the All-Tournament Team.

UC San Diego completed its perfect 12-0 run through the CCAA schedule with a come-from-behind, 2-1 triumph at Cal Poly Pomona on Oct. 29. The 17th-minute goal by the hosts meant that UCSD trailed for the first time in league action, but second-half goals by its potent strike duo of Mary Reilly (64th) and Katie O'Laughlin (75th) overturned that deficit. The Tritons had already clinched a record ninth CCAA crown, and first since 2012, with a 1-0 win at Cal State San Bernardino on Oct. 27. UCSD is the first team to run the CCAA table since Sonoma State went 14-0 in 1998. For all of the Tritons' success over their previous 16 years as a league member, this is the first time they have even gone undefeated, much less unbeaten and untied, since joining in 2000.

UCSD now has a record 10 CCAA Tournament banners, also the most of any other side, but this is just the third year in which the conference has done away with a divisional format, with the top point-getter at the end of the regular season now recognized as the CCAA champion, as opposed to the tourney winner in past years. Cal State LA and Sonoma State topped the table in 2014 and 2015, respectively.

On Wednesday, the Division 2 Conference Commissioners Association (D2CCA) awards were announced, with Katie O'Laughlin voted the West Region Player of the Year and joined on the 13-player first team by six Tritons. Those teammates were Meghan Berry, Kiera Bocchino, Makenzie Brito, Itzel Gonzalez, Jordyn McNutt and Mary Reilly.

All 11 UCSD starters earned some type of postseason recognition from the CCAA when those announcements were made on Nov. 3. Seven of the 11-member All-CCAA First Team were Tritons in Meghan Berry, Kiera Bocchino, Makenzie Brito, Itzel Gonzalez, Jordyn McNutt, Katie O'Laughlin and Mary Reilly. Jamie Benedetto and Natalie Saddic made the All-CCAA Second Team, with Aimee Ellis and Elisa Martinez grabbing All-CCAA honorable mention. O'Laughlin was the simple choice for Offensive Player of the Year, while Berry was tabbed the Defensive Player of the Year. Brian McManus was named the CCAA Coach of the Year for a record sixth time, and first since 2011.

Katie O'Laughlin's career-best 16 goals lead the CCAA and the West Region. She is in a four-way tie for 14th nationally in goals, and an eight-way tie for seventh with six game-winners. Strike partner Mary Reilly is the league's only player even in double figures, at 13 goals. O'Laughlin ignited her campaign with a first collegiate hat trick on Sept. 1 against then-12th-ranked APU. She strung together a career-best run of five straight games with a goal from Oct. 9-23, having produced a pair of prior three-game goal-scoring streaks in 2016, to begin the year (Sept. 1-9), and from Sept. 16-25. O'Laughlin has hit the target in 14 of 21 games. She is one goal from tying Triton great Erika Alfredson's single-season record for the program's Division II era, of 17 from her senior campaign. O'Laughlin's assist on Reilly's second last Saturday against APU pulled her even with Alfredson's points mark at 41.

UC San Diego's 58 goals as a team, through 21 matches, leads both the CCAA and the West Region, and is 10th nationally in the NCAA Division II. The next closest in the CCAA is Stanislaus State with 32. Katie O'Laughlin (16G, 9A), Mary Reilly (13G, 9A), Kiera Bocchino (8G, 5A) and Jordyn McNutt (5G, 12A) have accounted for 42 of those goals, and 35 of 57 assists. Those 57 assists also pace the West Region, and are fifth nationally. UCSD's record for single-season goals in the NCAA Division II era, which is also believed to be the CCAA standard, is 67 goals from its first year at that level in 2000.

This 16-game unbeaten streak (16-0) is UCSD's longest since a 19-gamer from Sept. 19-Dec. 2, 2010. It also marks the Tritons' best win streak since they took the final 17 games of their inaugural Division II season as national champions in 2000, and the first five in 2001. They produced their longest streaks of shutouts of the Division II era (since 2000), at nine games and 851:26, from Sept. 25-Oct. 29. UCSD had an eight-gamer from Sept. 29-Oct. 27, 1997. The team scored two or more goals in 12 successive games, a record streak for the program's Division II days, from Sept. 14-Oct. 23.

UC San Diego scored two or more goals in 12 consecutive matches from Sept. 14-Oct. 23. The Tritons' previous best in their NCAA Division II days, since 2000, was an eight-game stretch back in 2000. They have scored two or more goals in 18 of 21 contests in 2016. The 58 goals are UCSD's most in a decade, since 2006 (60).

