Eyes On It: No. 10 UC San Diego Looking to Inch Closer to Top of Table on the Road Against Coyotes and Broncos
TRITONS ON THE ROAD AGAIN, EYEING TOP OF STANDINGS
The No. 10 University of California San Diego women's soccer program concludes a season-long four-game road stretch with two more California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) contests this week. The third-place Tritons (10-1-1, 5-1 CCAA) are at seventh-place Cal State San Bernardino (4-7, 3-3 CCAA) on Friday, Oct. 12, with kickoff at Premier Field slated for 3 p.m. They are then at last-place Cal Poly Pomona (4-7-1, 0-5-1 CCAA) on Sunday, Oct. 14, at 2 p.m. Both matches will cap doubleheaders with the No. 16 UC San Diego men.
In the CCAA's preseason poll, UC San Diego was the favorite for a third straight year, with CSUSB ninth and CPP fourth.
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.
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. This week, only Sunday's tilt at CPP will have a video stream, with commentary, for free. 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 during home dates 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
• Oct. 9: 10 (2nd in West)
• Oct. 2: 1 (1st in West)
• Sept. 25: 1 (1st in West)
• Sept. 18: 2 (1st in West)
• Sept. 11: 2 (1st in West)
• Sept. 4: 2 (1st in West)
• Preseason: 5
A LOOK BACK AT LAST WEEK
UC San Diego split its first CCAA road week, suffering its first loss in over a calendar year, and first league defeat in almost three years, at city rival Cal State San Marcos on Wednesday afternoon, 1-0. The Tritons had gone 7-0-3 over their previous 10 road contests. They bounced back to edge host San Francisco State by that same score in a nationally-televised match on Sunday, thanks to a great individual effort by true freshman Marissa Ray for her first collegiate goal, in the 34th minute. Angelica Ramos was credited with a career-high seven saves, all in the first half, for her fourth individual clean sheet of 2018.
ATOP THE POLL
UC San Diego ascended to the top of the United Soccer Coaches Division II national poll on Sept. 25. It marked the Tritons' first No. 1 ranking since Sept. 2, 2002. They held onto that spot for the Oct. 2 listing, before a road split moved them down to No. 10 in Tuesday's latest edition. Triton great and current coach Kristin Jones was an All-American junior forward on that 2012 team, which began the year as the two-time defending Division II national champion. When UC San Diego lined up against Sonoma State on Sept. 28, it was the first time it had taken the field as the No. 1 team in the land, since Sept. 2, 2002, when the lone goal in a 1-0 season-opening home win over Tusculum (TN), came from Jones in the 71st minute. Reigning national champion Central Missouri had its 32-game win streak (perfect 26-0 for first crown last year) snapped at Missouri Western in St. Joseph, Mo., on Sept. 21, 1-0, moving then-undefeated UC San Diego up from No. 2.
UC San Diego's 27-game (23-0-4) unbeaten run, a new record for its Division II history (since 2000), was one of several lengthy streaks snapped by the Tritons' 1-0 loss at Cal State San Marcos on Oct. 3. The overall streak had matched the all-time program standard, with a previous 27-gamer (24-0-3) from Oct. 12, 1992, through Nov. 7, 1993. Both those years ended in Division III third-place finishes.
UC San Diego was 28-0-1 in its last 29 CCAA games and 37-0-2 over the previous 39 matches against CCAA opposition, prior to the Oct. 3 loss at Cal State San Marcos. Both those streaks began after another 1-0 CCAA road loss, at Sonoma State, on Oct. 18, 2015. The Tritons had won 23 straight league matches prior to a 1-1 draw at Cal State East Bay last Oct. 26, and 29 straight games against CCAA foes before a scoreless tie at Cal State San Marcos last Oct. 21. UC San Diego held a 93-15 scoring advantage and trailed in only three of those 39 matches. In 2016, the Tritons completed their league slate unbeaten and untied for the first time since joining the CCAA in 2000, at a perfect 12-0. It marked the first such effort by a CCAA squad since Sonoma State went 14-0 in 1998. UC San Diego 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. The Tritons followed that up with a 10-0-1 ledger in 2017 to become the first team in CCAA women's soccer history to post back-to-back unbeaten league slates. The 29-game run is a league record. UC San Diego is 29-1-1 over its last 31 conference matches.
