TRITONS ROUND OUT HOMESTAND TUESDAY AHEAD OF COLORADO TRIP
The University of California San Diego women's soccer program continues non-conference play with three matches in six days this week. UC San Diego (2-0) first concludes a three-game season-opening homestand against Concordia Irvine (0-1-1) of the Pacific West Conference (PacWest) on Tuesday night, Sept. 5. Kickoff at Triton Soccer Stadium on North Campus in La Jolla is set for 7 p.m., with admission free. The Tritons then travel to Colorado for the return fixtures of two home dates from a year ago, playing at Colorado School of Mines (1-1) in Golden at 6:30 p.m. PT on Friday night, Sept. 8, and Regis (0-1-1) in Denver at 11 a.m. PT on Sunday, Sept. 10. UCSD was No. 10 and Mines No. 6 in the preseason national poll, with the first in-season installment coming Tuesday morning. Mines and Regis were picked to place 1-2 in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) preseason coaches' poll.
The Tritons on Friday will be at the venue in which they had their 2016 campaign ended, as Mines and Stermole Soccer Stadium hosted the West Region final against eventual national champion Western Washington, which ended in a 2-1 overtime defeat for UCSD. When this week passes, UCSD will have one non-conference tilt left, at California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) and local rival Cal State San Marcos on Oct. 21.
TRITON SOCCER MATCHDAY
Once again in 2017, 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, behind the spectator stand, as well as the Hopkins Parking Structure adjacent to RIMAC. Parking is free on Saturday and Sunday.
TRITON SOCCER ON UCSDTRITONS.TV
Select home games in 2017, including Tuesday's matchup with Concordia, will feature a live video stream on UCSDtritons.tv. Broadcasts are in high definition and can be viewed from smartphones and tablets alongside desktop and laptop computers. Local media personality Miles Himmel (@mileshimmel) will primarily handle the play-by-play duties. Viewing is subscription-based, though it is free from UCSD campus IP addresses. A package that gives viewers access to all streamed events throughout the 2017-18 academic year is available for $24.99. A single-day pay-per-view option can be purchased for $5.99, meaning doubleheaders are two-for-one. Events are archived. All games have live stats. Select road matches will also have video, like both in Colorado this weekend, free of charge. 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 UCSD Athletics Twitter handle (@UCSDtritons). Finally, check out the CCAA live scoreboard here to keep up on results around the league.
Free posters of the 2017 UCSD fall sports will be available at Triton Soccer Stadium this Tuesday night.
UNANIMOUS FAVORITES TO REPEAT AS CCAA CHAMPS
UC San Diego is the unanimous favorite to repeat as champion of the CCAA, as voted on by the league's 13 head coaches for the 2017 preseason poll. The Tritons garnered 144 points due largely to the 12 first-place nods. Head coaches do not include their own side in their listing. Sonoma State, the 2015 regular-season champion, sat in the second position in the poll with 128 points. Cal Poly Pomona, the recipient of Brian McManus' first-place vote, was third (104) and followed closely by Cal State LA (103), which suffered a 2-0 defeat to UCSD in the 2016 CCAA Tournament final in Turlock. Chico State (98), Stanislaus State (97) and Cal State San Bernardino (95) formed a close cluster for fifth through seventh.
UC San Diego is 16-1-1 in season openers in the NCAA Division II era. The Tritons suffered their only such defeat in 2014, surrendering a pair of first-half goals and ultimately dropping a 2-1 decision at then-25th-ranked rival Seattle Pacific on Sept. 4. They were unbeaten for starters between 2000-13, with only a scoreless draw at Western Washington in 2011 preventing a perfect ledger. UCSD got a goal from Katie O'Laughlin just 27 seconds in and rolled to a 5-0 demolition of No. 12 Azusa Pacific last Sept. 1. This year, the Tritons needed 118 seconds for their first goal, en route to a 3-0 home defeat of Point Loma last Thursday night.
