Photo by: Andy Wilhelm
The back-to-back CCAA regular-season and tournament double champion UC San Diego Tritons.

No. 3 UC San Diego Begins NCAA Championship Run Sunday Afternoon in La Jolla


NCAA Championship First Round
Chico State (11-5-2, 7-4-1 CCAA) vs. No. 16 Concordia (OR) (15-3-1, 11-0-1 GNAC)
Friday, Nov. 10 • 2 p.m.
Triton Soccer Stadium • La Jolla
Live VideoLive Stats

Match 20 - NCAA Championship Second Round
vs. Chico State (11-5-2, 7-4-1 CCAA) or No. 16 Concordia (OR) (15-3-1, 11-0-1 GNAC)
Sunday, Nov. 12 • 2 p.m.
Triton Soccer Stadium • La Jolla
Live VideoLive Stats

The No. 3 University of California San Diego women's soccer program begins its quest for an eighth national title at home this week, as Triton Soccer Stadium on North Campus in La Jolla serves as the host for first- and second-round matches of the 2017 NCAA Division II Championship. Fourth-seeded Chico State (11-5-2, 7-4-1 CCAA) and 16th-ranked No. 5 seed Concordia (OR) (15-3-1, 11-0-1 GNAC) contest a neutral-site first-round affair on Friday afternoon, Nov. 10, at 2 p.m. The side that advances will get the 2017 California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) regular-season and tournament double champion UC San Diego (15-2-2, 10-0-1 CCAA) on Sunday, Nov. 12, in the second round. Kickoff is set again for 2 p.m. The Tritons are the top seed in the West Region, and would host all the way through the national quarterfinal round should they advance that far into the 48-team tournament. UCSD is a perfect 11-0 at home in 2017, and enters the NCAA Championship on a 14-game (12-0-2) unbeaten run.

There will be an admission charge for both NCAA Championship matches this week at Triton Soccer Stadium. General admission is $8, with the entry fee $5 for seniors (65 and up), students (with identification), and children (7 and up). Kids six and under are admitted free. Tickets are available for purchase at the venue beginning at 1 p.m. each day. Parking will be free on both days, as Friday is a University holiday. Parking is available behind the spectator stand, and inside the Hopkins Parking Structure adjacent to RIMAC.

The first 500 UC San Diego students, with identification, this Sunday afternoon will be admitted free of charge.

Both matches this week will feature a live video stream, free to all, on Broadcasts are in high definition and can be viewed from smartphones and tablets alongside desktop and laptop computers. Local media personalities Taylor Quellman (@TJQuellman) and Miles Himmel (@mileshimmel) will call Friday and Sunday's action, respectively. 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).

• Nov. 7 (Final Regular Season): 3 (1st in West)
• Oct. 31: 3 (1st in West)
• Oct. 24: 7 (2nd in West)
• Oct. 17: 8 (2nd in West)
• Oct. 10: 8 (2nd in West)
• Oct. 3: 7 (2nd in West)
• Sept. 26: 7 (2nd in West)
• Sept. 19: 10 (2nd West)
• Sept. 12: 19 (3rd in West)
• Sept. 5: 9 (2nd in West)
• Preseason: 10

UC San Diego topped the official NCAA regional poll throughout all three editions prior to Monday's unveiling of the 48-team NCAA Championship field live on The Tritons' run to a record 11th CCAA Tournament title over the weekend kept them in the No. 1 position in the West, thus keeping them at home throughout their involvement in the NCAA tournament over the first two weeks, as well as giving them a first-round bye. UCSD's thrilling win over Sonoma State in Sunday's CCAA final, combined with defending national champion Western Washington's double-overtime win over Concordia (OR) in the GNAC tourney final the day before, vaulted the Vikings over the Seawolves, from third to second. Western Washington is thus hosting the other side of the six-team West Regional. Third-seeded Sonoma State faces sixth-seeded Pacific West Conference (PacWest) champion California Baptist on Thursday, Nov. 9, at 1 p.m., with the victor taking on WWU on Saturday at 1 p.m. All three West Region conferences in the CCAA, GNAC and PacWest had automatic qualifiers once again this year. The CCAA and GNAC's automatic qualifiers are their tournament champions.

