TRITONS OPEN CCAA TITLE DEFENSE AT HOME
The No. 19 University of California San Diego women's soccer program begins the 12-game California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) schedule with two home matches at Triton Soccer Stadium on North Campus in La Jolla this weekend. UC San Diego (3-2) entertains Chico State (3-1) in primetime on Friday night, Sept. 15, at 7 p.m., and then undefeated rival Stanislaus State (5-0) on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 17, at 2 p.m. Both games will cap doubleheaders with the UCSD men's team. Admission is free.
UC San Diego is 9-8 in CCAA openers after a 4-0 win at Cal State San Marcos last season, which broke a string of two straight losses.
TRITON SOCCER MATCHDAY
Once again in 2017, all regular-season home matches at Triton Soccer Stadium are free to attend. Parking permits are required, however, on weeknights on the UC San Diego campus. Parking permits can be purchased at machines situated at corners of either of the nearest parking lots, behind the spectator stand, as well as the Hopkins Parking Structure adjacent to RIMAC. Parking is free on Saturday and Sunday.
TRITON SOCCER ON UCSDTRITONS.TV
Select home games in 2017, will feature a live video stream on UCSDtritons.tv, including this Friday's CCAA opener against Chico State, free of charge with no commentary. Broadcasts are in high definition and can be viewed from smartphones and tablets alongside desktop and laptop computers. Events are archived. All games have live stats. Some road matches will also have video. 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). Finally, check out the CCAA live scoreboard here to keep up on results around the league.
Free posters of the 2017 UCSD fall sports will be available at Triton Soccer Stadium this Friday night and Sunday.
UC San Diego was ranked 10th in the newly-rebranded United Soccer Coaches (formerly National Soccer Coaches Association of America) preseason poll, and moved up to a season-best ninth after a pair of wins. After a 1-2 second week, the Tritons are No. 19 as of Sept. 12, and third in the United Soccer Coaches' West Region top 10.
UNANIMOUS FAVORITES TO REPEAT AS CCAA CHAMPS
UC San Diego is the unanimous favorite to repeat as champion of the CCAA, as voted on by the league's 13 head coaches for the 2017 preseason poll. The Tritons garnered 144 points due largely to the 12 first-place nods. Head coaches do not include their own side in their listing. Sonoma State, the 2015 regular-season champion, sat in the second position in the poll with 128 points. Cal Poly Pomona, the recipient of Brian McManus' first-place vote, was third (104) and followed closely by Cal State LA (103), which suffered a 2-0 defeat to UCSD in the 2016 CCAA Tournament final in Turlock. Chico State (98), Stanislaus State (97) and Cal State San Bernardino (95) formed a close cluster for fifth through seventh.
UC San Diego is 16-1-1 in season openers in the NCAA Division II era. The Tritons suffered their only such defeat in 2014, surrendering a pair of first-half goals and ultimately dropping a 2-1 decision at then-25th-ranked rival Seattle Pacific on Sept. 4. They were unbeaten for starters between 2000-13, with only a scoreless draw at Western Washington in 2011 preventing a perfect ledger. UCSD got a goal from Katie O'Laughlin just 27 seconds in and rolled to a 5-0 demolition of No. 12 Azusa Pacific last Sept. 1. This year, the Tritons needed 118 seconds for their first goal, en route to a 3-0 home defeat of Point Loma on Aug. 31.
A LOOK BACK AT LAST WEEK
UCSD went 2-1 last week beginning with a 3-0 victory at home over Concordia Irvine through goals by freshman Caitlin McCarthy, Katie O'Laughlin and Megumi Barber. The Tritons did not fare so well on their Colorado trip, however, dropping back-to-back shutout decisions at 2016 national quarterfinalist Colorado Mines on Friday night, 4-0, and Regis on Sunday, 1-0. The last time they surrendered four goals in a game was in a 4-1 loss at Stanislaus State on Oct. 4, 2013. It was indeed the first time UCSD lost by more than one goal since the 2014 finale at Cal Poly Pomona, 2-0, on Nov. 2. That first result marked the Tritons' first four-goal setback since another 4-0 defeat in the 2010 national championship game to Grand Valley State in Louisville, Ky. The last time UCSD was blanked in successive games was two 1-0 defeats at Cal State LA on Sept. 26, 2014, and at home to Cal Poly Pomona two days later. The Tritons also lost two in a row after winning their first three games a season ago, but rebounded by rattling off 16 consecutive victories, sweeping through the CCAA regular season and tournament before falling in the West Region final.
