TRITONS FINALLY BACK IN FRONT OF UC SAN DIEGO STUDENTS
The University of California San Diego men's soccer program will play in front of the student body for the first time this weekend, welcoming a pair of tough California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) foes into Triton Soccer Stadium on North Campus in La Jolla. The Tritons (4-1-3, 2-1-1 CCAA) host 17th-ranked rival Cal Poly Pomona in a primetime showdown under Friday night lights this Friday, Sept. 29, at 7 p.m. It will be a rematch of the 2016 West Region final, won by the Tritons in La Jolla, 1-0 in overtime. UCSD then faces 2016 CCAA Tournament semifinalist Cal State San Bernardino (4-5, 2-2 CCAA) on Sunday afternoon, Oct. 1, at 2 p.m. Both games will cap doubleheaders with the seventh-ranked Triton women.
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
UCSD's remaining four regular-season home games in 2017 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 Taylor Quellman (@TJQuellman) handles the play-by-play duties. The single-day fee is $5.99, meaning the men's and women's games can be seen together for one price, though viewing is still free from UCSD campus IP addresses. Events are archived. All games have live stats. 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.
MAKE-A-WISH PRESENTATION FRIDAY
Friday's match against Cal Poly Pomona will feature a special Make-A-Wish presentation. Dalja is 17 years old and has been granted a wish through the San Diego Make-A-Wish Foundation, which, with the help of the Triton Athletes' Council (TAC), will be revealed to her and her family at halftime of Friday's women's game. We need your help to cheer her on. Be there for this amazing event!
FREE TRITON GAME DAY T-SHIRTS!
The first 500 UC San Diego students arriving for this Friday night's men's match against Cal Poly Pomona at approximately 7 p.m. will receive their 2017-18 Triton game day t-shirt for free courtesy of Toyota. There will be another t-shirt giveaway for the women's match the following Friday, Oct. 6.
Free posters of the 2017 UCSD fall sports will be available at Triton Soccer Stadium this Friday night and Sunday.
A LOOK BACK AT LAST WEEK
UCSD earned four big points from its first CCAA road weekend of the campaign. The Tritons first rallied over the final 10:22 to stun then-19th-ranked Cal State Dominguez Hills in Carson on Friday, 2-1. Nolan Mac scored the equalizer at 79:38, with assists going to Matt Merrill and Malek Bashti off of Uly de la Cal's left-sided throw-in. UCSD then drew a penalty kick at 85:18 when Jonathan Stoop's header attempt was cut down by a flailing Toro arm. Bashti coolly converted the kick for the fifth-year senior striker's initial goal of his final collegiate season, and it turned out to be the winner. UCSD and Cal State LA then split the points in scoreless fashion on Sunday afternoon, goalkeeper Pedro Enciso notching his fourth individual clean sheet.
UC San Diego opened 2017 exactly where it ended 2016 in terms of national ranking, appearing in the No. 4 spot in the rebranded United Soccer Coaches (formerly National Soccer Coaches Association of America) preseason poll. It matched the program's highest position of its NCAA Division II era, since 2000, incidentally from the final 2016 poll. After drawing at Biola in their opener, the Tritons fell out of the national rankings. As of Sept. 26, they are ninth in the United Soccer Coaches' West Region listing.
UC San Diego had its 18-match home unbeaten streak that stretched out over nearly two full calendar years, ended by Chico State, 2-0, on Friday, Sept. 15. The Tritons are 2-1-1 at the midway point of their eight-game home slate for 2017, after finishing an unbeaten 12-0-1 there in 2016 and 5-1-2 inside the friendly confines in 2015. They are 60-21-16 (.701) in La Jolla under Jon Pascale. UCSD is 16-1-3 in its last 20 at Triton Soccer Stadium, since a 2-1 loss to Stanislaus State on Sept. 27, 2015.
