Photo by: UCSD
The Tritons have been very lucky with the weather this week in Denver.
Road to Georgia: Eve of Final Hurdle
Release: Saturday 11/17/2012 
DENVER, Colo. - The fifth-ranked UC San Diego women's soccer team is just hours away from taking on No. 15 Colorado Mines for a trip to Evans, Ga., for the NCAA Semifinals. The quarterfinal affair between the West Region champion Tritons and South Central Region champion Orediggers will kick off at 11 a.m. PT on Sunday, Nov. 18, at Auraria Field in Denver.

Some news and notes on the eve of Sunday's NCAA Quarterfinals.

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Sunday's match will serve as the first meeting all-time between UC San Diego and Colorado School of Mines in women's soccer. Colorado Mines is located in Golden, Colo., a little over 14 miles west of Denver. The Orediggers had a sizeable contingent on hand for Friday's win over host Metro State, and so Sunday's atmosphere should be considerably different for UCSD than that against WWU. Colorado Mines, like Western Washington, plays its home games on FieldTurf. With the South Central Region serving as host this weekend, the Tritons are the designated visitors Sunday.

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Colorado Mines Scouting Report

Colorado Mines (18-4-1) has won six straight and is unbeaten over its last 13, since a 1-0 regular-season loss to Metro State at Auraria Field back on Sept. 30. The 15th-ranked Orediggers are in the NCAA Quarterfinals for the second straight year and third time in the past four seasons.

The goal CSM allowed at 87:45 to Metro State during Friday's 2-1 Third Round victory was the first it had given up in over 584 minutes, a span of more than five matches, and marked the first goal scored against them this postseason, encompassing the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) Tournament and NCAA Championship. The Orediggers were automatic NCAA qualifiers as the 2012 RMAC champions. CSM's two leading scorers, junior forward Anna Evans (17 G, 10 A, RMAC Offensive Player of the Year) and senior midfielder Megan Woodworth (11 G, 13 A, All-RMAC First Team), accounted for the two strikes against Metro State.

UCSD has not met an RMAC team since dropping a 2-0 decision to Metro State in Denver in the 2006 NCAA Quarterfinals (Nov. 11, 2006). Colorado Mines is 10-3 away from home this year.

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The Tritons are not the only San Diego exports in town, as the NFL's San Diego Chargers are also currently in Denver. They face a critical AFC West clash with the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on Sunday. Kickoff is set for 2:25 p.m. local time here, with the stadium located just across the freeway from Auraria Field. UCSD will kick off against Colorado Mines at 12 p.m. local (11 a.m. PT).

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NCAA Insider with Michelle Yasutake

Q-How do you feel about still being in this tournament?

MY-Yesterday's game was a little stressful, obviously, but we were dominating, and I knew we would pull it out. I think that we can go all the way. We have a good chance to keep going, and I'm really excited to keep playing.

Q-Is this what you expected out of your first true season of college soccer, as the starter at right back?

MY-I honestly didn't expect that to happen at all. I came on to the team just wanting to make it again this year (after redshirting in 2011), so starting was a pretty big surprise, actually, the first time (Brian) announced the lineup. It's been cool, though.

Q-Has it helped you to be the third starter on a defense consisting of Hayley Johnson and Ellen Wilson, who have each started every game in four years?

MY-It was a little intimidating at first, but they're so confident in everything they do, I know they'll have my back. Any time I get beat, I know that Ellen will be there (as the center back). They're solid players and it's great to play with them.

Q-How do you feel about playing right back?

MY-I'm actually left-footed, so the right side of the field, I've never really played there before. It was definitely a transition. (I've) always (played) outside back, but usually on the left. I've definitely had to improve my right foot a little bit, playing on this side. It's just kind of awkward, being on the other side of the field.

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In case you missed them late Friday after the win over Western Washington, postgame video interviews with Brian McManus and Gabi Hernandez can be found here, with postgame quotes here.

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The women's soccer team will not be the only Triton squad in search of a Final Four berth on Sunday. UCSD's water polo men are up against Air Force at 2:15 p.m. PT in Whittier in the final of the Western Water Polo Association (WWPA) Championship. Best of luck to 33rd-year head coach Denny Harper and his guys. Click here to watch.

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Sunday's match against Colorado Mines will feature both a live video stream, with audio commentary provided by Eric Lansing, media producer for Metro State Athletics, as well as live stats.

Only one more hurdle to clear on the Road to Georgia. Go Tritons!

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