No. 19 UC San Diego Heads to San Marcos Friday for Final Non-League Matchup
SECOND STRAIGHT ONE-MATCH WEEK FOR TRITONS TO WRAP NON-LEAGUE PLAY
This is a second straight one-match week for the University of California San Diego men's soccer program, which makes the short trip north to San Marcos on Friday, Oct. 20, for a fifth and final non-conference game for 2017 at California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) and city rival Cal State San Marcos. The Tritons (8-1-4, 6-1-2 CCAA) and Cougars (2-9-2, 0-8-1 CCAA) will face off at The Cage at 3 p.m. This season's CCAA meeting went to UCSD, 1-0, in La Jolla on Oct. 4. UCSD's match at Sonoma State last Sunday, Oct. 15, which was postponed due to wildfires, will not be made up. The Tritons are an unbeaten 6-0-2 over their last eight.
Friday's match at Cal State San Marcos will only have live stats available, 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). Finally, check out the CCAA live scoreboard here to keep up on results around the league.
Wednesday marked the unveiling of the first official NCAA regional polls, with UCSD second behind undefeated California Baptist, and ahead of Simon Fraser, Cal State Dominguez Hills, Cal Poly Pomona, Cal State LA, Chico State and Notre Dame de Namur. The top six teams in the final edition of those rankings, qualify for the NCAA Championship. The second release is set for next Wednesday, Oct. 25. The 38-team NCAA field will be unveiled on Monday, Nov. 6, at 3:30 p.m. PT, live on NCAA.com. For the very first time, there are automatic qualifiers for the men's tournament, including all three West Region conferences in the CCAA, Great Northwest Athletic Conference and Pacific West Conference. The CCAA's automatic qualifier will be the tournament champion. The other two leagues do not have tourneys.
UC San Diego opened 2017 exactly where it ended 2016 in terms of national ranking, appearing in the No. 4 spot in the rebranded United Soccer Coaches (formerly National Soccer Coaches Association of America) preseason poll. It matched the program's highest position of its NCAA Division II era, since 2000, incidentally from the final 2016 poll. After drawing at Biola in their opener, the Tritons fell out of the national rankings. On Oct. 17, UCSD jumped back into the national poll, at No. 19, as the only CCAA representative, and moved up from fifth to third in the United Soccer Coaches West Region listing.
A LOOK BACK AT LAST WEEK
UCSD earned three enormous points on its longest road trip of the season, up to Arcata for a 3-2 triumph at Humboldt State last Friday, Oct. 13. Danny Glascock headed in a Brett Jones corner kick in the 43rd minute around a brace by junior winger Kiefer Cooksey, his first two goals as a Triton. Glascock's tally was his first since the 2015 opener. Up 3-0, the Tritons had to hang on late. Freshman goalkeeper Pedro Enciso made a season-high six saves.
100 WINS FOR PASCALE
The 1-0 home victory over city rival Cal State San Marcos on Wednesday night, Oct. 4, meant career win No. 100 for 10th-year head coach Jon Pascale. The three-time and reigning CCAA Coach of the Year heads into Friday with records of 101-50-37 overall and 71-40-26 in CCAA play.
UC San Diego had its 18-match home unbeaten streak that stretched out over nearly two full calendar years, ended by Chico State, 2-0, on Friday, Sept. 15. The Tritons are still 5-1-2 at home this season, after finishing an unbeaten 12-0-1 there in 2016 and 5-1-2 inside the friendly confines in 2015. They are 63-21-17 (.708) in La Jolla under Jon Pascale. UCSD is 19-1-4 (.875) in its last 24 at Triton Soccer Stadium, since a 2-1 loss to Stanislaus State on Sept. 27, 2015.
Senior defender Nolan Mac did not find the back of the net over 35 career appearances his first three seasons in a UCSD uniform. In his final collegiate campaign, and still from his position at left back, he shares the team lead with fellow senior Uly de la Cal and true freshman Jonathan Sabouri at three goals apiece, over 12 games, with all three of them coming in the 80th minute or later. The latest was the equalizer at 79:38 at No. 19 Cal State Dominguez Hills on Friday, Sept. 22. The Tritons went on to win it, 2-1.
Six of UCSD's 13 games thus far in 2017 have gone into overtime, with a dramatic road win at APU and a quartet of double-overtime draws around a thrilling home win over Cal Poly Pomona on Sept. 29. UCSD is an unbeaten 7-0-18 in overtime contests since its last such loss in 2014.