Senior defender Nolan Mac did not find the back of the net over 35 career appearances his first three seasons in a UCSD uniform. In his final collegiate campaign, and still from his position at left back, he has a team-leading three goals in seven games, with all three of them coming in the 80th minute or later. The latest was the equalizer at 79:38 at No. 19 Cal State Dominguez Hills last Friday, Sept. 22. The Tritons went on to win it, 2-1.
Four of UCSD's eight games thus far in 2017 have gone into overtime, with a dramatic road win at APU and a trio of double-overtime draws. Following a come-from-behind, 2-2 tie against Concordia Irvine on Sept. 9, and a scoreless deadlock at Cal State LA on Sept. 24, UCSD is an unbeaten 6-0-17 in overtime contests since its last such loss in 2014.
UCSD has given up six goals in 2017 after 248:31 of shutout soccer to begin the season. The Tritons are thus second in the CCAA, fourth in the West Region and 25th nationally with a 0.69 team goals-against average. They allowed just 13 goals over 24 matches a year ago for a 0.52 GAA, which ranked fourth in all of the NCAA Division II. Eight came from the run of play, with four penalties and one free kick. UCSD was second in save percentage (.857) and fifth in shutout percentage (0.58), with a Division II-era program-record 14 clean sheets. The team's longest shutout stretch last year was 513:54 through four-plus shutouts, with two more of 356:51 and 353:12. The Tritons boasted one of the top seven defenses nationally in Division II in terms of team GAA for three straight seasons between 2012-14, but fell back to the 48th spot in 2015 (1.09). They led the country in that category in 2012 with a then-CCAA-record mark of 0.44, before finishing fourth in 2013 (0.52) and seventh in 2014 (0.65).
UCSD is the favorite to repeat as the CCAA champion, as voted on by league head coaches in the 2017 preseason poll, having accumulated 130 points and eight of the 13 first-place votes after being picked fifth a year ago and loudly defying that prognostication ... UCSD is 12-3-3 in season openers in the Division II era (since 2000), including the scoreless draw at Biola on Aug. 31, and is thus an unbeaten 3-0-2 in the last five years ... UCSD is 9-7-2 in CCAA openers with back-to-back shutout losses at home to Chico State (2-0) this year and at Cal State San Marcos (1-0) last season ... UCSD had a CCAA-best 39 goals over 24 games in 2016 after managing 15 in 18 matches in 2015, marking a program record for the Division II era ... The Tritons struck for four goals in a span of 16:30 of the first half and ultimately cruised to a 4-0 defeat of visiting Stanislaus State on Sept 17.
STAT OF THE YEAR
If there was one telling statistic from the 2016 campaign, it was that on seven occasions, the Tritons surrendered a game's first score before rallying for a 2-1 victory via late goals. It happened in each of their first two games at home to begin the year, and turned into an exhilirating trend. UCSD achieved that score line three times in La Jolla and four times away from home, those four all in succession before a final instance in the national quarterfinal at Triton Soccer Stadium on Nov. 20. So far in 2017, the Tritons fell behind 2-0 at home to Concordia on Sept. 9 before storming back for a 2-2 draw, and then on Sept. 22 at No. 19 Cal State Dominguez Hills, actually overturned a 1-0 deficit over the final 10:22 of regulation and won 2-1 again.
Among 27 players on the 2017 roster are 18 returners and nine newcomers, five of them true freshmen ... The eight seniors are Malek Bashti, Uly de la Cal, Danny Glascock, Zachary Lagotta, Nolan Mac, Steven Ortiz, Kyle Panganiban and Eric Young ... There are six local products in Lagotta (San Diego/Cathedral Catholic HS), junior forward Nathaniel Bloom (Encinitas/San Dieguito HS Academy), and freshmen Jonathan Sabouri (Carlsbad/San Dieguito HS Academy), Jordan Karam (San Diego/Torrey Pines HS), Oliver Nelson (Escondido/Escondido HS) and Pedro Enciso (Vista/Rancho Buena Vista HS) ... True freshman Darragh Buckley is the younger brother of former Triton Padraig Buckley (2010-13).
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 host, in 2001, 2006 and 2008, the Triton men have been unable to qualify.
