Triton Trio Earns United Soccer Coaches Scholar All-West Region Recognition
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - University of California San Diego men's soccer seniors Malek Bashti, Nolan Mac and Steven Ortiz on Thursday were named to the 2017 United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division II Men's Scholar All-West Region Team.
UC San Diego took up three of the 11 spots on the team, more than any other program. This comes after a record five Tritons under head coach Jon Pascale were selected among 14 a year ago, when the organization was known as the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). Those five were Bashti, NSCAA Scholar Player of the Year Cameron McElfresh, fellow Scholar All-American Kuba Waligorski, Riley Harbour and Sam Palano.
Bashti, a fifth-year senior out of Cupertino (Monta Vista HS) in Northern California, is one of four forwards on the squad. He boasts a 3.81 GPA in microbiology, with a minor in management science, and will graduate later this month. Bashti produced seven total points from three assists and two goals, one a game-winner, over his 15 appearances, 14 of them starts.
Mac (Laguna Hills/Laguna Hills HS), another fifth-year senior, is one of three defenders to make the list. He completed his undergraduate degree in physiology and neuroscience in June with a 3.40 GPA, and is now a first-year graduate student within the UC San Diego Division of Biological Sciences. Mac started the last 16 matches, all at left back, after missing the 2017 season opener due to injury. He was a key part of a Triton defense that ranked first in the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA), second in the West Region and 17th nationally in Division II with a 0.76 team goals-against average. Additionally on the offensive end, he produced the first three goals and first assist of his college career.
Ortiz (South Gate/South HS) is a third fifth-year collegian who was in his second go-around at UC San Diego this past season after transferring from Cal State Fullerton. One of three midfielders chosen, he has compiled a 3.47 GPA in psychology, with a specialization in clinical psychology. Ortiz will earn his degree in June. He appeared in all 17 matches this fall, starting 15 in the playmaking role in central midfield, with nine points, third-best on the team, from three goals and three assists. One of those goals was a decider, and Ortiz paced the Tritons with 35 shots credited.
UC San Diego finished 10-2-5 overall and 7-1-3 in CCAA play, placing third in the league table. The Tritons qualified for a fifth successive postseason, and produced an 11-match unbeaten streak at 8-0-3, the longest of their Division II era since 2000.
Bashti and Mac both previously garnered College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-District 8 selections. Bashti was a repeat honoree there as well. Mac athletically made the United Soccer Coaches All-West Region and All-CCAA second teams. Bashti and Ortiz picked up All-CCAA honorable mentions.
Student-athletes receiving scholar honors from the United Soccer Coaches meet the criteria of a 3.30 cumulative GPA, starting in more than 50 percent of all games and significantly contributing to their team, being nominated by the head coach of a current United Soccer Coaches College Services member institution, and being a junior or above in academic standing. Transfer students must be in their second year at the school.