UCSD has given up 10 goals in 2017 after 248:31 of shutout soccer to begin the season. The Tritons are thus second in the CCAA, fifth in the West Region and 16th nationally with a 0.714 team goals-against average. They allowed just 13 goals over 24 matches a year ago for a 0.52 GAA, which ranked fourth in all of the NCAA Division II. Eight came from the run of play, with four penalties and one free kick. UCSD was second in save percentage (.857) and fifth in shutout percentage (0.58), with a Division II-era program-record 14 clean sheets. The team's longest shutout stretch last year was 513:54 through four-plus shutouts, with two more of 356:51 and 353:12. The Tritons boasted one of the top seven defenses nationally in Division II in terms of team GAA for three straight seasons between 2012-14, but fell back to the 48th spot in 2015 (1.09). They led the country in that category in 2012 with a then-CCAA-record mark of 0.44, before finishing fourth in 2013 (0.52) and seventh in 2014 (0.65).
UCSD is the favorite to repeat as the CCAA champion, as voted on by league head coaches in the 2017 preseason poll, having accumulated 130 points and eight of the 13 first-place votes after being picked fifth a year ago and loudly defying that prognostication ... UCSD is 12-3-3 in season openers in the Division II era (since 2000), including the scoreless draw at Biola on Aug. 31, and is thus an unbeaten 3-0-2 in the last five years ... UCSD is 9-7-2 in CCAA openers with back-to-back shutout losses at home to Chico State (2-0) this year and at Cal State San Marcos (1-0) last season ... UCSD had a CCAA-best 39 goals over 24 games in 2016 after managing 15 in 18 matches in 2015, marking a program record for the Division II era ... The Tritons struck for four goals in a span of 16:30 of the first half and ultimately cruised to a 4-0 defeat of visiting Stanislaus State on Sept 17 ... For the fifth straight year and sixth in the last seven, UCSD recently earned the United Soccer Coaches Team Academic Award with a 3.29 combined GPA for 2016-17.
STAT OF THE YEAR
If there was one telling statistic from the 2016 campaign, it was that on seven occasions, the Tritons surrendered a game's first score before rallying for a 2-1 victory via late goals. It happened in each of their first two games at home to begin the year, and turned into an exhilarating trend. UCSD achieved that score line three times in La Jolla and four times away from home, those four all in succession before a final instance in the national quarterfinal at Triton Soccer Stadium on Nov. 20. So far in 2017, the Tritons have done it two more times, both against traditional rivals who were nationally-ranked at the time, at No. 19 Cal State Dominguez Hills on Sept. 22 with two goals over the final 10:22 of regulation, and then at home in overtime against No. 17 Cal Poly Pomona on Sept. 29. UCSD also fell behind 2-0 at home to Concordia on Sept. 9 before storming back for a 2-2 draw.
Among 27 players on the 2017 roster are 18 returners and nine newcomers, five of them true freshmen ... The eight seniors are Malek Bashti, Uly de la Cal, Danny Glascock, Zachary Lagotta, Nolan Mac, Steven Ortiz, Kyle Panganiban and Eric Young ... There are six local products in Lagotta (San Diego/Cathedral Catholic HS), junior forward Nathaniel Bloom (Encinitas/San Dieguito HS Academy), and freshmen Jonathan Sabouri (Carlsbad/San Dieguito HS Academy), Jordan Karam (San Diego/Torrey Pines HS), Oliver Nelson (Escondido/Escondido HS) and Pedro Enciso (Vista/Rancho Buena Vista HS) ... True freshman Darragh Buckley is the younger brother of former Triton Padraig Buckley (2010-13).
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. 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 host, in 2001, 2006 and 2008, the Triton men have been unable to qualify. Significantly for the first time this year, the men's champion will earn an automatic berth into the NCAA Championship.
CCAA FORMAT UNCHANGED
For the fourth year in a row, the CCAA slate consists 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.
2017 SEASON OUTLOOK
Jon Pascale, the three-time and reigning CCAA Coach of the Year in his 10th year in charge, has had to replace eight valuable seniors, but still has a bevy of veterans to rely on in 2017. Included in that group are Malek Bashti, Christian Cordell, Uly de la Cal, Danny Glascock, Zachary Lagotta (San Diego/Cathedral Catholic HS), Nolan Mac, Matt Merrill, Steven Ortiz, Kyle Panganiban, Jeff Powers and Eric Young, all seniors academically or athletically. Bashti and Mac picked up All-CCAA honorable mentions a season ago, and Lagotta in 2015, with de la Cal the top returning point-getter with 16 from four goals and a team-best eight assists in 2016. Bashti, Lagotta, Mac, Merrill and Powers were regular starters, at forward, right wing, left back, holding central midfield and right back, respectively. Fifth-year Triton Bashti had three goals and seven assists. Cordell is the leading returning goal-scorer, with five off the bench as a sophomore.