CCAA FORMAT UNCHANGED
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.
2017 SEASON OUTLOOK
Jon Pascale, the three-time and reigning CCAA Coach of the Year in his 10th year in charge, has had to replace eight valuable seniors, but still has a bevy of veterans to rely on in 2017. Included in that group are Malek Bashti, Christian Cordell, Uly de la Cal, Danny Glascock, Zachary Lagotta (San Diego/Cathedral Catholic HS), Nolan Mac, Matt Merrill, Steven Ortiz, Kyle Panganiban, Jeff Powers and Eric Young, all seniors academically or athletically. Bashti and Mac picked up All-CCAA honorable mentions a season ago, and Lagotta in 2015, with de la Cal the top returning point-getter with 16 from four goals and a team-best eight assists in 2016. Bashti, Lagotta, Mac, Merrill and Powers were regular starters, at forward, right wing, left back, holding central midfield and right back, respectively. Fifth-year Triton Bashti had three goals and seven assists. Cordell is the leading returning goal-scorer, with five off the bench as a sophomore.
UC San Diego is coming off of the most successful season of its Division II era, as the treble winner of the CCAA regular-season, CCAA tournament and West Region championships, all for the first time. UCSD shocked Cal Poly Pomona on the road, 2-1, on the final day to steal the CCAA regular-season title, and later also turned the 2015 West Region champions and national runners-up away in the West final in La Jolla, 1-0 in overtime. The Tritons advanced to the national semifinals in Kansas City, Mo., fell to the eventual champions and finished 19-3-2 overall and 9-2-1 in league play. They have now made four successive postseason appearances in the form of the CCAA Tournament, with NCAA Championship berths in 2013, 2014 and 2016. UCSD went an unbeaten 12-0-1 at home in 2016.
HEAD COACH JON PASCALE
Jon Pascale, now a three-time CCAA Coach of the Year through back-to-back honors in 2012 and 2013 and another last season, has posted a 97-50-36 (.628) overall record in his 10th year in charge of the UC San Diego men's soccer program. He is 67-40-25 (.602) in arguably the toughest NCAA Division II conference in the nation, the CCAA. Last season, Pascale guided the Tritons to the very first CCAA regular-season, CCAA Tournament and Division II West Region titles in the program's 17 years as a league and Division II member. It was UCSD's seventh straight campaign with an overall record of .500 or better, with seven winning seasons out of Pascale's nine. The Tritons have earned four successive berths in the CCAA Tournament, with trips to the NCAA Championship in 2013, 2014 and 2016. A 1-0 home victory over Sonoma State on Sept. 29, 2013, gave Pascale career win No. 50, while a 2-0 triumph at Stanislaus State in the very next match on Oct. 4 marked his 100th contest at the Triton helm. He directed his first postseason tilt on Nov. 8, 2013, in Turlock, a come-from-behind, 2-1 overtime win over Chico State in a CCAA semifinal. He made his NCAA tourney debut as a head coach on Nov. 16, 2013, in La Jolla. A 2-0 home decision over Cal State East Bay on Oct. 12, 2014, meant CCAA win No. 50 for Pascale, who coached his 100th CCAA tilt at Cal State Monterey Bay five days later. The 2-0 decision versus Western Washington on Nov. 13, 2016, meant Pascale's first NCAA tournament win as a head coach.
ABOUT THE BRONCOS
No. 17 Cal Poly Pomona (7-1, 3-1 CCAA) routed Cal State East Bay (5-0) and Cal State Monterey Bay (3-0) at home last weekend, and is a winner of three straight. The Broncos have mostly played at home so far in 2017, and are 1-1 outside of Pomona. CPP has appeared in back-to-back West Region finals, winning that trophy in 2015 and advancing all the way to the national championship game, before dropping a 1-0 decision in La Jolla to the Tritons for the 2016 crown. The Broncos were picked fourth in the CCAA preseason poll, with three first-place votes. In addition to their national ranking, they are third in the United Soccer Coaches West Region listing. Sergi Monso, from Barcelona, Spain, leads the league with 12 goals and 29 total points, and hit for a hat trick against East Bay. Fellow senior Jason Trejos (0.86 GAA) is the starting goalkeeper. Sophomore midfielder Jaime Villalobos, however, is the reigning CCAA Player of the Week, for his three-goal effort over two wins. Adam Reeves is the first-year acting head coach of the CPP men.