2017 SEASON OUTLOOK
Brian McManus saw his entire 2016 starting 11 recognized in some fashion with postseason CCAA athletic honors, including seven of 11 first-teamers, with an incredible seven student-athletes gaining All-America consideration by one or both award entities. Seven of those 11 return, led by Division II Conference Commissioners Association West Region Player of the Year and CCAA Offensive Player of the Year Katie O'Laughlin (Carlsbad/Pacific Ridge School), a senior All-American whose 16 goals and 41 points were best in the West. Further unfortunate for Triton opponents, is that her lethal strike partner and fellow San Diego product Mary Reilly (Chula Vista/Hilltop HS) is also back. Reilly, a junior, added 35 points from 13 goals and nine assists, comfortably leading the CCAA in shots taken for a second successive season. The duo finished 1-2 on the CCAA goals chart for the second year in a row, with their places reversed in 2016. They made up the West's top goal-scoring tandem.
The other two All-CCAA First Team returners are winger Jordyn McNutt (San Diego/University City HS) and right back Makenzie Brito, both seniors. Senior left back Aimee Ellis, redshirt sophomore holding central midfielder Natalie Saddic (San Diego/UC Davis/Torrey Pines HS) and senior central midfielder Elisa Martinez (El Cajon/University of Sioux Falls/Francis Parker School) are the remaining starters back. They are joined by the likes of Brie Diaz and fellow senior Taylor Ramos (San Diego/Coronado HS), as well as the junior duo of Summer Bales and Megumi Barber (San Diego/Mt. Carmel HS).
For the first time in the storied 17-year CCAA history of the UC San Diego women's soccer program, the Tritons completed their league slate unbeaten and untied a season ago, at a perfect 12-0. It marked the first such effort by a CCAA squad since Sonoma State went 14-0 in 1998. UCSD 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. In fact, the Tritons trailed just once in the entirety of those 14 contests, for a total of 47:23, after an early goal by Cal Poly Pomona in the regular-season finale. UCSD overturned that 1-0 halftime deficit thanks to goals by Mary Reilly and Katie O'Laughlin, to complete its perfect ledger. The Tritons have won 14 consecutive CCAA regular-season matches, and 20 straight against league opposition, since a 1-0 loss at Sonoma State on Oct. 18, 2015.
COUNTDOWN TO 500
Legendary UC San Diego head coach Brian McManus needs 14 more wins to give him 500 for his outstanding 31-year tenure in charge of the Tritons. Only three others in the history of NCAA women's soccer have reached the milestone, in North Carolina's Anson Dorrance (809), UConn's Len Tsantiris (563) and William Smith's Aliceann Wilber (536), with those reflected totals heading into the 2017 season.
UCSD senior Katie O'Laughlin and junior Mary Reilly, two local products, make up arguably the top forward tandem in the West Region, and one of the best in all of the NCAA Division II. They have combined for 55 career goals, including exactly 50 in 2015 and 2016, each reaching double figures in both years. In 2016, O'Laughlin had a region-best 16 goals and 41 points, with nine assists, while Reilly produced 13 goals and nine assists of her own. They were 1-2 in the West in goals and thus also 1-2 on the CCAA chart for the second year in a row, this time with spots flipped. Reilly hit for 11 and O'Laughlin for 10 in 2015. They both started their 2017 accounts over the opening weekend, with O'Laughlin finding the target once in both games and Reilly providing the first in Saturday's 2-1 win over Central Washington. O'Laughlin added a 58th-minute tally that was the 30th of her career and proved to be her 10th game-winner.
ASSISTS MARK WITHIN JORDY'S REACH
Jordyn McNutt has held at least a share of the CCAA lead in assists in each of her first three years in Triton colors. With her first of 2017 last Saturday night, the milestone 30th of her career, the senior winger is nine away from matching the program's all-time record. She has increased her total every year, from seven as a freshman, to 10, to a career-best 12 in 2016, tops in the West and tied for ninth in Division II. McNutt produced her first collegiate three-assist effort against Humboldt State on Oct. 2, 2016, which was in fact the first three-assist game by a Triton since Sara Bolton on Sept. 2, 2010. She has five multi-assist games, with two last season. Her 30th assist moved her into sole possession of the No. 6 spot in UCSD history, just ahead of a group that includes associate head coach Kristin Jones.
