No. 13 Tritons Begin Postseason in CCAA Tournament First Round Against SF State Tuesday Night in La Jolla
TRITONS BEGIN POSTSEASON RUN AT HOME IN PRIMETIME
The 13th-ranked University of California San Diego men's soccer program will be at home at Triton Soccer Stadium on North Campus in La Jolla throughout its involvement this week in the 2017 California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Tournament. The third-seeded Tritons (10-1-5, 7-1-3 CCAA) host No. 6 seed SF State (11-4-2, 6-4-2 CCAA) in a primetime first-round match on Tuesday, Oct. 31, at 7 p.m. The winner would advance to play No. 2 seed Cal Poly Pomona on Friday, Nov. 3. UC San Diego serves as the host for the men's and women's semifinals and finals on Friday and Sunday, Nov. 5. The Tritons are 5-1-2 at home in 2017 and an unbeaten 8-0-3 over their last 11. The regular-season meeting between the sides, also in La Jolla on Senior Night on Oct. 6, ended in a 1-1 draw as Malek Bashti and Tariq Pulskamp traded late goals over the last 10:07 of regulation.
TRITON SOCCER MATCHDAY
There will be an admission charge for all games of the 2017 CCAA Tournament at Triton Soccer Stadium. For Tuesday night's first-round game, general admission is $5, with the entry fee $2 for seniors (65 and up), students (with identification), and youth (ages 8-12). Children seven and under are admitted free. Prices will be $10 and $5 for the semifinals and finals, with kids two and under free. Parking permits are required 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 Sunday.
CCAA TOURNAMENT ON UCSDTRITONS.TV
The entirety of the 2017 CCAA Tournament will feature a live video stream, free to all, 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 for Tuesday's first-round tilt and Friday's men's semifinals. 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 tournament results.
Last Wednesday marked the unveiling of the second official NCAA regional polls, with UCSD staying in second behind undefeated California Baptist, and ahead of Simon Fraser, Cal Poly Pomona, Chico State, Point Loma, Notre Dame de Namur and Cal State LA. The top six teams in the final edition of those rankings, qualify for the NCAA Championship. The third release is set for this Wednesday, Nov. 1. The 38-team NCAA field will be unveiled next Monday, Nov. 6, at 3:30 p.m. PT, live on NCAA.com. For the very first time, there are automatic qualifiers for the men's tournament, including all three West Region conferences in the CCAA, Great Northwest Athletic Conference and Pacific West Conference. The CCAA's automatic qualifier will be the tournament champion. The other two leagues do not have tourneys.
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. On Oct. 17, UCSD jumped back into the national poll, at No. 19, as the only CCAA representative, and moved up from fifth to third in the United Soccer Coaches West Region listing. The Tritons are No. 13 as of Oct. 31, and second in the West.
A LOOK BACK AT LAST WEEK
UCSD rallied from an early 1-0 deficit to win for a second straight game, 4-1 at Cal State East Bay last Thursday, Oct. 26, before settling for a difficult 0-0 draw at Cal State Monterey Bay on the final day of the regular season on Saturday. Jonathan Sabouri starred at East Bay, collecting his first collegiate hat trick and the first by a Triton freshman in at least 30 years, and possibly ever. All four UCSD goals, including what proved to be the winner from senior Uly de la Cal, came within a span of just 12:02 around the halftime interval. Malek Bashti and de la Cal each had assists in the contest. With other results, it turned out that a victory at CSUMB on Saturday would give the Tritons a second successive CCAA regular-season crown, as well as the top seed for the CCAA Tournament and a first-round bye. They were unable to find that goal, however, and took up the No. 3 seed. Pedro Enciso made two saves for his seventh individual shutout.