UCSD leads the all-time series, 28-9-2, and has taken three in a row, including two dramatic wins a year ago. The Tritons first secured an improbable, come-from-behind 2-1 triumph in Pomona in the regular-season finale, scoring twice over the last 4:27 of regulation to steal the CCAA title in a winner-take-all. Those goals came from Justice Duerksen (85:33) and Christian Cordell (88:06). UCSD then edged past the Broncos, 1-0 in overtime, in the West Region final in front of a big crowd (703) in La Jolla, on an own goal at 94:13, as a right-sided Zachary Lagotta cross was knocked into his own net by CPP defender Rubik Zazian. The Tritons earned a 1-0 victory in La Jolla on Sept. 18, 2015, on a 58th-minute Uly de la Cal goal, after which the Broncos ultimately finished the year as national runners-up (17-3-3). UCSD fell 2-0 in La Jolla in the lone meeting in 2014. The Tritons swept the home-and-home series in 2013, twice winning 1-0 late in the season. UCSD swept the two-game set in 2012 as well, with another pair of 1-0 shutouts. The Tritons had actually won five consecutive 1-0 decisions over the Broncos since a 3-0 loss in Pomona on Sept. 18, 2011, with CPP scoreless for just over 533 minutes of play, before two strikes in quick succession in the second half on Sept. 28, 2014. UCSD is 8-1 against CPP the last nine times out.
ABOUT THE COYOTES
Cal State San Bernardino (4-5, 2-2 CCAA) was picked eighth in the CCAA preseason poll, coming off of a stellar 2016 campaign in which it snuck into the CCAA Tournament and won a first-round road contest at Chico State before falling 1-0 to UCSD in a semifinal match in Turlock. The Coyotes are 1-3 away from home and play at Cal State San Marcos on Friday afternoon in their first CCAA road test. They swept last weekend at home, 3-0 over Cal State Monterey Bay and 3-1 against Cal State East Bay. Darren Leslie is in his second year as the Coyote head coach. He held the interim tag in 2016.
UCSD holds the advantage in the all-time series, 21-17-7. The teams split two meetings a year ago, CSUSB taking the regular-season contest, 3-1 at home on Oct. 27, as the Coyotes scored three times within eight minutes late. The Tritons then upended the Coyotes 1-0 in a CCAA Tournament semifinal in Turlock on Nov. 4, via Justice Duerksen's 55th-minute strike. The sides played to a scoreless draw on Sept. 20, 2015, in La Jolla. The Tritons rolled 4-0 at home with four different goal-scorers in 2014, and swept the 2013 season series with a pair of 1-0 victories. The teams tied 1-1 in San Bernardino on Sept. 16, 2012, before a 2-0 UCSD win in La Jolla two weeks later. UCSD swept both matches in 2011, and is 7-1-2 over the last 10 meetings since a 1-0 loss in San Bernardino on Oct. 24, 2010. The Coyotes hadn't scored against the Tritons in 576:57, since late in that 1-1 deadlock in 2012, until their equalizer at 74:23 of the 2016 regular-season tilt.
For the latest in Triton athletic gear, make sure to visit ucsdtritonsgear.com. Run by UCSD Athletics' online partner Advanced-Online, the site provides an on-demand option for Triton athletic apparel and merchandise. Fans have access to over 600 products that can be processed and shipped within 24 hours.
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!
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The Tritons conclude this homestand next week, welcoming in city rival Cal State San Marcos for a primetime midweek derby on Wednesday, Oct. 4, at 7 p.m., and then SF State on Senior Night on Friday, Oct. 6, with an approximate kickoff time of 4:30 p.m.