UCSD won two games to net a third straight CCAA Tournament championship and record 11th overall, in front of the home fans in La Jolla. In the semifinal round in primetime on Friday night, a third meeting with city rival Cal State San Marcos went the Tritons' way despite five veteran starters being unavailable. True freshman Maddy Samilo turned in a perfect left-sided cross by junior winger Summer Bales for the lone goal at 66:40. Angelica Ramos had a pair of saves for her 12th shutout. Then in an instant classic in Sunday's final, UC San Diego outlasted No. 23 Sonoma State, 4-3, remarkably getting all four goals via set-piece headers, with two on corner kicks and two on free kicks. Elisa Martinez provided three of those, and Bales the other. The goals themselves were by Mary Reilly for openers, Caitlin McCarthy and Katie O'Laughlin with equalizers, and finally a dramatic winner with only 34 seconds left in regulation by the brightest of the Tritons' many stars on the weekend, redshirt sophomore Natalie Saddic.

The Tritons are in search of an eighth national title. The first five came during the NCAA Division III days, with the last two coming in UCSD's first two seasons at the Division II level (2000, 2001). UCSD is making its 15th Division II tourney appearance in its 18th year since moving to Division II. The Tritons take a record of 24-11-3 (.673) in NCAA Division II Championship games heading into Sunday. They have six Division II West Region crowns, but none since 2012. UCSD previously was 37-8-2 (.809) in 14 NCAA appearances in Division III.

Coming to La Jolla this week are UCSD's CCAA rival, Chico State, and No. 16 Concordia of Portland, Ore., the latter squad making its NCAA Championship debut in its first season of eligibility. The Tritons blanked Chico State 3-0 at home in both teams' CCAA opener back on Sept. 15. They have never met Concordia. Chico State defeated the Cavaliers, 2-0, in Portland on Sept. 2. The Tritons are 1-1 against Chico State in NCAA Championship games, with a 1-0 home loss in the second round in 2011 after a 2-1 victory, also in the second round, in 2009. In fact, Chico State is coming to La Jolla for a third straight NCAA Championship, and should it advance into Sunday, will have faced the Tritons in the second round all three times. This is a seventh NCAA appearance for Chico State, and first since that 2011 visit to La Jolla. The 'Cats are 2-3-6 in their six prior NCAA runs. UCSD is 24-11-3 in its Division II tournament history.

Legendary UC San Diego head coach Brian McManus needs just one more win to give him 500 for his outstanding 31-year tenure in charge of the Tritons. Only four others in the history of NCAA women's soccer have reached the milestone, in North Carolina's Anson Dorrance (824), UConn's Len Tsantiris (570), William Smith's Aliceann Wilber (553) and The College of New Jersey's Joe Russo (500), with those reflected totals through Nov. 10. Russo achieved win No. 500 last Friday, Nov. 3, with No. 1 TCNJ a perfect 18-0 heading into the NCAA Division III Championship. Tsantiris announced his retirement on Tuesday.

UC San Diego is a perfect 11-0 in La Jolla in 2017, and a winner of 17 straight home games dating back to a 1-0 defeat to Colorado School of Mines on Sept. 11, 2016. Eleven marks the Tritons' most home wins since going 11-0-1 in 2006. They went 15-1 in La Jolla in 2001 en route to winning its second straight Division II national title, at Triton Soccer Stadium. The only time that UC San Diego has completed a home season unbeaten and untied in its Divison II era, was in its first year at that level in 2000, winning the national championship in Miami Shores, Fla.

The Tritons earned a record 11th CCAA Tournament title and third in a row at home last Sunday. They made a 17th CCAA Tournament appearance, more than any other current member, in their 18th season in the conference. UCSD only missed the event in 2013. UCSD has won seven straight tourney matches, by an aggregate score of 18-6, since a 2-0 loss at Cal Poly Pomona in the first round on Nov. 2, 2014. UCSD is now 21-4-4 (.793) over its 17 appearances. The Tritons have won the event all four times they have hosted it, in 2001, 2006, 2008 and 2017.

UCSD is an unbeaten 24-0-1 in its last 25 CCAA games and 32-0-2 over the last 34 matches against CCAA opposition, since a 1-0 loss at Sonoma State on Oct. 18, 2015. The Tritons had won 23 straight league matches prior to a 1-1 draw at Cal State East Bay on Oct. 26, and 29 straight games against CCAA foes before a scoreless tie at Cal State San Marcos on Oct. 21. UCSD has held a 78-11 scoring advantage and trailed in only three of those 34 matches. Last season, 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, 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. UCSD is the first team in CCAA women's history to post back-to-back unbeaten league slates.