CCAA TOURNAMENT HISTORY
UC San Diego is making its 10th CCAA Tournament appearance and program-best fifth straight. The Tritons brought home their first tourney banner as the top seed a year ago in Turlock, edging Cal State San Bernardino, 1-0, before a dramatic overtime victory, 2-1, over Sonoma State in the final on Sam Palano's historic goal. UCSD previously fell 3-1 in a first-round tilt at Cal State LA in 2015. The Tritons played Stanislaus State to a scoreless deadlock through 110 minutes in La Jolla in 2014, before being eliminated via penalty-kick tiebreaker, 5-4. UCSD was edged 1-0 by CSULA in the 2013 final in Turlock, after a come-from-behind 2-1 semifinal triumph over rival Chico State on Malek Bashti's overtime strike. The Tritons previously qualified for four consecutive installments from 2002-05, after earning an initial berth in their inaugural year in Division II and the CCAA in 2000. UCSD has gone 4-6-2 (.417) in the event, being eliminated on four occasions in the semifinal round, with a 5-1 defeat to Chico State in its first CCAA final in 2003 in Carson. The Tritons have never met SF State in CCAA tourney play.
2016 - Warrior Stadium, Turlock
Semifinal - UC San Diego 1, Cal State San Bernardino 0
Championship - UC San Diego 2, Sonoma State 1 (OT)
2015 - Jesse Owens Stadium, Los Angeles
First Round - Cal State LA 3, UC San Diego 1
2014 - Triton Soccer Stadium, La Jolla
First Round - UC San Diego 0, Stanislaus State 0 (2OT) (STAN advanced on penalty kicks, 5-4)
2013 - Warrior Stadium, Turlock
Semifinal - UC San Diego 2, Chico State 1 (OT)
Championship - Cal State L.A. 1, UC San Diego 0
2005 - Warrior Soccer Field, Turlock
Semifinal - Sonoma State 3, UC San Diego 1
2004 - Toro Field, Carson
Semifinal - CSU Bakersfield 1, UC San Diego 1 (CSUB advanced on penalty kicks, 3-1)
2003 - Toro Field, Carson
Semifinal - UC San Diego 2, Cal State Dominguez Hills 1
Championship - Chico State 5, UC San Diego 1
2002 - Luchessi Park, Petaluma
Semifinal - Cal State Dominguez Hills 1, UC San Diego 0
2000 - Toro Field, Carson
Semifinal - Sonoma State 4, UC San Diego 1
CCAA TOURNAMENT SYNOPSIS
Results on Friday, Oct. 20, clinched a fifth straight CCAA Tournament berth for UC San Diego, with losses by Cal State San Bernardino and later Cal State LA at Humboldt State, 2-1, in the final match of the day on Sunday, Oct 22, assuring the Tritons of at least one more home date for 2017. The No. 3 seed Tritons will host No. 6 seed SF State on Tuesday, Oct. 31, at 7 p.m. The winner plays No. 2 seed Cal Poly Pomona on Friday, Nov. 3, at Triton Soccer Stadium. If UCSD advances, that game will be at 1:30 p.m. If SF State moves on, it will remain at 11 a.m. as the original bracket stipulates. On the other side, No. 4 seed Chico State hosts No. 5 seed Cal State LA, also on Tuesday, at 4 p.m. That winner plays top-seeded regular-season champion Cal State Dominguez Hills on Friday, either at 11 a.m. or 1:30 p.m. The CCAA Tournament men's championship game is set for an 11:30 a.m. kickoff in La Jolla on Sunday, Nov. 5. For the very first time, the tourney champion will earn automatic entry into the 38-team NCAA Championship field.
HAT TRICK HERO
In last Thursday's 4-1 victory at Cal State East Bay, Jonathan Sabouri turned in the first hat trick by a Triton since Scott MacBride at Cal State Monterey Bay in the 2012 season finale on Oct. 28. Coming in just 12:02 around the halftime break, it was the 15th recorded hat trick going back through the 1987 season, when game-by-game records were available. None of them were by a true freshman, and indeed, Sabouri's may very well have been the very first hat trick by a UCSD freshman in program history. The Carlsbad product out of San Dieguito High School Academy thus now leads the team with six goals.
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 still 5-1-2 at home this season, after finishing an unbeaten 12-0-1 there in 2016 and 5-1-2 inside the friendly confines in 2015. They are 63-21-17 (.708) in La Jolla under Jon Pascale. UCSD is 19-1-4 (.875) in its last 24 at Triton Soccer Stadium, since a 2-1 loss to Stanislaus State on Sept. 27, 2015.
UCSD has given up 13 goals in 2017 after 248:31 of shutout soccer to begin the season. The Tritons are thus now first in the CCAA, second in the West Region and 19th nationally with a 0.747 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).