Fifth-year senior goalkeeper Itzel Gonzalez has kept a CCAA-best 15 clean sheets in this, her first year as UCSD's No. 1 between the posts, including nine straight from Sept. 30-Oct. 27. Her 0.428 goals-against average is tops in the CCAA, second in the West, and eighth nationally. The Tritons' Division II-best shutout streak stretched to 851:26 before being snapped Oct. 29 at CPP.

UCSD has almost tripled its 2016 opponents in shots taken, 389-134. The Tritons have 121 more shots than their closest competitors in the CCAA, and have produced 10 games with 20 or more, including a season high of 28 at Cal State Monterey Bay (10/9). Mary Reilly leads the CCAA individually for a second straight year, again by a hefty margin, of 31 over teammate Katie O'Laughlin. Reilly's total stands at a remarkable 98.

Junior Katie O'Laughlin and sophomore Mary Reilly, both local products, make up arguably the top forward tandem in the West Region, and one of the best in all of the NCAA Division II. O'Laughlin has a region-best 16 goals, with nine assists, while Reilly has produced 13 goals and nine assists. They are thus 1-2 on both the team and CCAA points charts, at 41 and 35, respectively. All of those totals are career bests. Together they have outscored 11 of 12 CCAA foes in 2016. Reilly (11) and O'Laughlin (10) were 1-2 in the CCAA in goals in 2015. It's now O'Laughlin on top and Reilly second, both again having reached double figures.

Jordyn McNutt, who has held at least a share of the CCAA lead in assists in each of her first two years in Triton colors, is back at the top of the league standings in that category with a career-high 12. The junior winger set up four of UCSD's six goals in two home wins on Sept. 30 and Oct. 2, including her first career three-assist effort in the latter contest against Humboldt State. It was in fact the first three-assist game by a Triton since Sara Bolton on Sept. 2, 2010. McNutt now has five multi-assist games, including two this year. She is tied for eighth nationally in helpers, and has 29 for her career. That puts her in a five-way tie for sixth all-time in program history, a group that includes associate head coach Kristin Jones.

Jordyn McNutt and Katie O'Laughlin have each turned in a three-assist performance in 2016, the first such effort collegiately for both.

Cal State LA did not gain credit for a single shot in its 2-0 loss to UCSD in La Jolla on Oct. 14. The Tritons had not achieved such a whitewash in over 15 years, going back at least through the 2001 season.

On Nov. 1, Katie O'Laughlin was named the season's final CCAA Player of the Week, having scored the 75th minute winner at CPP that enabled UCSD to cap its perfect CCAA season. She also assisted on Mary Reilly's 64th-minute equalizer. O'Laughlin is a three-time honoree for her career.

Four current Tritons have eclipsed the 50-point plateau for their careers. Katie O'Laughlin's game-winner at Cal State Monterey Bay (10/9) pushed her to 51, and she is now at 69. Kiera Bocchino reached 50 with her assist on Senior Day against CSUDH (10/16), and sits at 54. Jordyn McNutt (57) assisted on Mary Reilly's (63) opener at Stanislaus State (10/21) to get them both to the mark.

Junior central midfielder Elisa Martinez (El Cajon/Francis Parker School), returned from the Mexican capital of Mexico City on Oct. 1, and was on the bench during the Oct. 2 matchup with Humboldt State, though she did not play. She left on Sept. 18 after being formally invited on Sept. 12 to participate in her second training camp with the Mexico U-20 national team. Martinez was previously involved in her first Mexican camp at any age level, also in Mexico City, July 31-Aug. 7. The training periods served as tryouts for the side which will represent Mexico at the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup, to be held in Papua New Guinea from Nov. 13-Dec. 3. Martinez was back on the field for UCSD at SF State on Oct. 7, and reclaimed her spot in the starting lineup two days later.

For the month of September, six of nine UCSD opponents were either nationally-ranked at the time of the match, or receiving votes just outside of the top 25. In addition, the Tritons won at two-time defending Pacific West Conference champion Point Loma, as well as at Cal State San Marcos, which was the CCAA's last remaining unbeaten when UCSD posted a 4-0 victory on Sept. 21.

Katie O'Laughlin was named on Oct. 5 among September's San Diego Hall of Champions Stars of the Month. She scored eight goals over UCSD's nine matches during the month, including four game-winners, as the Tritons went 7-2. Meghan Berry was also chosen on Nov. 2, anchoring a defense that outscored opposition 26-1 en route to a perfect 9-0 ledger for October. Both are first-time honorees. Mary Reilly won in November of 2015.