UC San Diego is coming off of the most successful season of its Division II era, as the treble winner of the CCAA regular-season, CCAA tournament and West Region championships, all for the first time. UCSD shocked Cal Poly Pomona on the road, 2-1, on the final day to steal the CCAA regular-season title, and later also turned the 2015 West Region champions and national runners-up away in the West final in La Jolla, 1-0 in overtime. The Tritons advanced to the national semifinals in Kansas City, Mo., fell to the eventual champions and finished 19-3-2 overall and 9-2-1 in league play. They have now made four successive postseason appearances in the form of the CCAA Tournament, with NCAA Championship berths in 2013, 2014 and 2016. UCSD went an unbeaten 12-0-1 at home in 2016.
HEAD COACH JON PASCALE
Jon Pascale, now a three-time CCAA Coach of the Year through back-to-back honors in 2012 and 2013 and another last season, has posted a 101-50-37 (.636) overall record in his 10th year in charge of the UC San Diego men's soccer program. He is 71-40-26 (.613) in arguably the toughest NCAA Division II conference in the nation, the CCAA. Last season, Pascale guided the Tritons to the very first CCAA regular-season, CCAA Tournament and Division II West Region titles in the program's 17 years as a league and Division II member. It was UCSD's seventh straight campaign with an overall record of .500 or better, with seven winning seasons out of Pascale's nine. The Tritons have earned four successive berths in the CCAA Tournament, with trips to the NCAA Championship in 2013, 2014 and 2016. A 1-0 home victory over Sonoma State on Sept. 29, 2013, gave Pascale career win No. 50, while a 2-0 triumph at Stanislaus State in the very next match on Oct. 4 marked his 100th contest at the Triton helm. He directed his first postseason tilt on Nov. 8, 2013, in Turlock, a come-from-behind, 2-1 overtime win over Chico State in a CCAA semifinal. He made his NCAA tourney debut as a head coach on Nov. 16, 2013, in La Jolla. A 2-0 home decision over Cal State East Bay on Oct. 12, 2014, meant CCAA win No. 50 for Pascale, who coached his 100th CCAA tilt at Cal State Monterey Bay five days later. The 2-0 decision versus Western Washington on Nov. 13, 2016, meant Pascale's first NCAA tournament win as a head coach.
ABOUT THE COUGARS
Cal State San Marcos (2-9-2, 0-8-1 CCAA) is in its third year as a CCAA member, eligible for the postseason for the first time, though the Cougars have struggled in 2017, currently in last place. They were picked to finish 10th in the CCAA preseason poll, and are 1-4-2 at home this year. CSUSM has dropped eight straight and is 0-8-1 over its last nine, with only two goals in those contests. The Cougars struck first within the first 10 minutes in each of their last two matches, at home against SF State on Oct. 8 and at Humboldt State on Oct. 15, but suffered 2-1 defeats on both days. Ron Pulvers is in his 12th season in charge.
UCSD leads the all-time series, 5-2, and won 1-0 in this year's CCAA meeting at home on Oct. 4 thanks to a long-distance strike by freshman Jonathan Sabouri in the 61st minute. The Tritons did though drop a tough 1-0 decision in their last visit to San Marcos, for both teams' 2016 CCAA opener, through a rebound finish at 59:52 by Andrew Stalboerger. UCSD posted shutout home victories in each of the previous two seasons. The Tritons won 4-0 in 2014 via two goals in each half, and then 1-0 in the first CCAA meeting in 2015 on a 76th-minute Eric Young header. The sides previously faced off in 2009, UCSD registering a 1-0 home win in the season opener. The series was witness to a thriller in La Jolla on Sept. 5, 2008. The Cougars began the scoring with a penalty kick at 84:31. UCSD equalized at 86:19, and stole it with a winner 36 seconds from the end of regulation. CSUSM took a 3-2 decision, again in La Jolla, on Sept. 21, 2007.
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The Tritons will wrap up the regular season up in the Bay Area next week, looking to secure a fifth straight CCAA Tournament berth and as high a seed as possible. UCSD is at Cal State East Bay on Thursday, Oct. 26, and then at Cal State Monterey Bay on Saturday, Oct. 28.