TRITONS CONCLUDE LENGTHY HOMESTAND WITH CCAA FOES
The 13th-ranked University of California San Diego men's soccer team finally concludes its 10-match season-opening homestand, the longest in known program history, against a pair of California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) foes this weekend. The Tritons, still undefeated at 7-0-1 overall (1-0-1 CCAA), will be in front of the UC San Diego student body for the first time, with the fall quarter starting on Thursday. They host Sonoma State (2-4-2, 0-3-1 CCAA) in primetime on Friday, Sept. 28, at 7 p.m., and then Humboldt State on Sunday, Sept. 30, at 2 p.m. Both matches will cap doubleheaders with the No. 1-ranked, also-unbeaten UC San Diego women, who are an identical 7-0-1 overall. Admission is free for all regular-season contests at Triton Soccer Stadium on North Campus in La Jolla.
In the CCAA's preseason poll, UC San Diego was picked third, Sonoma State eighth and Humboldt State tied for 10th among 13 squads. The Tritons are the only unbeaten team left in the conference for overall games. UC San Diego is the only school in Division II with both soccer teams in the top 15 of the latest United Soccer Coaches national poll.
TRITON SOCCER MATCHDAY
Once again in 2018, 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, which are behind the spectator stand, and the Hopkins Parking Structure adjacent to RIMAC. Parking is free on Saturday and Sunday. By University policy, pets are not allowed at Triton Soccer Stadium, with the exception of service animals.
Welcome back, students!!! The Tuesday, Sept. 25, women's volleyball match was the first athletic event of the year with all students back on campus, the first-ever athletic event inside of a renovated RIMAC Arena, and the first outing in the Triton Trifecta, which is open to all UC San Diego students. Get to all three of the following events and you'll win a gameday t-shirt at Friday's men's match, and be entered in a drawing for a new big screen television!
1. Attend the volleyball match on Tuesday, Sept. 25, at RIMAC Arena
2. Attend the men's water polo game on Wednesday, Sept. 26 (6 p.m.), at Canyonview Aquatic Center
3. Attend the men's soccer game on Friday, Sept. 28 (7 p.m.), at Triton Soccer Stadium
UC San Diego students in attendance for Friday night's primetime matchup with Sonoma State at 7 p.m., receive a free pair of sunglasses!
TRITON SOCCER ON UCSDTRITONS.TV
All UC San Diego home games in 2018 feature a live pay-per-view video stream on UCSDtritons.tv. The cost is $5.99 for a 24-hour window, meaning one fee for doubleheaders, and $34.99 for the entire 2018-19 academic year, to include other Triton athletics teams. Broadcasts are in high definition and can be viewed from smartphones and tablets alongside desktop and laptop computers. Seth Smith (@ItsSethESmith) handles the play-by-play duties. Events are archived. All games have live stats. 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 UC San Diego Athletics Twitter handle (@UCSDtritons). You can also check out in-match Instagram stories on the UC San Diego Athletics account (@ucsdtritons). Finally, check out the CCAA live scoreboard here to keep up on results around the league.
UC SAN DIEGO IN THE UNITED SOCCER COACHES POLL
• Sept. 25: 13 (3rd in West)
• Sept. 18: 23 (4th in West)
• Sept. 11: 14 (2nd in West)
• Sept. 4: RV (4th in West)
• Preseason: NR
A LOOK BACK AT LAST WEEK
UC San Diego won a pair of overtime decisions at home to round out the non-conference slate last week. In a San Diego derby between nationally-ranked rivals under Friday night lights, the then-23rd-ranked Tritons got past then-19th-ranked Cal State San Marcos, 3-2. Brett Jones' second collegiate two-goal brace, both now against CSUSM, got the home side out to a 2-0 lead in the 51st minute, but the visitors grabbed two shock goals within a span of just 56 seconds heading into the final 10 minutes of regulation, to extend the match into overtime. Just 1:14 into the first extra session, junior Jonathan Stoop ended it, nodding home Jón Veigar Kristjánsson's right-sided corner kick. On Sunday evening, it was redshirt junior winger Andy Sartor's turn to play the hero, as he rescued UC San Diego with a left-footed blast from just inside 25 yards (click here), with 5:27 remaining in the second overtime session, to dispatch a game Occidental side from Division III ranks. Pedro Enciso earned credit for his fourth individual shutout of 2018, with a single save.