UC San Diego student-athletes have picked up a number of awards over the past week. For postseason conference honors, Natalie Saddic was named the CCAA Defensive Player of the Year, with Angelica Ramos the CCAA Newcomer of the Year. Brian McManus is the CCAA Coach of the Year for a record seventh time and second straight. Saddic was joined on the All-CCAA First Team by Aimee Ellis, Jordyn McNutt, Katie O'Laughlin and Mary Reilly, with Summer Bales, Brie Diaz and Elisa Martinez making the second team and Ramos gaining All-CCAA honorable mention. On Sunday, Saddic added CCAA Tournament Most Valuable Defensive Player distinction, with O'Laughlin the Most Valuable Offensive Player. Bales, Martinez, Reilly and Caitlin McCarthy were also chosen to the CCAA All-Tournament Team.

UCSD senior Katie O'Laughlin and junior Mary Reilly, two 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 66 career goals, 35 and 31, respectively, including exactly 50 in 2015 and 2016, 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. They both started their 2017 accounts over the opening weekend, with O'Laughlin finding the target once in both games and Reilly providing the first in a 2-1 victory over Central Washington. O'Laughlin added a 58th-minute tally in that match that was the 30th of her career and proved to be her 10th game-winner. The duo shares the team lead at seven goals apiece. Reilly's 30th was the double-overtime winner at Humboldt State on Oct. 13. She (74) and O'Laughlin (70) are again 1-2 in the CCAA in shots.

On Oct. 10, redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Angelica Ramos became the second Triton to earn CCAA Player of the Week distinction for 2017. She produced four saves in each of two 1-0 victories, at home against CSUSM and SF State. Ramos thus stretched her individual shutout streaks to five-plus games and 500:25 of action, which got up to as high as 515:36. Her 0.611 goals-against average ranks second in the CCAA, fourth in the West Region and 27th in Division II. She has 12 individual clean sheets.

Through this current 14-game unbeaten streak (12-0-2), UCSD has surrendered six scores, the first an own goal at Cal State Dominguez Hills on Sept. 22. Goalkeeper Angelica Ramos has kept 12 individual clean sheets, including five straight from Sept. 24-Oct. 6 and 10 over these last 14 games. The three-person back line has consisted of seniors Makenzie Brito, Aimee Ellis and Brie Diaz, true freshmen Delaney Whittet and Natalie Widmer due to injuries, and redshirt sophomore Natalie Saddic, who played holding central midfielder for the first 17 games and center back during the CCAA Tournament. The Tritons' longest shutout stretch of the season has been five-plus games and 515:36 in all from Sept. 22-Oct. 13. Their 0.611 team goals-against average ranks second in the CCAA, fourth in the West Region and 27th in Division II.

Eight Tritons made their first appearance during the first weekend, including redshirt sophomore goalie Angelica Ramos, redshirt freshman Amanda Erickson, and true freshmen Michelle Baddour, Caitlin McCarthy, Abby Ross, Maddy Samilo, Delaney Whittet and Natalie Widmer. Samilo needed just 7:02 after coming on late in the first half of the season opener, to notch her first collegiate goal, with McCarthy assisting. Though Widmer was the only newcomer to start that match, the 3-0 shutout of city rival Point Loma ended with six true freshmen on the pitch. McCarthy's first college goal was the winner in another 3-0 decision over Concordia Irvine on Sept. 5. A seventh true freshman, forward Alexis Kirson out of Las Vegas, Nev., earned her college debut against Chico State on Sept. 15, and redshirt freshman Georgia Lodge in the CCAA semifinals against Cal State San Marcos on Nov. 3.

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, garnering 144 points due largely to 12 first-place nods ... Katie O'Laughlin earned the season's first CCAA Player of the Week award for the second straight year, which marked her fourth career weekly recognition from the league office ... UCSD is 16-1-1 in season openers in the NCAA Division II era, suffering its only such defeat in 2014 at Seattle Pacific ... UCSD is 10-8 in CCAA openers, now with two straight wins after a 4-0 romp at Cal State San Marcos last season and 3-0 home victory over Chico State this year ... When UCSD fell 4-0 at 2016 national quarterfinalist Colorado Mines on Sept. 8, it marked its first loss by more than one goal since a 2-0 defeat at Cal Poly Pomona on Nov. 2, 2014 ... The Tritons have four 3-0 victories in 2017 and seven 1-0 triumphs, including four straight between Sept. 29-Oct. 6 ... They are 11-1 in one-goal games, and have been on the right side of 10 in a row ... For the fifth straight year and sixth in the last seven, UCSD recently earned the United Soccer Coaches Team Academic Award with a 3.03 combined GPA for 2016-17.