2017 SEASON OUTLOOK
Brian McManus saw his entire 2016 starting 11 recognized in some fashion with postseason CCAA athletic honors, including seven of 11 first-teamers, with an incredible seven student-athletes gaining All-America consideration by one or both award entities. Seven of those 11 return, led by Division II Conference Commissioners Association West Region Player of the Year and CCAA Offensive Player of the Year Katie O'Laughlin (Carlsbad/Pacific Ridge School), a senior All-American whose 16 goals and 41 points were best in the West. Further unfortunate for Triton opponents, is that her lethal strike partner and fellow San Diego product Mary Reilly (Chula Vista/Hilltop HS) is also back. Reilly, a junior, added 35 points from 13 goals and nine assists, comfortably leading the CCAA in shots taken for a second successive season. The duo finished 1-2 on the CCAA goals chart for the second year in a row, with their places reversed in 2016. They made up the West's top goal-scoring tandem.
The other two All-CCAA First Team returners are winger Jordyn McNutt (San Diego/University City HS) and right back Makenzie Brito, both seniors. Senior left back Aimee Ellis, redshirt sophomore holding central midfielder Natalie Saddic (San Diego/UC Davis/Torrey Pines HS) and senior central midfielder Elisa Martinez (El Cajon/University of Sioux Falls/Francis Parker School) are the remaining starters back. They are joined by the likes of Brie Diaz and fellow senior Taylor Ramos (San Diego/Coronado HS), as well as the junior duo of Summer Bales and Megumi Barber (San Diego/Mt. Carmel HS).
For the first time in the storied 17-year CCAA history of the UC San Diego women's soccer program, the Tritons completed their league slate unbeaten and untied a season ago, at a perfect 12-0. It marked the first such effort by a CCAA squad since Sonoma State went 14-0 in 1998. UCSD went on to win both of its CCAA Tournament games, 2-0 and 1-0, to give it a 14-0 mark against CCAA foes, outscoring them 35-2 during the regular season and 38-2 overall. In fact, the Tritons trailed just once in the entirety of those 14 contests, for a total of 47:23, after an early goal by Cal Poly Pomona in the regular-season finale. UCSD overturned that 1-0 halftime deficit thanks to goals by Mary Reilly and Katie O'Laughlin, to complete its perfect ledger. The Tritons have won 14 consecutive CCAA regular-season matches, and 20 straight against league opposition, since a 1-0 loss at Sonoma State on Oct. 18, 2015.
COUNTDOWN TO 500
Legendary UC San Diego head coach Brian McManus needs 13 more wins to give him 500 for his outstanding 31-year tenure in charge of the Tritons. Only three others in the history of NCAA women's soccer have reached the milestone, in North Carolina's Anson Dorrance (809), UConn's Len Tsantiris (563) and William Smith's Aliceann Wilber (536), with those reflected totals heading into the 2017 season.
UCSD senior Katie O'Laughlin and junior Mary Reilly, two 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. They have combined for 56 career goals, including exactly 50 in 2015 and 2016, each reaching double figures in both years. In 2016, O'Laughlin had a region-best 16 goals and 41 points, with nine assists, while Reilly produced 13 goals and nine assists of her own. They were 1-2 in the West in goals and thus also 1-2 on the CCAA chart for the second year in a row, this time with spots flipped. Reilly hit for 11 and O'Laughlin for 10 in 2015. They both started their 2017 accounts over the opening weekend, with O'Laughlin finding the target once in both games and Reilly providing the first in Saturday's 2-1 win over Central Washington. O'Laughlin added a 58th-minute tally that was the 30th of her career and proved to be her 10th game-winner. She now has a team-best three in 2017 and 31 as a Triton.
