Defend the Rank, Extend the Streak: No. 1 UC San Diego Goes Up Against No. 24 Sonoma State Friday, Humboldt Sunday
TRITONS JUMP BACK INTO CCAA PLAY WITH HOME PAIR
The now-top-ranked University of California San Diego women's soccer program rejoins California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) activity for good this week, wrapping up a season-long five-match homestand. The Tritons (7-0-1, 2-0 CCAA) host fellow nationally-ranked unbeaten Sonoma State (5-0-3, 3-0-1 CCAA) on Friday night, Sept. 28. Kickoff against the No. 24 Seawolves is set for 4:30 p.m. UC San Diego then welcomes in Humboldt State (3-4-1, 1-3 CCAA) on Sunday, Sept. 30, at 11:30 a.m. Both matches will open doubleheaders with the 13th-ranked, also-undefeated UC San Diego men, who are an identical 7-0-1 overall. Admission is free for all regular-season contests at Triton Soccer Stadium on North Campus in La Jolla.
In the CCAA's preseason poll, UC San Diego was the favorite for a third straight year (seven first-place votes), with Sonoma State right behind in second (five first-place votes), and Humboldt State 11th. The Tritons are one of three unbeatens left in the conference in terms of overall record, alongside the Seawolves and Chico State (4-0-4, 3-0-1 CCAA). They are 26-0-1 over their last 27 CCAA contests, a conference-record streak without a loss, and 35-0-2 for their last 37 against league foes in all competitions. UC San Diego is the only school in Division II with both soccer teams in the top 15 of the latest United Soccer Coaches national poll.
TRITON SOCCER MATCHDAY
Once again in 2018, 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, which are behind the spectator stand, and the Hopkins Parking Structure adjacent to RIMAC. Parking is free on Saturday and Sunday. By University policy, pets are not allowed at Triton Soccer Stadium, with the exception of service animals.
Welcome back, students!!! The Tuesday, Sept. 25, women's volleyball match was the first athletic event of the year with all students back on campus, the first-ever athletic event inside of a renovated RIMAC Arena, and the first outing in the Triton Trifecta, which is open to all UC San Diego students. Get to all three of the following events and you'll win a gameday t-shirt at Friday's men's match, and be entered in a drawing for a new big screen television!
1. Attend the volleyball match on Tuesday, Sept. 25, at RIMAC Arena
2. Attend the men's water polo game on Wednesday, Sept. 26, at Canyonview Aquatic Center
3. Attend the men's soccer game on Friday, Sept. 28 (7 p.m.), at Triton Soccer Stadium
TRITON SOCCER ON UCSDTRITONS.TV
All UC San Diego home games in 2018 feature a live pay-per-view video stream on UCSDtritons.tv. The cost is $5.99 for a 24-hour window, meaning one fee for doubleheaders, and $34.99 for the entire 2018-19 academic year, to include other Triton athletics teams. Broadcasts are in high definition and can be viewed from smartphones and tablets alongside desktop and laptop computers. Seth Smith (@ItsSethESmith) handles the play-by-play duties. 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 UC San Diego Athletics Twitter handle (@UCSDtritons). You can also check out in-match Instagram stories on the UC San Diego Athletics account (@ucsdtritons). Finally, check out the CCAA live scoreboard here to keep up on results around the league.
UC SAN DIEGO IN THE UNITED SOCCER COACHES POLL
• Sept. 25: 1 (1st in West)
• Sept. 18: 2 (1st in West)
• Sept. 11: 2 (1st in West)
• Sept. 4: 2 (1st in West)
• Preseason: 5
A LOOK BACK AT LAST WEEK
UC San Diego blanked city and CCAA rival Cal State San Marcos in its non-conference finale and lone match of last week, 2-0 at home on Saturday night. The goals were by Mary Reilly in the first half, and Maddy Samilo early in the second. Reilly's was her league-best seventh of the season and milestone 40th of her career, coming from a tremendous, left-footed, 30-yard pass down the left flank by sophomore left back Delaney Whittet. Natalie Saddic and Summer Bales set up Samilo on the 48th-minute second, with Saddic's assist the first of her career, and Bales' her league-leading fourth. Angelica Ramos kept her third clean sheet in net.
ATOP THE POLL!