Sophomore starlet Mary Reilly was named on Sept. 27 as the CCAA Player of the Week for the week of Sept. 19-25. It was the first such honor for the Chula Vista product's (Hilltop HS) career, coming after a stalwart performance against Chico State on Sept. 25 that saw her assist on UCSD's first two goals before scoring an exquisite 87th-minute clincher in the 3-1 victory.

On Sept. 6, Katie O'Laughlin was named the season's first CCAA Player of the Week, thanks to her hat trick against APU. The junior Carlsbad product needed a mere 27 seconds to score her first of 2016, before doubling the advantage at 14:05 through a corner-kick header, and then completing her hat trick late on a breakaway.

UCSD's 5-0 rout of Azusa Pacific marked the first time the Tritons tallied five goals in a single game since a 5-1 home win over Cal State East Bay on Oct. 12, 2014. It was their most lopsided defeat since a 6-1 margin at home in the 2012 opener on Sept. 1 against Central Washington. The result is also believed to be UCSD's heftiest victory over a ranked opponent in at least it's Division II history. With the Sept. 6 win at Point Loma, the Tritons are a perfect 3-0 against their crosstown rivals, with no goals conceded over 270 minutes.

UCSD has a 6-0 romp, two 5-0 wins and three 4-0 victories in 2016 ... The Tritons are 9-8 in CCAA openers after a 4-0 win at CSUSM on Sept. 21 ended a run of two straight defeats ... UCSD is 15-1-1 in season openers in its NCAA Division II era, since 2000, following the 5-0 rout of then-12th-ranked Azusa Pacific on Sept. 1 ... UCSD is favored to win the 2016 CCAA title, grabbing six of 13 first-place votes in the preseason poll.

Brian McManus, in his 30th season in charge, has had to replace just one starter in goalkeeper Kelcie Brodsky. The rest of a strong, veteran lineup is back, led by four All-CCAA First Team selections and area products in senior center back Meghan Berry (Mt. Carmel HS), junior winger Jordyn McNutt (University City HS), and the prolific strike tandem of junior Katie O'Laughlin (Pacific Ridge School) and sophomore Mary Reilly (Hilltop HS).

Reilly, the CCAA Freshman of the Year, and O'Laughlin, were statistically the league's top scoring duo, finishing 1-2 in goals at 11 and 10, respectively. Reilly paced the conference in most offensive categories, including points (28), game-winners (tied-four), shots (80) and shots on goal (52). McNutt provided a CCAA- and career-best 10 assists, while Berry was a revelation anchoring the back line after moving from central midfield during the 2015 preseason.

Senior Itzel Gonzalez has taken over in goal. She and winger Kiera Bocchino are the program's longest-standing members, both in their fifth year. Jamie Benedetto, like Berry, Bocchino, McNutt and Reilly, started all 22 matches in 2015. Kristen Sampietro (18), Brie Diaz (13), Aimee Ellis (13) and Taylor Ramos (10) all drew double-digit starts. Elisa Martinez earned her way into McManus' lineup in central midfield for each of the final nine games, and fellow junior Makenzie Brito the last seven at right back. Benedetto and Bocchino were All-CCAA Second Team picks, with Diaz garnering honorable mention in her first year on campus after a transfer from UC Riverside.

UCSD's 30-player 2016 roster has five seniors in fifth-year team members Kiera Bocchino and Itzel Gonzalez, alongside Jamie Benedetto, Meghan Berry and Kristen Sampietro ... Berry and Bocchino are second-year co-captains ... Twelve newcomers have joined the program, including 10 true freshmen ... Ten Tritons have San Diego ties, in Megumi Barber (San Diego/Mt. Carmel HS), Meghan Berry (Austin, Texas/San Diego Miramar College/Mt. Carmel HS), Sydney Davey (La Jolla/La Jolla HS), Maxia Espino (Chula Vista/Hilltop HS), Elisa Martinez (El Cajon/Univ. of Sioux Falls/Francis Parker School), Jordyn McNutt (San Diego/University City HS), Katie O'Laughlin (Carlsbad/Pacific Ridge School), Taylor Ramos (San Diego/Coronado HS), Mary Reilly (Chula Vista/Hilltop HS) and Natalie Saddic (San Diego/UC Davis/Torrey Pines HS) ... Kristin Jones, a two-time national champion and All-American as one of the greatest players to ever come through the storied UCSD program, is in her second year as associate head coach and her 17th straight as a Triton, having joined Brian McManus' staff immediately upon graduating.