At 7-0-1, this is UC San Diego's best eight-game start under 11th-year head coach Jon Pascale, and in fact its best in three decades, since the 1988 squad also came out 7-0-1. That team went on to the program's first of three national championships. Those Tritons got to 10-0-1 prior to another draw, and wound up posting a program-best mark of 23-0-2. UC San Diego was last unbeaten through eight games, in 2004, when it started out 5-0-3.
UC San Diego is 70-22-18 (.718) at Triton Soccer Stadium under Jon Pascale, and 26-2-5 (.864) over its last 33 in La Jolla since a 2-1 loss to Stanislaus State on Sept. 27, 2015. The Tritons had an 18-match home unbeaten streak that stretched out over nearly two full calendar years, ended by Chico State, 2-0, on Sept. 15, 2017. They wound up 5-2-2 at home a year ago, after finishing an unbeaten 12-0-1 there in 2016 and 5-1-2 inside the friendly confines in 2015.
UC San Diego has developed a reputation under head coach Jon Pascale of being a strong defensive unit, and has ranked in the top 17 nationally in the NCAA Division II in team goals-against average in five out of the last six seasons. The Tritons are currently 19th (0.588), having been as high as 13th. They are third in the West Region and second in the CCAA. UC San Diego was 17th (0.76) a year ago, allowing 14 goals in all after 248:31 of shutout soccer for openers. It led the CCAA and was second in the West Region. The team surrendered 13 goals over 24 matches in 2016 for a 0.52 GAA, which ranked fourth in the country. Only eight came from the run of play, with four penalties and one free kick. The Tritons posted a Division II-era program-record 14 clean sheets. The team's longest shutout stretch that year was 513:54 through four-plus games, with two more of 356:51 and 353:12. UC San Diego boasted one of the top seven defenses in Division II for three straight seasons between 2012-14, but fell back to the 48th spot in 2015 (1.09). It led the country in team GAA in 2012 with a then-CCAA-record mark of 0.44, before finishing fourth in 2013 (0.52) and seventh in 2014 (0.65).
Fifth-year senior Matt Merrill's first collegiate goal was a sight to behold, serving as the dramatic, 80th-minute winner in a come-from-behind, 2-1 home decision over Cal State Monterey Bay in the CCAA opener on Sept. 14. The Mission Viejo product one-timed sophomore forward Brett Jones' left-sided corner kick into the upper right corner, off the crossbar and in, with his right foot from outside of 25 yards. Click here to view the stunner.
UC San Diego is 11-0-20 in overtime contests since its last such loss in 2014. Eight of its 17 games in 2017 went into overtime, with dramatic road wins at Azusa Pacific and Cal State San Marcos, and five double-overtime draws, around a thrilling home decision over CCAA rival Cal Poly Pomona on Sept. 29. The Tritons were an unbeaten 3-0-5 in such games last year, and have already played four overtime contests in 2018, including the last three straight, going 3-0-1. Those outcomes were a 1-0 victory over Concordia Irvine (9/6), a scoreless draw with Cal State East Bay (9/16), a 3-2 defeat of city rival Cal State San Marcos (9/21), and a 1-0 double-overtime decision against Occidental (9/23). The decider against Concordia came off the right foot of fifth-year senior Christian Cordell with a single tick left in the first session, officially at 99:59. Watch the incredible sequence that began with seven seconds remaining on the clock, here. Also view Jonathan Stoop's overtime winner of CSUSM here, and Andy Sartor's decider against Oxy here.
UC San Diego is 13-3-3 in season openers in the Division II era (since 2000), following a 1-0 shutout over Biola on Aug. 30. The Tritons had played to a scoreless draw at Biola a year ago. They are an unbeaten 4-0-2 over their last six lid-lifters. UC San Diego is 10-7-2 in CCAA openers, having snapped a two-match losing skid (1-0 at Cal State San Marcos in 2016 and 2-0 at home to Chico State in 2017), with a 2-1 triumph over Cal State Monterey Bay on Friday, Sept. 14.