UC San Diego is an undefeated 25-0-1 over its last 26 home matches, dating back to a 1-0 defeat to then-sixth-ranked Colorado School of Mines on Sept. 11, 2016. The Tritons wound up 13-0-1 in La Jolla in 2017. They were winners of 19 straight at home ahead of a 1-1 draw with UC-Colorado Springs in last year's national quarterfinals, eliminated via penalty-kick tiebreaker. Thirteen marked UC San Diego's most home wins since going 15-1 in La Jolla in 2001 en route to winning its second straight Division II national title, at Triton Soccer Stadium. The only other times the Tritons have completed a home season unbeaten in their Divison II era, were 2006 (11-0-1), 2002 (9-0-1) and 2000 (12-0). Around that 2016 meeting with Mines, UC San Diego is 33-0-2 in La Jolla since its last home loss to an unranked team, a 3-2 overtime defeat to Cal State San Bernardino on Sept. 20, 2015.
Fourth-year senior striker Mary Reilly was named Sept. 18 as the United Soccer Coaches Division II and CCAA Player of the Week, both for the second time in her career. That was after her five-goal outburst in a pair of wins to open league play at home. Reilly's four-goal effort (watch here) in the 6-1 romp over Cal State Monterey Bay on Sept. 14, matched her career high, and marked her top output at Triton Soccer Stadium, having previously hit for four as a freshman at Cal State Dominguez Hills on Oct. 2, 2015. The performance included a first-half hat trick in a span of just 19:27, and bumped Reilly up over former strike partner (2015-17) Katie O'Laughlin (37) as the program's all-time goals leader for its NCAA Division II era, since 2000. The Chula Vista product began the year tied for 11th on the all-time chart, and is now tied for fifth, with 41 career tallies. The milestone 40th was the opening winner in a 2-0 non-conference home defeat of Cal State San Marcos (9/22). Reilly leads the CCAA for a fourth straight year in shots (57), as well as in goals (eight), points (16) and game-winning goals (tied-three). She got up over 300 shots for her career in that CSUSM match, now at 324.
SADDIC A STAR
Redshirt junior Natalie Saddic may not get the statistical recognition from her holding central midfield position, but the first-year Triton co-captain is again the anchor of the nationally-ranked team. The 2017 unanimous All-American finally came off the field for the first time in 2018, for the final 7:51 of the first half at Cal State San Marcos on Oct. 3. She has otherwise played 1092 out of 1100 minutes, and guided the team to four shutouts through 12 matches. Offensively, Saddic helped set up both goals in a 2-0 home victory over city rival Cal State San Marcos (9/22), gaining credit for her first collegiate assist on the latter tally, and followed that up with her initial goal of 2018 to open the scoring in a 3-1 home win over Humboldt State (9/30).
Senior striker Megumi Barber was named the CCAA Player of the Week for the first time in her four-year career on Oct. 2. She provided assists on the Tritons' opening goals in back-to-back wins over No. 24 Sonoma State (9/28) and Humboldt State (9/30), before also scoring the late clincher in a 3-1 victory over the Jacks. Starting for the first time in her career, Barber has laid claim to some memorable, terrific goals for the Tritons. Of her nine career tallies, six in a row had been right-footed strikes from distance, prior to a left-footed chip from inside the penalty area against HSU. Click here for the midfield strike at Division I Hawai'i (9/7), and here for the free-kick banger against Cal State Monterey Bay (9/14).
Sophomores Michelle Baddour, Alexis Kirson and transfer Mia Bonifazi, along with true freshmen Ashlynn Kolarik, Christina Oddone and Marissa Ray, have notched their first collegiate goals this season. Kolarik, Oddone and Ray have been joined by Sophia Bruno, Emily Killeen, Hana Law and Lucy Tang as true freshmen to play their first collegiate games. Bonifazi made her first Triton appearance in the opener. Sydney Davey, a third-year Triton who had to sit out each of her first two seasons through separate injuries, earned her college debut in the CCAA opener against Cal State Monterey Bay.
