TRITONS KICK OFF 2017 WITH THREE-GAME HOMESTAND STARTING THURSDAY NIGHT
The University of California San Diego women's soccer program begins the 2017 season this Thursday night, Aug. 31, with a primetime derby. The reigning California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) regular-season and tournament champion and unanimous league favorite Tritons welcome in city rival Point Loma out of the Pacific West Conference (PacWest). UC San Diego then hosts Central Washington of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) on Saturday, Sept. 2. Kickoff for both contests at Triton Soccer Stadium on North Campus in La Jolla is slated for 7 p.m., with admission free. The latter match will cap the first of seven UCSD soccer doubleheaders this fall, with the No. 4 Triton men taking on Occidental in their home opener at 5 p.m. The UCSD women will again play a total of six non-conference tilts among an 18-game regular-season schedule, with the first three in La Jolla and the last three on the road. They were 8-1 at home in 2016.
The Tritons 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. They won the CCAA Tournament for a second straight and record 10th time, as the top seed. UCSD has only missed that event once, in 2013, since joining the league for the 2000 season. Brian McManus enters his 31st season in charge with the most wins, 484, in NCAA Division II women's soccer history, and 16 shy of a milestone 500.
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 each of the first three, 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 just $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. 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 during this week's home matches.
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 15-1-1 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.
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 2 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. McNutt has paced the CCAA in assists in all three of her seasons, with her 29 career helpers within 10 of matching the program's all-time record. 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 16 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, both 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 50 goals over the past two seasons, 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.
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 29 helpers for her career, the senior winger is 10 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 29 assists put her in a five-way tie for sixth in UCSD history, a group that includes associate head coach Kristin Jones.
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
All 13 CCAA teams launch their 2017 season this Thursday, Aug. 31, with the first bit of league activity taking place 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.
HEAD COACH BRIAN McMANUS
Brian McManus begins his 31st season in charge of the UC San Diego women's soccer program. With a career record of 484-88-51, 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 SEA LIONS
Point Loma (0-0), which narrowly missed out on a third straight trip to the NCAA Championship a year ago after back-to-back PacWest titles in 2014 and 2015, is favored for fourth in its preseason poll, garnering three of 14 first-place votes. The Sea Lions went 10-4-4 overall and 8-3-2 in PacWest play, having posted an unbeaten 11-0-1 league mark in 2014 for a first-ever NCAA postseason berth. Point Loma boasts Preseason All-PacWest selections Keagan Bolibol, Morgan Pearce and Sami Swanson. Tim Hall begins his 10th and final year at the PLNU helm, having announced in late April that 2017 would be his last season.
These two programs have officially met just three times, UCSD winning all three without surrendering a goal over the 270 minutes. The Tritons took a 2-0 road decision last Sept. 6 thanks to second-half goals by Katie O'Laughlin and Summer Bales. They were 1-0 victors in La Jolla on Sept. 5, 2015, through an 88th-minute strike from Mary Reilly. UCSD previously earned another 1-0 home triumph all the way back on Oct. 28, 2000, during its first season in Division II. The Tritons went on to become national champions that year, with Point Loma still in the NAIA. These days, the schools are NCAA Division II West Region rivals. They faced off in Point Loma on Sept. 16, 2014, but with UCSD leading 1-0 in the 57th minute, the match was halted by lightning. Unable to be completed, it was ruled a no contest.
ABOUT THE WILDCATS
Central Washington is located in Ellensburg, Wash., and coming off of a stellar 2016 campaign, is picked to finish second in the GNAC behind reigning national champion Western Washington. The Wildcats are receiving votes just outside of the preseason United Soccer Coaches national poll. CWU got out to a 5-0 start a year ago prior to a 2-1 overtime home loss to UCSD, and went on to make its very first NCAA Division II Championship appearance. It, too, had its 2016 season ended by Western Washington, 2-0 in the second round in Bellingham, Wash. The Wildcats' final records stood at 14-6-1 overall and 8-3-1 in GNAC play. They are at UCSD's CCAA foe, Cal State San Bernardino, next Monday to round out their two-game California swing. Michael Farrand is in his 18th season at the helm at CWU, which returns seniors Mackenzie Nolte and Whitney Lowe.
UCSD is a perfect 7-0 in the all-time series, with most recently a come-from-behind, 2-1 overtime triumph in Washington last Sept. 16, and a prior trio of hefty defeats. Katie O'Laughlin tallied the sudden-victory goal 4:20 into the first extra period a year ago after her side had allowed a sixth-minute tally off of a corner kick. Meghan Berry equalized from the penalty spot before halftime. The Tritons routed the Wildcats, 6-1, in their 2012 season opener in La Jolla. They had previously produced an 11-0 home scoreline on Sept. 8, 2005, and 6-0 on the road on Sept. 3, 2003, in the initial matchup, with current associate head coach Kristin Jones contributing a goal and an assist. UCSD has also posted 2-0 victories in Ellensburg on Aug. 28, 2008, and Sept. 1, 2006, followed by a 2-1 double-overtime home decision on Aug. 29, 2009. UCSD has outscored CWU over the seven matchups, 31-3.
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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 continues non-conference play and concludes a three-match homestand against Concordia Irvine on Tuesday night, Sept. 5, with kickoff set for 7 p.m. at Triton Soccer Stadium. The Tritons then travel to Colorado to take on a pair of Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference foes in No. 6 Colorado Mines on Friday, Sept. 8 (6:30 p.m. PT), and Regis on Sunday, Sept. 10 (11 a.m. PT).