FAVORED FOR THIRD IN PRESEASON POLL
UC San Diego was picked to finish third in the 2018 CCAA race, as voted on by the league's 13 head coaches for the preseason poll. The Tritons collected 125 points and one of the 13 first-place votes. Defending West Region champion and 2017 national semifinalist Cal Poly Pomona is the favorite with 129 points and four first-place votes. Cal State LA, the 2017 CCAA Tournament champion in La Jolla, was second, just three points behind with 126, and in fact one more first-place nod than CPP, at five. Chico State took up the fourth spot (106). San Francisco State was fifth (101) with a first-place vote. Cal State San Bernardino (83) rounded out the projected CCAA tourney field. In seventh, Cal State Dominguez Hills (78) still managed the final two first-place votes. Sonoma State (68), Stanislaus State (55), Cal State Monterey Bay (46), Humboldt State (46), Cal State San Marcos (32) and Cal State East Bay (19) filled out the poll.
Three Triton newcomers have tallied the first goal of their collegiate careers, in sophomore playmaker Jón Veigar Kristjánsson, second-year freshman winger Max Gonda and true freshman forward Nick Cirrito. Kristjánsson tallied the opener against Saint Martin's (9/10), Gonda the lone winner in his college debut in the opener with Biola (8/30), and Cirrito the opener against Azusa Pacific (9/1). Cirrito, out of Diamond Bar, has since added his first career winner versus SMU. Kristjánsson and junior left back Stjepan Kilic, both Division I transfers, made their UC San Diego debuts as starters in the opener, with junior college transfer Matt Davis coming off the bench. Cirrito, Gonda, true freshman center back Noah Sonenstein and redshirt freshman defenders Darragh Buckley and Oliver Nelson have all made their first college appearances.
Among 30 players on the 2018 roster are 18 returners and 12 newcomers, eight of them true freshmen ... All but two, new transfers Stjepan Kilic (Coppell, Texas) and Jón Veigar Kristjánsson (Kópavogur, Iceland), are California natives ... The five seniors are Nathaniel Bloom, Kiefer Cooksey, Christian Cordell, Matt Merrill and Jeff Powers, with Andy Sartor a redshirt junior in his fourth year ... Cordell (international business), Merrill (international business) and Powers (communication) are fifth-year seniors who will have completed their UC San Diego degrees at the conclusion of the fall quarter ... There are five local products in Bloom (Encinitas/San Dieguito HS Academy), and second-year Tritons 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) ... Redshirt freshman Darragh Buckley is the younger brother of former Triton Padraig Buckley (2010-13).
CCAA TOURNAMENT REMAINS IN LA JOLLA
UC San Diego is the proud host of the 2018 CCAA Tournament semifinals and finals for the second consecutive year and fifth time in all. Two men's and two women's semifinals will be contested at Triton Soccer Stadium on Friday, Nov. 2, with the two finals set for Sunday, Nov. 4. Exact times are to be determined. First-round matchups take place on the campuses of the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds on Tuesday, Oct. 30. In all four previous instances that UC San Diego has served as host, in 2001, 2006, 2008 and 2017, the Triton men have not been present in the semifinal round. For just the second time, the CCAA men's champion will earn an automatic berth into the NCAA Championship.
CCAA FORMAT UNCHANGED
For the fifth 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 2018 CCAA Tournament.