Eight Tritons made their first appearance during the first weekend, including redshirt sophomore goalie Angelica Ramos, redshirt freshman Amanda Erickson, and true freshmen, Michelle Baddour, Caitlin McCarthy, Abby Ross, Maddy Samilo, Delaney Whittet and Natalie Widmer. Samilo needed just 7:02 after coming on late in the first half of the season opener, to notch her first collegiate goal, with McCarthy assisting. Though Widmer was the only newcomer to start that match, the 3-0 shutout of city rival Point Loma ended with six true freshmen on the pitch.
The CCAA grind is tough enough, but UCSD head coach Brian McManus doesn't fool around when it comes to giving his side the best possible chance of gaining an NCAA Championship berth. Of the five non-conference opponents the Tritons will face prior to league competition, Mines and Regis were picked to finish 1-2 in the RMAC, Concordia and Point Loma 3-4 in the PacWest, and Central Washington second in the GNAC.
UCSD's 29-player 2017 roster has seven seniors in fourth-year team members Makenzie Brito, Aimee Ellis, Jordyn McNutt, Katie O'Laughlin and Taylor Ramos, alongside third-year transfers Brie Diaz and Elisa Martinez ... Eleven newcomers have joined the program, including 10 true freshmen ... Twelve players are from San Diego, in Michelle Baddour (San Diego/University City HS), Megumi Barber (San Diego/Mt. Carmel HS), Sydney Davey (La Jolla/La Jolla HS), Georgina Herrera (San Ysidro/San Diego Mesa College/San Ysidro HS), Elisa Martinez (El Cajon/University of Sioux Falls/Francis Parker School), Caitlin McCarthy (Carlsbad/Carlsbad HS), Jordyn McNutt (San Diego/University City HS), Katie O'Laughlin (Carlsbad/Pacific Ridge School), Taylor Ramos (San Diego/Coronado HS), Mary Reilly (Chula Vista/Hilltop HS), Natalie Saddic (San Diego/UC Davis/Torrey Pines HS) and Maddy Samilo (San Diego/Rancho Bernardo HS) ... 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 UCSD women's soccer program, begins her third year as associate head coach and her 18th straight year as a Triton player or coach, having joined Brian McManus' staff immediately upon exhausting her eligibility.
CCAA TOURNAMENT RETURNS TO LA JOLLA
UC San Diego is the proud host of the 2017 CCAA Tournament semifinals and finals, for the first time since 2008 and fourth in all. Two women's and two men's semifinals will be contested at Triton Soccer Stadium on Friday, Nov. 3, with the two finals set for Sunday, Nov. 5. Start times are to be determined. First-round matchups will take place on the campuses of the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds on Tuesday, Oct. 31. In all three previous instances that UCSD has served as the host, the Triton women have won the event, in 2001, 2006 and 2008. The women's champion will once again earn the CCAA's automatic berth into the NCAA Championship.
CCAA FORMAT UNCHANGED
Conference action begins on Friday, Sept. 15. For the fourth year in a row, the CCAA slate will consist 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 2017 CCAA Tournament. Cal State San Marcos, a new addition in 2015, is eligible for the first time.
UCSD went 19-3 overall and a perfect 12-0 in the CCAA a year ago. A 16-game win streak was snapped in the West Region final by eventual national champion Western Washington, 2-1 in overtime in Golden, Colo. The Tritons won the CCAA Tournament for a second straight and record 10th time, as the top seed.