100 WINS FOR PASCALE
The 1-0 home victory over city rival Cal State San Marcos on Wednesday night, Oct. 4, meant career win No. 100 for 10th-year head coach Jon Pascale. The three-time and reigning CCAA Coach of the Year begins the week with records of 103-50-38 overall and 72-40-27 in CCAA play.
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 is tied for third on the team with two others at three goals each, over 15 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 on Friday, Sept. 22. The Tritons went on to win it, 2-1.
Eight of UCSD's 16 games in 2017 have gone into overtime, with dramatic road wins at APU and Cal State San Marcos and five double-overtime draws around a thrilling home win over Cal Poly Pomona on Sept. 29. UCSD is thus an unbeaten 3-0-5 in such games this year and 8-0-19 in overtime contests since its last such loss in 2014.
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 ... For the fifth straight year and sixth in the last seven, UCSD recently earned the United Soccer Coaches Team Academic Award with a 3.29 combined GPA for 2016-17.
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 exhilarating 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 have done it two more times, both against traditional rivals who were nationally-ranked at the time, at No. 19 Cal State Dominguez Hills on Sept. 22 with two goals over the final 10:22 of regulation, and then at home in overtime against No. 17 Cal Poly Pomona on Sept. 29. UCSD also fell behind 2-0 at home to Concordia on Sept. 9 before storming back for a 2-2 draw, and 1-0 at Cal State San Marcos on Oct. 20 and at Cal State East Bay on Oct. 26 prior to pulling out a 3-2 decision in double overtime and 4-1 win, respectively.
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 this Friday, Nov. 3, with the two finals set for Sunday, Nov. 5. First-round matchups 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. Significantly for the first time this year, the men's champion will earn an automatic berth into the NCAA Championship.
CCAA FORMAT UNCHANGED
For the fourth year in a row, the CCAA slate consisted 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. Two games, however, were canceled due to the wildfires in Sonoma County, which necessitated a change this year only, to standings based on points per game.
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 103-50-38 (.639) overall record in his 10th year in charge of the UC San Diego men's soccer program. He is 72-40-27 (.615) 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 now earned five 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. The 1-0 home victory over Cal State San Marcos this season back on Oct. 4 was career win No. 100.
ABOUT THE GATORS
SF State (11-4-2, 6-4-2 CCAA) was picked seventh in the CCAA preseason poll, and finished in a tie for fifth with Cal State LA, losing out to the Golden Eagles for the No. 5 seed due to a 1-0 head-to-head loss in Los Angeles on Oct. 15. The Gators are 5-3-2 outside of San Francisco in 2017. A 1-0 home win over Sonoma State last Saturday, on a 48th-minute goal by Aydan Bowers, clinched a first postseason berth for SF State since 1978. The Gators in fact enter Tuesday night's match a winner of three straight, by an aggregate score of 12-3. Ranier Plantinos is the team leader with 12 goals. Former Cal standout and assistant coach Javier Ayala-Hil is in his second year in charge at SF State.
UCSD leads the all-time series, 11-5-5, after this season's regular-season draw, 1-1, also in La Jolla on Senior Night back on Oct. 6. Malek Bashti and Tariq Pulskamp traded late goals over the final 10:07 of regulation that night. Last year's meeting in San Francisco saw the Tritons rally from 1-0 down to win, 2-1. They did that seven times on the year. Justice Duerksen (78:57) and Uly de la Cal (81:08) scored the goals. The 2015 match ended as a scoreless draw in La Jolla. UCSD fell 2-0 in 2014 in San Francisco. The Tritons were 2-1 victors at home in 2013. In 2012, UCSD won 1-0 in La Jolla before the sides played to a goalless stalemate in San Francisco. The teams faced each other twice in 2011 as well, as fellow members of the CCAA South, with the Tritons pulling off a sweep. UCSD was an unbeaten 6-0-2 against SF State over eight matchups prior to 2014.
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FOR THE YOUNGER CROWD
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Should UC San Diego advance past Tuesday night's first-round tilt, it would take on No. 2 seed Cal Poly Pomona on Friday, Nov. 3, at Triton Soccer Stadium in La Jolla. Kickoff for that second CCAA Tournament semifinal is slated for 1:30 p.m. If SF State moves on, the Gators would face CPP at 11 a.m.