ASSISTS MARK WITHIN JORDY'S REACH
Jordyn McNutt has held at least a share of the CCAA lead in assists in each of her first three years in Triton colors. With her first of 2017 on Sept. 2, the milestone 30th of her career, the senior winger is nine away from matching the program's all-time record. She has increased her total every year, from seven as a freshman, to 10, to a career-best 12 in 2016, tops in the West and tied for ninth in Division II. McNutt produced her first collegiate three-assist effort against Humboldt State on Oct. 2, 2016, which was in fact the first three-assist game by a Triton since Sara Bolton on Sept. 2, 2010. She has five multi-assist games, with two last season. Her 30th assist moved her into sole possession of the No. 6 spot in UCSD history, just ahead of a group that includes associate head coach Kristin Jones.
Eight Tritons made their first appearance during the first weekend, including redshirt sophomore goalie Angelica Ramos, redshirt freshman Amanda Erickson, and true freshmen, Michelle Baddour, Caitlin McCarthy, Abby Ross, Maddy Samilo, Delaney Whittet and Natalie Widmer. Samilo needed just 7:02 after coming on late in the first half of the season opener, to notch her first collegiate goal, with McCarthy assisting. Though Widmer was the only newcomer to start that match, the 3-0 shutout of city rival Point Loma ended with six true freshmen on the pitch. McCarthy's first college goal was the winner in another 3-0 decision over Concordia Irvine on Sept. 5.
The CCAA grind is tough enough, but UCSD head coach Brian McManus has given his side the best possible chance of gaining another NCAA Championship berth in 2017. Of the five non-conference opponents the Tritons faced prior to league competition, Mines and Regis were picked to finish 1-2 in the RMAC, Concordia and Point Loma 3-4 in the PacWest, and Central Washington second in the GNAC.
UCSD's 29-player 2017 roster has seven seniors in fourth-year team members Makenzie Brito, Aimee Ellis, Jordyn McNutt, Katie O'Laughlin and Taylor Ramos, alongside third-year transfers Brie Diaz and Elisa Martinez ... Eleven newcomers have joined the program, including 10 true freshmen ... Twelve players are from San Diego, in Michelle Baddour (San Diego/University City HS), Megumi Barber (San Diego/Mt. Carmel HS), Sydney Davey (La Jolla/La Jolla HS), Georgina Herrera (San Ysidro/San Diego Mesa College/San Ysidro HS), Elisa Martinez (El Cajon/University of Sioux Falls/Francis Parker School), Caitlin McCarthy (Carlsbad/Carlsbad HS), 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), Natalie Saddic (San Diego/UC Davis/Torrey Pines HS) and Maddy Samilo (San Diego/Rancho Bernardo HS) ... Kristin Jones (Oceanside HS), a two-time national champion and two-time All-American as one of the greatest players to ever come through the storied UCSD women's soccer program, begins her third year as associate head coach and her 18th straight year as a Triton player or coach, having joined Brian McManus' staff immediately upon exhausting her eligibility.
CCAA TOURNAMENT RETURNS TO LA JOLLA
UC San Diego is the proud host of the 2017 CCAA Tournament semifinals and finals, for the first time since 2008 and fourth in all. Two women's and two men's semifinals will be contested at Triton Soccer Stadium on Friday, Nov. 3, with the two finals set for Sunday, Nov. 5. Start times are to be determined. First-round matchups will take place on the campuses of the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds on Tuesday, Oct. 31. In all three previous instances that UCSD has served as the host, the Triton women have won the event, in 2001, 2006 and 2008. The women's champion will once again earn the CCAA's automatic berth into the NCAA Championship.
CCAA FORMAT UNCHANGED
Conference action begins this Friday, Sept. 15. For the fourth year in a row, the CCAA slate will consist of a single round robin, with all teams meeting once for 12 matches total, and the top six sides (based on most points; three points for a league win, one for a tie) in the final regular-season standings qualifying for the 2017 CCAA Tournament. Cal State San Marcos, a new addition in 2015, is eligible for the first time.