2018 SEASON OUTLOOK
Jon Pascale, the three-time CCAA Coach of the Year, is in his 11th season at the helm. Fifth-year seniors Christian Cordell, Matt Merrill and Jeff Powers return, and are the projected starters on the right side of midfield, holding central midfield, and right back, respectively. Next to Powers across the back line are likely to be redshirt freshman Oliver Nelson or true freshman Noah Sonenstein at one center back spot, junior Kelvin Uribe at the other, and junior newcomer Stjepan Kilic, a transfer from Fairleigh Dickinson, as the left back. Another Division I transfer, Icelandic sophomore Jón Veigar Kristjánsson from USC Upstate, is the expected partner to Merrill in central midfield. Redshirt junior Andy Sartor, who sat out last season through injury, could play opposite Cordell. Much will be expected in their sophomore go-arounds from the speedy strike tandem of Brett Jones and Jonathan Sabouri (Carlsbad/San Dieguito HS Academy). Sophomore Pedro Enciso (Vista/Rancho Buena Vista HS) is the incumbent between the posts. Veterans in the mix include seniors Nathaniel Bloom (Encinitas/San Dieguito HS Academy) and Kiefer Cooksey, and junior Jonathan Stoop. Powers, Sabouri and Uribe all picked up All-CCAA honorable mentions last fall.
UC San Diego looks to bounce back from a peculiar 2017 season that saw several tough, dramatic victories and two solitary losses (10-2-5, 7-1-3 CCAA), only for it to be cut abruptly short ahead of the CCAA Tournament semifinals the Tritons were themselves hosting. The Tritons had wound up third in the final league table. However, Cal State Dominguez Hills was forced to vacate its regular-season title due to uncovered infractions, with UC San Diego moving up to second through adjustments made following the application of nullification penalties by the CCAA. All that was coming off the most successful season of the program's Division II era in 2016, as the treble winner of the CCAA regular-season, CCAA Tournament and West Region championships, each for the first time. The Tritons have made five successive postseason appearances in the form of the CCAA Tournament, with NCAA Championship berths in 2013, 2014 and 2016. UC San Diego went an unbeaten 5-0-3 away from home in 2017.
HEAD COACH JON PASCALE
Jon Pascale, a three-time CCAA Coach of the Year (2012, 2013, 2016), has posted a 110-51-39 (.648) overall record to date in his 11th year in charge of the UC San Diego men's soccer program. He is 73-40-28 (.617) in arguably the toughest NCAA Division II conference in the nation, the CCAA. The Tritons have earned five successive berths in the CCAA Tournament, with trips to the NCAA Championship in 2013, 2014 and 2016. They have posted eight straight campaigns with an overall record of .500 or better, and eight winning seasons out of Pascale's 10. In 2016, he guided the Tritons to their very first CCAA regular-season, CCAA Tournament and Division II West Region titles, having joined in 2000. 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. The 1-0 home victory over Cal State San Marcos last Oct. 4 was career win No. 100. The 1-0 overtime win at home over Occidental on Sept. 25 marked Pascale's 200th game at the helm.
ABOUT THE SEAWOLVES
Sonoma State (2-4-2, 0-3-1 CCAA) is embarking on the second of back-to-back Southern California road weekends, having been swept at Cal State Dominguez Hills (3-2) and now-eighth-ranked league leader Cal State LA (1-0) last week. The Seawolves are winless over their last five, with three straight losses following a pair of ties. Sonoma State is 1-2-1 away from home. Marcus Ziemer is in his 28th season at the helm of his alma mater.
Sonoma State leads the all-time series, 12-5-3. The teams have not met since a thriller of a 2016 CCAA Tournament final in Turlock, when UC San Diego rallied for a 2-1 overtime triumph and first tourney banner. Jonathan Stoop's first collegiate goal was the 66th-minute equalizer. Last year's scheduled meeting in Rohnert Park, was canceled due to unhealthy air quality levels from extreme wildfires in Sonoma County. The 2016 regular-season meeting ended in a scoreless draw in La Jolla. The Tritons had taken three straight, including a 1-0 home decision in 2013, before a 1-1 deadlock in 2014 and a 3-0 loss in 2015, both in Rohnert Park. They won 2-0 at Sonoma State in 2012, marking just their second-ever victory there. UC San Diego was also the 2-1 victor in double overtime in La Jolla in 2011.
ABOUT THE LUMBERJACKS
Humboldt State (3-3-2, 0-2-2 CCAA), like Sonoma State, was swept at Cal State LA (5-1) and Cal State Dominguez Hills (1-0) last weekend, and is still searching for a first CCAA victory this week. The Lumberjacks are 0-2-2 over their last four, with just three goals scored. They are 0-2-1 away from home, and play at No. 23 Cal State San Marcos on Friday afternoon, prior to Sunday's match in La Jolla. Fred Jungemann is in his sixth season in charge of the Jacks after spending the previous six years at Barry University in Florida.
