TOWSON, Md. - Alec Arsht and Andisheh Bagheri of the UC San Diego men’s soccer team have been named to 2013 Capital One Academic All-America® NCAA Division II Men’s Soccer Teams, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America.
Bagheri made the 11-player first team as one of three midfielders, while Arsht was one of four defenders chosen to the 11-player second team.
This is the first Academic All-America distinction for Arsht and Bagheri, both two-time Academic All-District 8 honorees. The senior tandem becomes the first players from the UCSD men’s soccer program to earn the prestigious award since Matt Davey was a back-to-back first-team selection in 2004 and 2005.
Bagheri is a fourth-year playmaking midfielder and native of Davis. He earned his undergraduate degree from UCSD in physiology and neuroscience last June, and is now in the biology program as a graduate student, expecting to complete it this upcoming summer. Arsht, a fourth-year center back and team captain out of Oak Park, maintains a 3.45 grade-point average in political science.
On the field, the duo helped the Tritons to their most successful season since moving up from Division III to Division II for the 2000 campaign. Under the direction of sixth-year head coach Jon Pascale, UCSD went 14-3-5 overall, was ranked as high as No. 6 nationally, made its first postseason appearance since 2005 and earned its first NCAA Championship berth since 2003. The 17th-ranked Tritons were just eliminated via penalty-kick tiebreaker this past Friday afternoon in the tournament’s third round in Denver by 12th-ranked Simon Fraser.
Individually, Arsht and Bagheri were each All-California Collegiate Athletic Association First Team choices as voted on by league head coaches. Bagheri had a breakout year, entering with two career goals and coming away with a team-best 10 to go along with two assists for 22 total points. A league-best six of those goals went down as game-winners. He started 20 of 21 matches played, missing one through injury and coming off the bench in the season opener.
Arsht started all 21 games that he appeared in, missing just one match through injury, and anchored a defense that ranks fifth nationally in goals-against average through matches played on Nov. 24. He also added one goal and one assist offensively.
To be eligible for Academic All-America® consideration, a student-athlete must be a varsity starter or key reserve, maintain a cumulative grade-point average of 3.30 on a scale of 4.00, have reached sophomore athletic and academic standings at his/her institution and be nominated by his/her sports information department.
Since the program’s inception in 1952, CoSIDA has bestowed Academic All-America honors on more than 20,000 student-athletes in Divisions I, II, III and NAIA, covering all NCAA championship sports.
UCSD had its most Academic All-Americans in a single academic year, eight, in 2012-13.