HEAD COACH BRIAN McMANUS
Brian McManus is in his 31st season in charge of the UC San Diego women's soccer program. With a career record of 486-88-51, he has achieved the most wins in NCAA Division II women's soccer history, and fourth-most for all divisions. McManus' winning percentage of .818 heading into 2017 ranks among the top 12 in college women's soccer annals, both overall (No. 11) and Division II only (No. 5). The six-time and reigning CCAA Coach of the Year is also third in win percentage among active Division II coaches. McManus has directed UCSD to seven national titles and a record nine CCAA crowns and 10 tournament banners (first regular-season one in 2016), with the Tritons advancing to the national semifinals a remarkable 15 times in his 30 years. Under his guidance, UCSD has qualified for the NCAA Championship all 13 seasons during the Division III days, and all but three (2004, 2013-14) of 17 years since the move up to Division II. McManus' Tritons have missed the CCAA Tournament just once in 2013, having earned 13 straight berths after joining the conference.
ABOUT THE EAGLES
Concordia (0-1-1) was picked to finish third in the 14-team PacWest in its preseason poll, earning one first-place vote. The program is in its first year of NCAA Division II Championship eligibility, with a previous affiliation in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). Junior forward McKenna Carrillo, a second-team All-PacWest pick a season ago, is their lone representative on the preseason All-PacWest Team. Concordia went 12-2-4 overall and 8-2-3 in PacWest play in 2016. It dropped a 2-0 decision at Cal State San Marcos last Thursday ahead of a scoreless home draw with Cal State San Bernardino on Saturday. The Eagles' director of soccer, Chris Gould, is in his ninth year.
UCSD won the only prior meeting, a 2-1 overtime home triumph in both teams' season opener on Sept. 3, 2015. Concordia struck first at 52:06 through Kendall Reekstin, with Kiera Bocchino (67:08) and Jordyn McNutt (99:13) notching unassisted tallies for the come-from-behind win.
ABOUT THE OREDIGGERS
Colorado Mines (1-1) picked up 10 of 13 first-place votes for the second straight year to top the RMAC poll. In 2016, the South Central Region champion Orediggers won their fourth straight RMAC regular-season title, and then sixth consecutive RMAC tournament crown, finishing a program-best 20-3-1 overall, 10-2 in league play, and 13-1-1 at home. Like UCSD, Mines had its season ended by eventual national champion Western Washington, 5-1 in Golden in the quarterfinals. The Orediggers lost 1-0 at Texas Woman's University in their 2017 opener last Friday night, and then shut out host Midwestern State on Sunday afternoon, 3-0. Kevin Fickes is in his eighth season in charge of the program.
These teams have met just twice previously, first playing to a 0-0 draw in a quarterfinal match of the 2012 NCAA Division II Championship on Nov. 18 in Denver, Colo. UC San Diego prevailed via penalty-kick tiebreaker, 6-5, advancing to the national semifinals in Evans, Ga. Mines then took a shock 1-0 decision last Sept. 11 in La Jolla through an unassisted, long-distance strike by Kortney DesCamp at 85:29, entirely against the run of play. UCSD was ranked No. 7 at the time and the Orediggers No. 6, with the Tritons holding a 15-4 shot advantage on the afternoon. They had opened the 2016 campaign with three straight shutout wins.
ABOUT THE RANGERS
Regis (0-1-1) garnered two of 13 first-place votes for second place in the preseason RMAC poll. The Rangers went 9-8-2 overall and 9-2-1 in league games a year ago, good for third. They began their year with a 1-0 loss at Midwestern State last Friday and a scoreless draw at Texas Woman's on Sunday. Regis hosts Cal State San Bernardino this Friday before welcoming in UCSD. J.B. Belzer is in his 22nd season in charge at Regis.
The only prior meeting between these programs came last Sept. 9 in La Jolla, with UCSD taking a 5-0 victory through a Kiera Bocchino brace and single tallies by Katie O'Laughlin, Taylor Ramos and Mary Reilly.
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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 UCSD home athletic events, and much more!
UCSD begins its 12-game CCAA schedule at home next weekend, hosting rivals Chico State on Friday, Sept. 15 (7 p.m.) and Stanislaus State on Sunday, Sept. 17 (2 p.m.).