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 ... Brito, Martinez, McNutt and O'Laughlin are 2017 team captains, and all four are first-time captains ... 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, is in her third year as associate head coach and her 18th straight season as a Triton player or coach, having joined Brian McManus' staff immediately upon exhausting her eligibility.

UC San Diego was 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 were contested at Triton Soccer Stadium last Friday, Nov. 3, with the two finals on Sunday, Nov. 5. First-round matchups took place on the campuses of the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds on Oct. 31. In all four instances that UCSD has served as the host, the Triton women have won the event, in 2001, 2006, 2008 and 2017. The women's champion once again earned the CCAA's automatic berth into the NCAA Championship.

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.

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 II 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 other two All-CCAA First Team returners are winger Jordyn McNutt (San Diego/University City HS) and right back Makenzie Brito, both seniors. Senior defender 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).

UCSD 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. The Tritons won the CCAA Tournament for a second straight and record 10th time, as the top seed.

Brian McManus is in his 31st season in charge of the UC San Diego women's soccer program. With a career record of 499-90-53, he has achieved the most wins in NCAA Division II women's soccer history, and fifth-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 10 CCAA crowns and 11 tournament banners (regular-season titles in 2016 in 2017), with the Tritons advancing to the national semifinals a remarkable 15 times in his first 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 18 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.

Chico State (11-5-2, 7-4-1 CCAA) was picked for fifth in the CCAA preseason poll, and placed fourth. Last time out on Oct. 31, the Wildcats drew 1-1 at home with Cal State San Marcos in the first round of the CCAA Tournament, but were eliminated via penalty-kick tiebreaker, 5-3. They made the 48-team NCAA Championship field despite that early exit. Junior midfielder Erin Woods, the 2015 CCAA Newcomer of the Year, leads Chico State with eight goals and 21 total points. She is tied for second in the league in goals. The Wildcats, an unbeaten 8-0-2 in Chico this season, are 3-5 on the road. They are an undefeated 6-0-2 over their last eight matches. Kim Sutton is in her 17th season in charge of the Wildcats.

UCSD leads the all-time series, 14-5-4, and won 3-0 at home in both teams' 2017 CCAA opener back on Sept. 15. The Tritons were 3-1 victors at home a year ago after a decisive 4-0 triumph in Chico in 2015. The teams played to a 1-1 draw in Chico in 2014, with Katie O'Laughlin and Halima Abdelshife's goals cancelling each other out in the 14th and 68th minutes, respectively. In 2013, the teams tied in Chico, 2-2, with UCSD later winning 2-0 at home. The Tritons have gone 6-0-3 in the last nine regular-season matchups since a 2-0 loss in Chico in 2009. Chico State did, however, end UCSD's 2011 campaign in La Jolla with a 1-0 victory in the second round of the NCAA Championship.

No. 16 Concordia (15-3-1, 11-0-1 CCAA) is in the NCAA Division II Championship field for the first time, in its first season of Division II postseason eligibility. The Cavaliers, out of Portland, Ore., are the first-time GNAC regular-season champions, having posted, like UCSD, an undefeated league record, of 11-0-1. That ledger was highlighted by a 2-0 win at then-second-ranked reigning national champion Western Washington on the Vikings' Senior Day on Oct. 28. Those goals came from Hawaii natives Gabrielle Ewing in the 32nd minute and Quinn Williams in the 82nd after sophomore goalkeeper Anna Miller saved a ninth-minute penalty kick. Ewing leads the Cavaliers in goals (eight), assists (seven) and points (23). The result snapped an incredible 39-game win streak for WWU. Concordia is coming off a tough 1-0 double-overtime defeat to those same Vikings, however, at home in the GNAC tournament final last Saturday, Nov. 4. The Cavaliers are 6-1-1 outside of Portland. Grant Landy is in his 21st season in charge of the Concordia women's soccer program.

UCSD and Concordia (OR) have never met in women's soccer.

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Should UC San Diego advance past Sunday's second round, they would remain at home next weekend, hosting the South Central Region and West Region finals either on Thursday, Nov. 16, or Friday, Nov. 17, and then a national quarterfinal either on Saturday, Nov. 18, or Sunday, Nov. 19.


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