UCSD went 19-3 overall and a perfect 12-0 in the CCAA a year ago. A 16-game win streak was snapped in the West Region final by eventual national champion Western Washington, 2-1 in overtime in Golden, Colo. The Tritons won the CCAA Tournament for a second straight and record 10th time, as the top seed.
HEAD COACH BRIAN McMANUS
Brian McManus is in his 31st season in charge of the UC San Diego women's soccer program. With a career record of 487-90-51, he has achieved the most wins in NCAA Division II women's soccer history, and fourth-most for all divisions. McManus' winning percentage of .818 heading into 2017 ranks among the top 12 in college women's soccer annals, both overall (No. 11) and Division II only (No. 5). The six-time and reigning CCAA Coach of the Year is 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 (first regular-season one in 2016), with the Tritons advancing to the national semifinals a remarkable 15 times in his 30 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.
ABOUT THE WILDCATS
Chico State (3-1) was picked for fifth in the CCAA preseason poll. The Wildcats have won three straight since a season-opening 3-2 defeat at Seattle Pacific on Aug. 31. They have scored two goals in each of their first four matches, with five coming from junior midfielder Erin Woods, the 2015 CCAA Newcomer of the Year. She is second in the league in goals, only behind the six by Stanislaus State's Jade Poon, whom the Tritons will see on Sunday. Kim Sutton is in her 17th season in charge of the Wildcats.
UCSD leads the all-time series, 13-5-4, and won 3-1 at home a year ago after a decisive 4-0 triumph in Chico in 2015. The teams played to a 1-1 draw in Chico in 2014, with Katie O'Laughlin and Halima Abdelshife's goals cancelling each other out in the 14th and 68th minutes, respectively. In 2013, the teams tied in Chico, 2-2, with UCSD later winning 2-0 at home. The Tritons have gone 5-0-3 in the last eight regular-season matchups since a 2-0 loss in Chico in 2009. Chico State did, however, end UCSD's 2011 campaign in La Jolla with a 1-0 victory in the second round of the NCAA Championship.
ABOUT THE WARRIORS
Stanislaus State (5-0) is favored for sixth in the league standings this year. The Warriors are one of three CCAA unbeatens remaining. They have scored a CCAA-best 15 goals over their five wins, two of them outside of Turlock. Senior forward Jade Poon, the 2014 CCAA Freshman of the Year, is the reigning CCAA Player of the Week and leads the conference with her six goals scored. Stanislaus State plays at Cal State San Marcos on Friday afternoon, prior to its La Jolla visit on Sunday. Gabriel Bolton is the 13th-year Warrior head coach. Stan State won its first West Region crown in 2014.
UCSD leads the all-time series, 15-5-2, and has won four straight, including a pair of shutout victories in Turlock a year ago. The Tritons won 3-0 on Oct. 21 on a Mary Reilly brace and Katie O'Laughlin clincher, and then 1-0 to end the host Warriors' season in the CCAA Tournament semifinals thanks to Reilly's dramatic tally at 88:49. They also swept both meetings in 2015, 1-0 in La Jolla during the regular season in a game which UCSD finished with nine players, and 3-2 in the CCAA Tournament final in Pomona. The Tritons dropped the two previous matchups, 4-1 in Turlock in 2013 and 4-2 in La Jolla in 2014. The teams faced off twice in 2012, with the visiting Warriors first taking the regular-season contest in La Jolla, 1-0 on an 87th-minute goal. The Tritons avenged that defeat with a 2-1 decision in the CCAA semifinals in Carson, getting their own late winner at 86:09 from Gabi Hernandez after Cassie Callahan and Karenee Demery's strikes had cancelled each other out earlier in the second half.
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FOR THE YOUNGER CROWD
Got some young Triton fans in your family? If they are eighth grade or under, check out the Junior Triton Club. Membership includes a free t-shirt, admission to over 100 UCSD home athletic events, and much more!
The Tritons hit the CCAA road for the first time next week, heading to Cal State Dominguez Hills on Friday, Sept. 22, and Cal State LA on Sunday, Sept. 24.