FIRST-PLACE TRITONS HIT THE ROAD LOOKING TO INCH CLOSER TO TITLE REPEAT
The eighth-ranked University of California San Diego women's soccer program takes a considerable eight-point cushion into a single California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) road match this week. UC San Diego (11-2, 8-0 CCAA) traveled north to Arcata on Wednesday, to face eighth-place Humboldt State (6-5-1, 2-4-1 CCAA) at College Creek Field on Friday afternoon, Oct. 13, at 12:30 p.m. UCSD was supposed to then play at No. 18 Sonoma State on Sunday, but that match was postponed on Tuesday evening due to the continuing wildfires in Sonoma County. The third-place UCSD men's team meets HSU at 3 p.m.
By all accounts, it looks as though results last Friday, Oct. 6, and Sunday, Oct. 8, have clinched a 17th CCAA Tournament berth for the Tritons, who have won the last two editions, a record 10 in all, and will serve as the hosts this year on Nov. 3 and Nov. 5.
Friday's match at Humboldt State will feature a live video stream and live stats, both free of charge, here. 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.
UCSD IN THE UNITED SOCCER COACHES POLL
• Oct. 10: 8 (2nd in West)
• Oct. 3: 7 (2nd in West)
• Sept. 26: 7 (2nd in West)
• Sept. 19: 10 (2nd West)
• Sept. 12: 19 (3rd in West)
• Sept. 5: 9 (2nd in West)
• Preseason: 10
A LOOK BACK AT LAST WEEK
For the second week in a row at home, two goals were all that UCSD needed for another six-point haul. The Tritons stretched their run of 1-0 victories to four, all during their just-concluded, season-long, four-game homestand. Katie O'Laughlin nodded in Summer Bales' corner kick for an early tally in the fourth minute against Cal State San Marcos last Wednesday. Fellow senior Elisa Martinez then converted her penalty kick in the 49th minute against SF State on Senior Night on Friday. The spot kick was earned as Mary Reilly's shot was contacted by the hand of a Gator defender. Angelica Ramos totaled eight more saves, four in each, over the two shutouts.
ANGELICA RAMOS NAMED CCAA PLAYER OF THE WEEK
On Tuesday, redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Angelica Ramos became the second Triton to earn CCAA Player of the Week distinction for 2017. She produced four saves in each of two 1-0 victories, at home against CSUSM and SF State. Ramos thus stretched her individual shutout streaks to five-plus games and 500:25 of action, and has nine clean sheets on the season. Her 0.538 goals-against average ranks third in the CCAA, fifth in the West Region and 23rd in Division II.
UCSD has won 22 consecutive CCAA regular-season matches and 28 straight against league opposition, since a 1-0 loss at Sonoma State on Oct. 18, 2015. The Tritons have held a 69-6 scoring advantage and trailed in only one of those contests, for a grand total of 47:23, after an early goal by Cal Poly Pomona in the 2016 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. Indeed last season, 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, 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.
COUNTDOWN TO 500
Legendary UC San Diego head coach Brian McManus needs five 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 62 career goals, 33 and 29, respectively, 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 a 2-1 victory over Central Washington. O'Laughlin added a 58th-minute tally in that match that was the 30th of her career and proved to be her 10th game-winner. The duo now shares the top spot on the 2017 team chart at five goals apiece. Reilly (56) and O'Laughlin (46) are again 1-2 in the CCAA in shots.
Through three quarters of the CCAA slate and this current eight-game win streak, UCSD has surrendered a single score, that an own goal at Cal State Dominguez Hills on Sept. 22. Goalkeeper Angelica Ramos has kept nine individual clean sheets, with five straight and seven over these last eight games. The three-person back line consists of, from right to left, seniors Aimee Ellis and Brie Diaz, and true freshman Delaney Whittet, the latter since the injury loss of fourth-year senior and team tri-captain Makenzie Brito on Sept. 17. Right in front of them are redshirt sophomore holding central midfielder Natalie Saddic. The Tritons' 0.538 team goals-against average ranks third in the CCAA, fourth in the West Region and 21st in Division II.
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. McCarthy's first college goal was the winner in another 3-0 decision over Concordia Irvine on Sept. 5. A seventh true freshman, forward Alexis Kirson out of Las Vegas, Nev., earned her college debut against Chico State on Sept. 15.
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, garnering 144 points due largely to 12 first-place nods ... Katie O'Laughlin earned the season's first CCAA Player of the Week award for the second straight year, which marked her fourth career weekly recognition from the league office ... UCSD is 16-1-1 in season openers in the NCAA Division II era, suffering its only such defeat in 2014 at Seattle Pacific ... UCSD is 10-8 in CCAA openers, now with two straight wins after a 4-0 romp at Cal State San Marcos last season and 3-0 home victory over Chico State this year ... When UCSD fell 4-0 at 2016 national quarterfinalist Colorado Mines on Sept. 8, it marked its first loss by more than one goal since a 2-0 defeat at Cal Poly Pomona on Nov. 2, 2014 ... The Tritons have four 3-0 victories in 2017 and five 1-0 triumphs, including four straight ... For the fifth straight year and sixth in the last seven, UCSD recently earned the United Soccer Coaches Team Academic Award with a 3.03 combined GPA for 2016-17.
The CCAA grind is tough enough, but UCSD head coach Brian McManus has given his side the best possible chance of gaining another NCAA Championship berth in 2017. Of the five non-conference opponents the Tritons faced 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 ... Brito, McNutt and O'Laughlin are 2017 team tri-captains, and all three are first-time captains ... 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. 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
For the fourth 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 2017 CCAA Tournament. Cal State San Marcos, a new addition in 2015, is eligible for the first time.
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 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).
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 495-90-51, 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 LUMBERJACKS
Humboldt State (6-5-1, 2-4-1 CCAA) was picked to place 12th in the CCAA preseason poll. The Jacks split a road pair last week, surprising second-place Cal Poly Pomona 1-0 before dropping a 5-0 decision at Cal State San Bernardino on Sunday. The goal against CPP came off the head of junior midfielder Alex Jenkins in the 19th minute. Paul Karver is in his fifth season in charge of the Jacks, who are 3-2 in Arcata in 2017.
UCSD leads the all-time series, 13-1-2, with most recently a 4-0 romp in La Jolla last October. All four of those goals came in a span of 11:39 early in the second half. The Tritons took back-to-back 1-0 decisions in Arcata in 2014 and 2015, the latter through a 21st-minute Kiera Bocchino goal. The previous matchup in La Jolla, in 2013, ended in a scoreless draw. The Tritons posted a comfortable 4-1 victory in Arcata in 2012 in a contest that did not count toward league play. HSU's lone success in the series was a 2-1 decision in Arcata back in 2010.
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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!
The Tritons dip out of league activity one final time for 2017 with another one-match week, making the short trip north to San Marcos for a non-conference affair with CCAA rival Cal State San Marcos. That match at The Cage is set for a 2 p.m. start on Saturday, Oct. 21.