The Tritons have used the exact same starting lineup for each of this season's first 12 contests ... UC San Diego surrendered just 15 goals during the recently-ended 27-game unbeaten run, with an own goal, penalty kick and free kick among them, and posted 14 shutouts ... The Tritons had come out on the right side of 17 straight one-goal decisions prior to the 1-0 loss at CSUSM on Oct. 3, finishing 12-1 in such games a year ago, and currently at 7-1 this season ... The Tritons had nine 1-0 victories during their 27-game undefeated run, and have won 10 1-0 decisions since the start of the 2017 campaign ... At the conclusion of a fourth-ever trip to Hawai'i, UC San Diego is an unbeaten 7-0-1 on O'ahu, outscoring opponents, 16-3 ... The Tritons' 2-1 victory at Hawai'i on Sept. 7 marked their first date with a Division I program in over two decades, since a 3-0 home win, also over UH on Oct. 19, 1997 ... Prior to the meeting with Hawai'i Hilo on Sept. 9, UC San Diego had last held an opponent without a single shot attempt in a 2-0 home decision over Cal State LA on Oct. 14, 2016 ... UC San Diego is 17-1-1 in season openers in its Division II era (since 2000), having suffered a lone defeat in 2014 at Seattle Pacific and outscored its opponents, 12-2, in four consecutive wins since ... The Tritons are 11-8 in CCAA openers, with three straight wins through comfortable decisions at Cal State San Marcos (4-0) in 2016, vs. Chico State (3-0) a year ago, and vs. CSUMB (6-1) on Sept. 14 ... Two-time defending CCAA regular-season champion UC San Diego is again the preseason favorite to retain its crown, with 136 points and seven first-place votes.
UC San Diego's 30-player 2018 roster has just three seniors in fourth-year team members Summer Bales, Megumi Barber and Mary Reilly, though Kelsey Kimball is a listed redshirt junior, also in her fourth year at the school ... Bales and Natalie Saddic are first-time team co-captains in 2018 ... Thirteen newcomers have joined the program, including 12 true freshmen ... Eight players are from San Diego, in Saddic (San Diego/Torrey Pines HS), Michelle Baddour (San Diego/University City HS), Megumi Barber (San Diego/Mt. Carmel HS), Sydney Davey (La Jolla/La Jolla HS), Caitlin McCarthy (Carlsbad/Carlsbad HS), Christina Oddone (Carlsbad/Carlsbad HS), Mary Reilly (Chula Vista/Hilltop HS) and Maddy Samilo (Rancho Bernardo/Rancho Bernardo HS) ... Sophomore forwards Mia Bonifazi (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) and Alexis Kirson (Las Vegas, Nev.) are the only two Tritons from outside of California ... 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 UC San Diego program, is in her 19th straight season as a Triton player or coach.
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 women's and two men'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 instances that UC San Diego has served as the host, the Triton women have won the event, in 2001, 2006, 2008 and 2017. The women's champion once again earn the CCAA's 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
UC San Diego is led offensively and defensively by Mary Reilly (Chula Vista/Hilltop HS) and Natalie Saddic (San Diego/Torrey Pines HS), respectively. Reilly began a fourth and final season up top with 33 career goals, and as the CCAA's shots leader by a wide margin in each of her first three years. Saddic is back at holding central midfielder after a rash of injuries forced her to center back for the 2017 postseason. The third-year transfer from UC Davis was a unanimous All-American, and the CCAA Defensive Player of the Year and CCAA Tournament Most Valuable Defensive Player last fall. Joining Reilly as fourth-year Tritons are winger Summer Bales, forward Megumi Barber (San Diego/Mt. Carmel HS), and Kelsey Kimball, who takes over at center back after sitting out the entire 2017 season through injury. Barber is Reilly's new strike partner. True sophomores Delaney Whittet and Natalie Widmer return around Kimball at left and right back, respectively. Redshirt junior goalkeeper Angelica Ramos, the 2017 CCAA Newcomer of the Year, also is back from injury, with sophomore Katie Wilkes having taken over for the three NCAA Championship matches last November after Ramos left the CCAA final with a season-ending injury. Caitlin McCarthy (Carlsbad/Carlsbad HS) remains in central midfield, with fellow true sophomores and locals Michelle Baddour (San Diego/University City HS) and Maddy Samilo (Rancho Bernardo/Rancho Bernardo HS) slotting into the starting spots in central midfield and on the right wing, respectively. Baddour has taken over the No. 10 shirt.
UC San Diego went 17-2-3 overall and an unbeaten 10-0-1 in the CCAA a year ago. The season ended with a 17-game undefeated streak (14-0-3) as the Tritons played to a 1-1 home draw with UC-Colorado Springs in the national quarterfinals, and were eliminated via penalty-kick tiebreaker. That was after a second successive showdown with Western Washington in the West Region final, this one going to UC San Diego in front of the home crowd, 2-0, to complete its treble. The regular-season champion Tritons won the CCAA Tournament for a third straight and record 11th time, as the top-seeded host. Sonoma State was the opponent in a thrilling final, which UC San Diego rallied to take 4-3 thanks to Natalie Saddic's headed goal with 34 seconds left.