Brian McManus is in his milestone 30th season in charge of the UC San Diego women's soccer program. With a career record of 484-87-51, he has achieved the most wins in NCAA Division II women's soccer history, and fourth-most for all divisions. McManus' career winning percentage of .816 heading into 2016 ranked among the top 10 in college women's soccer annals, both overall (No. 10) and Division II only (No. 4). He was also third in win percentage among active Division II coaches. McManus has directed UCSD to seven national titles and a record nine CCAA crowns and 10 tournament banners, with the Tritons advancing to the national semifinals a remarkable 15 times in his 29 years. Under his guidance, UCSD has qualified for the NCAA Championship all 13 seasons during the Division III days, and all but three (2004, 2013-14) of 17 years since the move up to Division II. McManus' Tritons have missed the CCAA Tournament just once in 2013, having earned 13 straight berths after joining the conference.

No. 1 Western Washington (20-0-1, 12-0 GNAC), like UCSD, ran its conference table at a perfect 12-0. The Vikings are also double champions of their league, the Great Northwest Athletic Conference. Junior Ashley Homer is ranked No. 4 nationally with her 0.257 goals-against average. Sierra Shugarts was a candidate for the D2CCA West Region Player of the Year award that went to UCSD's junior forward Katie O'Laughlin. The Vikings are the reigning West Region champions, having lost 3-2 to eventual threepeat national champion Grand Valley State in the 2015 semifinals. Travis Connell is in his 14th season at the helm.

UCSD leads the all-time series, 5-2-1, but has dropped the last two meetings, including 3-2 back on Sept. 14 in Bellingham, Wash. The other loss was 1-0 in La Jolla on Sept. 7, 2013, with the goal coming at 88:52. The Tritons were ranked No. 3 that preseason, with WWU 12th. The then-23rd-ranked Vikings were edged, 2-1, by UCSD in the 2012 West Region final in Denver, Colo., on Nov. 16. Triton goals came from Ellen Wilson in the first half and fellow senior Gabi Hernandez 51 seconds into the first overtime period. Prior to 2013, WWU had not scored in three prior trips to La Jolla, resulting in Triton triumphs of 1-0 (2001), 4-0 (2006) and 5-0 (2009). The sides played to a scoreless draw in Bellingham to start the 2011 season, with UCSD returning from there with a 2-1 overtime triumph in 2008.

No. 6 Colorado Mines (19-2-1, 10-2 RMAC) survived the NCAA second round at home against Dallas Baptist last Saturday, advancing 3-2 via penalty-kick tiebreaker after a scoreless draw. That result snapped a program-record string of 18 consecutive home wins for the Orediggers. Mines is the double champion of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) for a fourth successive year. Kevin Fickes is in his seventh season in charge of the program.

Mines leads the all-time series, 1-0-1, having taken a 1-0 decision in La Jolla back on Sept. 11 through a long-distance strike by Kortney DesCamp at 85:29. The only previous meeting resulted in a 0-0 draw in the quarterfinals of the 2012 NCAA Division II Championship on Nov. 18 in Denver, Colo. UC San Diego prevailed via penalty-kick tiebreaker, 6-5, advancing to the national semifinals in Evans, Ga. No current Tritons played that day, with Itzel Gonzalez present in Denver and Kiera Bocchino a redshirt freshman.

Texas A&M-Commerce (15-5-1, 9-3 LSC), located in Commerce, Texas, made it to the Lone Star Conference final, but was outlasted by Midwestern State in a penalty-kick tiebreaker, 5-4, at home after a 1-1 draw. The Lions took the rematch, however, 1-0, also at home, in the second round of the NCAA Championship last Sunday, Nov. 13, thanks to a 34th-minute Sophie Haywood goal. Neil Piper is the head coach.

UCSD has won the only meeting between these two sides, 4-0 in La Jolla on Sept. 6, 2008.

A selection of clips and features on the UC San Diego women's soccer program from this season:
CBS 8 NCAA Second Round Highlights (11/12/16)
San Diego Union-Tribune NCAA Second Round Recap (11/12/16)
San Diego Union-Tribune NCAA Championship Preview (11/11/16)
ABC 10News Profile (11/10/16)
CBS 8 NCAA Championship Preview (11/9/16)
O'Laughlin in San Diego Union-Tribune (10/4/16)
Tritons in HERO Sports News (10/4/16)
McManus in GoalNation (8/12/16)
McManus in HERO Sports News (7/30/16)

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Should the Tritons advance past this weekend's games, the national semifinals and final are Dec. 1-3 in Kansas City, Mo.


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