Natalie Saddic a First-Team All-American; Four Teammates Selected to United Soccer Coaches All-West Region Squads
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - University of California San Diego redshirt sophomore Natalie Saddic was unveiled Wednesday evening as a member of the 2017 United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division II All-America First Team.
Saddic, a San Diego native out of Torrey Pines High School, is one of four defenders on the 12-player first team. She is the only California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) representative on that first team, and one of three CCAA and five West Region players among 36 standouts who appear on the three women's All-America squads. Seventy men and women were honored for Division II.
Saddic started all 22 matches for UC San Diego this season, with the last five at center back and the first 17 right in front of that position, anchoring a defense that ranked 21st nationally in goals-against average. She added a career-best three goals offensively, with the first two from the penalty spot, and the last one the headed winner with just 34 seconds left in the CCAA Tournament final against No. 23 Sonoma State on Nov. 5.
A first-time All-American, Saddic had previously been chosen to the Division 2 Conference Commissioners Association (D2CCA) All-West Region First Team, and is thus a consensus all-region first-teamer. She is also the 2017 CCAA Defensive Player of the Year and CCAA Tournament Most Valuable Defensive Player.
This year's NCAA Division II All-Americans will be formally acknowledged for their accomplishments at the United Soccer Coaches All-America Luncheon on Jan. 20, 2018, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in conjunction with the 2018 United Soccer Coaches Convention in downtown Philadelphia.
Earlier in the week, Saddic was joined on the 12-player United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division II All-West Region First Team by Triton forwards Katie O'Laughlin (Carlsbad/Pacific Ridge School) and Mary Reilly (Chula Vista/Hilltop HS). Senior playmaker Elisa Martinez (El Cajon/Francis Parker School) and redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Angelica Ramos (San Clemente/JSerra Catholic HS) were placed on the second and third teams, respectively.
O'Laughlin and Reilly shared the team lead at 22 points apiece, each from a team-best nine goals and four assists. O'Laughlin started all 22 contests and Reilly 21, missing only the CCAA Tournament semifinal due to injury. One of five midfielders on the 12-player second team, Martinez started every game and produced seven total points from one goal and five assists, including three in the CCAA Tournament final. Ramos is the goalie on the 13-player third team. She had played every second through the CCAA tourney final prior to suffering a season-ending injury, posting a 0.61 goals-against average, 60 saves and 12 individual shutouts.
Saddic is UC San Diego's first United Soccer Coaches All-America First Team selection since O'Laughlin just one year ago, when the organization was still known as the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). O'Laughlin and Reilly are repeat United Soccer Coaches All-West Region First Team picks, both after second-team nods in 2015. Martinez and Ramos are first-time all-region honorees.
UC San Diego led all West Region programs with five selections for the three squads. Several schools had four apiece, including Concordia (OR) and Western Washington, both of whom the Tritons ousted from the NCAA tournament, with three first-teamers each like UCSD.
UC San Diego finished the year at 17-2-3 overall and as the treble winner of the CCAA regular season, CCAA Tournament and West Region. Ranked No. 3 in the final regular-season national poll and top-seeded in the West, the Tritons were eliminated via penalty-kick tiebreaker by 23rd-ranked South Central Region champion University of Colorado Colorado Springs in La Jolla on Nov. 19. They ended the season riding a 17-match (14-0-3) unbeaten streak, and 13-0-1 at home. UCSD was undefeated (10-0-1) in CCAA play for a second successive campaign.