ABOUT THE COYOTES
Cal State San Bernardino (4-7, 3-3 CCAA) most recently split a difficult road weekend, winning 2-1 at Humboldt State last Friday, before getting blanked by No. 23 Sonoma State on Sunday, 2-0. Senior midfielder Gabby Evaristo (San Diego/Hoover HS) scored both goals against the Jacks, in a span of 175 seconds in the second half, and is the CCAA Player of the Week. The Coyotes are 2-5 at home. LeBaron Hollimon is CSUSB's fourth-year head coach.
UC San Diego has largely dominated the all-time series at 34-6-6. The Tritons have earned back-to-back 1-0 decisions, at home last Oct. 1 on Mary Reilly's 57th-minute strike, and in San Bernardino in 2016 on Aimee Ellis' unassisted tally at 58:19. They did suffer a tough 3-2 overtime defeat to the Coyotes in the prior meeting in La Jolla in 2015. The home side rallied from 2-0 down in that one with goals by Maxia Espino and Summer Bales over the last 15:49 of regulation, only to allow a Denae Verdine goal at the 97:00 mark. UC San Diego previously upset then-eighth-ranked CSUSB, 1-0, in La Jolla on Oct. 3, 2014. That result marked the Coyotes' first loss of 2014 after nine straight wins to open, with Cassie Callahan tapping in Jordyn McNutt's corner kick from close range in the 80th minute. In 2013, the teams played to a 1-1 draw in San Bernardino, before the Tritons won 2-1 in La Jolla on another late Callahan decider, in the 82nd. They split their two meetings in 2012, with the Coyotes grabbing a 1-0 overtime win in La Jolla after the Tritons had earlier posted a 1-0 victory of their own in double overtime, once again through a Callahan tally.
ABOUT THE BRONCOS
Cal Poly Pomona (4-7-1, 0-5-1 CCAA) has struggled despite being picked in the preseason to finish fourth, that after earning a CCAA Tournament berth a year ago. The Broncos are a winless 0-5-1 over their last six, since beginning league activity, with four straight defeats. They were swept in Northern California last weekend, 1-0 against No. 23 Sonoma State and then 3-1 at Humboldt State. CPP is 2-3-1 at home, and hosts Cal State San Marcos on Friday afternoon. Jay Mason is in his third season as the Broncos' head coach.
UC San Diego leads the all-time series, 36-13-4, and won a 1-0 home decision last Sept. 29 on Jordyn McNutt's lone 66th-minute tally, as she headed in a Summer Bales corner kick at the near post. The Tritons took the only 2016 meeting in dramatic fashion. On the final day of the regular season, host CPP scored the game's first goal in the 17th minute. The Tritons, trailing for the first and only time during the league slate, responded with two second-half goals, by strikers Mary Reilly (64th) and Katie O'Laughlin (75th), to win it 2-1 and complete their perfect CCAA season. CPP won the 2015 regular-season matchup in La Jolla, 3-2 in overtime, rallying from a 2-0 deficit. The Tritons then raced past the Broncos in the first round of the 2015 CCAA Tournament, 4-1, also in La Jolla. UC San Diego dropped both tilts in 2014, 1-0 at home during the regular season on an unassisted Daisy Duran goal just 2:35 into the contest, and 2-0 in Pomona in a first-round matchup of the CCAA Tournament. UC San Diego had swept the home-and-home series four years in a row before the teams played to a 2-2 draw in the initial 2013 meeting in La Jolla. A first-half opener by Jamie Benedetto and 70th-minute equalizer by Cassie Callahan bookended a pair of Bronco scores. The return date that year in Pomona went the way of the Tritons, 1-0, on Michelle Yasutake's strike in the 81st minute.
HOMECOMING AND HALL OF FAME WEEKEND
During UC San Diego Homecoming weekend, Oct. 19-21, all-time leading scorer Heather (Mauro) Hilliard (1986-89) will be inducted into the UC San Diego Athletics Hall of Fame. She will become the third member of the women's soccer program to be so honored, after Ele Johnson (Class of 2013) and Julia Cuder (2014).
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.
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The Tritons are back at home one final time for the 2018 regular season next week, hosting Cal State LA and Cal State Dominguez Hills during UC San Diego Homecoming. Kickoff against the Golden Eagles on Friday, Oct. 19, is scheduled for 7 p.m. The Senior Day showdown with the Toros is slated for a 2 p.m. start on Sunday, Oct. 21.
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.
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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 Women's Soccer, follow on Instagram (@ucsdwsoc).