UC San Diego has never lost to Humboldt State, leading the all-time series, 6-0-6, including a 3-2 road triumph a year ago in what should be its final trip to Arcata heading toward the Division I move in 2020. The Tritons got out to a 3-0 lead in that one thanks in large part to a Kiefer Cooksey brace, before hanging on late. It was a 1-0 home win in 2016 on an overtime tally at 97:12 by Riley Harbour. That result followed dramatic 2-2 draws in Arcata in back-to-back years. In 2014, Kuba Waligorski and Uly de la Cal each notched equalizers over the final nine minutes of regulation, de la Cal's first collegiate goal coming with just 37 ticks left on the clock. Both scores were assisted by Harbour and Brandon Bauman. The Tritons won 2-0 in La Jolla in 2013. The teams did not meet in 2012. Previously, the Tritons edged the Jacks at home in 2011, 3-2, overturning a 2-1 halftime deficit. The prior matchup in Arcata ended in a 1-1 tie in 2010. UC San Diego is 4-0-1 against HSU in La Jolla and 1-0-3 in Arcata under Jon Pascale.
This 2018 season marks the UC San Diego men's soccer program's 30th anniversary of its very first NCAA Division III national championship in 1988, and 25th anniversary of its third and final crown in 1993. The 1988 team will be recognized during UC San Diego Homecoming weekend, Oct. 19-21. All-time leading goal-scorer Greg Schwarz (1983-87) will be inducted into the UC San Diego Athletics Hall of Fame that weekend as well, becoming the fourth member of the men's soccer program to be so honored, after Chris Romey (Class of 2014), Brian Siljander (2015) and legendary former head coach Derek Armstrong (2017).
On Nov. 27, 2017, UC San Diego was officially invited to become a member of the NCAA Division I Big West Conference. The Tritons will begin a four-year reclassification period starting in the fall of 2020. They will play a full Big West schedule that season and will be eligible for the NCAA Championship in men's volleyball, men's and women's water polo, and fencing. For the 2024-25 academic year, all sports will be eligible to compete in Big West and NCAA Division I championships. Read the full press release here.
For the latest in Triton athletic gear, make sure to visit ucsdtritonsgear.com. Run by UC San Diego Athletics' online partner Advanced-Online, the site provides an on-demand option for Triton athletic apparel and merchandise. Fans have access to over 600 products that can be processed and shipped within 24 hours.
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 UC San Diego home athletic events, and much more!
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UC San Diego faces its initial road tests of 2018 next week, first staying in San Diego County and making the short trip to No. 23 Cal State San Marcos on Wednesday, Oct. 3, for a 3 p.m. derby. The Tritons then fly to the Bay Area to take on San Francisco State on Sunday, Oct. 7, at 2 p.m.
About UC San Diego Athletics
With 30 national team championships, nearly 150 individual titles and the top student-athlete graduation rate among Division II institutions in the United States, the UC San Diego intercollegiate athletics program annually ranks as one of the most successful in the country. The Tritons sponsor 23 intercollegiate sport programs that compete on the NCAA Division I and II levels and, in summer 2020, will transition into full Division I status as a member of the Big West Conference. UC San Diego student-athletes exemplify the academic ideals of one of the world's preeminent institutions, graduating at an average rate of 91 percent. A total of 80 Tritons have earned Academic All-America honors, while 36 have earned prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships. In competition, more than 1,300 UC San Diego student-athletes have earned All-America honors.
Follow the Tritons
For complete coverage and information regarding UC San Diego Athletics, follow the Tritons online at UCSDtritons.com and through social media on Twitter (@UCSDtritons), Instagram (@ucsdtritons) and Facebook (UCSDtritons). For more information on UC San Diego Men's Soccer, follow on Instagram (@ucsdmenssoccer) and Facebook (UCSanDiegoMensSoccer).