KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Summer Bales and Brie Diaz of the University of California San Diego were announced early Friday as members of the 2017 United Soccer Coaches Scholar All-West Region Second Team for the NCAA Division II.
Both UC San Diego upperclassmen are Temecula natives and Great Oak High School products. Bales is a junior wing midfielder, while Diaz was a senior this past season and also a third-year Triton after transferring from UC Riverside.
The two Tritons are among 11 players on the second team. They are both first-time scholar honorees by the United Soccer Coaches, formerly known as the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). This is the second straight year that UC San Diego has had two student-athletes recognized, following senior midfielders Jamie Benedetto and Kiera Bocchino in 2016.
Bales maintains a 3.74 grade-point average while majoring in international studies-political science with a literatures of the world minor. She was one of four Tritons to start all 22 matches in 2017, all on the left side of midfield, and led the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) with a career-best seven assists, the last of which came on the game-winner in the second round of the NCAA Championship on Nov. 12. Four of the seven set up decisive goals.
Diaz boasts a 3.69 GPA in biochemistry and cell biology, and will graduate in March. She started each of UC San Diego's first 17 matches at center back and played every minute before having to leave the regular-season finale at Cal State Monterey Bay on Oct. 28 in the 67th minute due to injury. She anchored the defense for the entirety or most of 11 shutouts, with the Tritons finishing second in the CCAA, third in the West Region and 21st nationally with a 0.61 team goals-against average.
Bales and Diaz helped guide UC San Diego to marks of 17-2-3 overall and an unbeaten 10-0-1 in CCAA play, completing a second straight league double by winning the regular-season and tournament crowns, before notching a first West Region title since 2012. The Tritons had their season ended on Nov. 19 by then-23rd-ranked University of Colorado Colorado Springs, drawing 1-1 through regulation and two overtime periods before being eliminated via penalty-kick tiebreaker, 4-3, in a national quarterfinal in La Jolla. UCSD earned a No. 5 national ranking in the final United Soccer Coaches poll, released on Tuesday.
Diaz was earlier distinguished as a second-team College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-District 8 selection. Athletically, both she and Bales picked up All-CCAA Second Team nods. Bales also made the CCAA All-Tournament Team, with Diaz missing that event.
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.