On Tuesday, UC San Diego took over the No. 1 position in the United Soccer Coaches Division II national poll. It marked the Tritons' first No. 1 ranking since Sept. 2, 2002. Triton great and current coach Kristin Jones was an All-American junior forward on that team, which began the year as the two-time defending Division II national champion. Reigning national champion Central Missouri had its 32-game win streak (perfect 26-0 for first crown last year) snapped at Missouri Western in St. Joseph, Mo., last Friday, 1-0, moving undefeated UC San Diego up from the No. 2 spot.
UC San Diego's current 25-game unbeaten run, at 21-0-4, is a new record for its Division II history, since 2000. The Tritons won 22 consecutive matches from Sept. 24, 2000, through Sept. 12, 2001, both of those campaigns ending in national titles. The longest unbeaten stretch all-time for UC San Diego is a 27-gamer (24-0-3) from Oct. 12, 1992, through Nov. 7, 1993, both years ending in Division III third-place finishes. The Tritons can match that this weekend. They posted another lengthy 19-gamer (16-0-3) during the 2010 national runner-up year, from Sept. 19 through the Dec. 2 semifinals.
UC San Diego is an unbeaten 26-0-1 in its last 27 CCAA games and 35-0-2 over the last 37 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 last Oct. 26, and 29 straight games against CCAA foes before a scoreless tie at Cal State San Marcos last Oct. 21. UC San Diego has held a 88-13 scoring advantage and trailed in only three of those 37 matches. In 2016, the Tritons completed their league slate unbeaten and untied for the first time since joining the CCAA in 2000, at a perfect 12-0. It marked the first such effort by a CCAA squad since Sonoma State went 14-0 in 1998. UC San Diego 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. UC San Diego is the first team in CCAA women's soccer history to post back-to-back unbeaten league slates. The current 27-game run is a league record.
UC San Diego is an undefeated 23-0-1 over its last 24 home matches, dating back to a 1-0 defeat to then-sixth-ranked Colorado School of Mines on Sept. 11, 2016. The Tritons wound up 13-0-1 in La Jolla in 2017. They were winners of 19 straight at home ahead of a 1-1 draw with UC-Colorado Springs in last year's national quarterfinals, eliminated via penalty-kick tiebreaker. Thirteen marked UC San Diego's most home wins since going 15-1 in La Jolla in 2001 en route to winning its second straight Division II national title, at Triton Soccer Stadium. The only other times the Tritons have completed a home season unbeaten in their Divison II era, were 2006 (11-0-1), 2002 (9-0-1) and 2000 (12-0). Around that 2016 meeting with Mines, UC San Diego is 31-0-2 in La Jolla since its last home loss to an unranked team, a 3-2 overtime defeat to Cal State San Bernardino on Sept. 20, 2015.
Fourth-year senior striker Mary Reilly was named Sept. 18 as the United Soccer Coaches Division II and CCAA Player of the Week, both for the second time in her career. That was after her five-goal outburst in a pair of wins to open league play at home. Reilly's four-goal effort (watch here) in the 6-1 romp over Cal State Monterey Bay on Sept. 14, matched her career high, and marked her top output at Triton Soccer Stadium, having previously hit for four as a freshman at Cal State Dominguez Hills on Oct. 2, 2015. The performance included a first-half hat trick in a span of just 19:27, and bumped Reilly up over former strike partner (2015-17) Katie O'Laughlin (37) as the program's all-time goals leader for its NCAA Division II era, since 2000. The Chula Vista product began the year tied for 11th on the all-time chart, and is now tied for sixth, with 40 career tallies. That milestone 40th was the opening winner in a 2-0 non-conference home defeat of Cal State San Marcos (9/22). Reilly leads the CCAA for a fourth straight year in shots (37), as well as in goals (seven), points (14) and game-winning goals (tied-three). She got up over 300 shots for her career in that CSUSM match, now at 304.
SADDIC A STAR
Redshirt junior Natalie Saddic may not get the statistical recognition from her holding central midfield position, but the first-year Triton co-captain is again the anchor of the nation's top-ranked team. The 2017 unanimous All-American is UC San Diego's only player who has not come off the field, playing all 740 minutes thus far and leading three team shutouts through eight matches. Offensively, Saddic helped set up both goals in a 2-0 home victory over city rival Cal State San Marcos (9/22), gaining credit for her first collegiate assist on the latter score.
Fourth-year senior striker Megumi Barber, starting for the first time in her career, has laid claim to some memorable, terrific goals for the Tritons. Of her eight career tallies, the last six of them, including both thus far in 2018, have been right-footed strikes from distance. Click here for the midfield strike at Division I Hawai'i (9/7), and here for the free-kick banger against Cal State Monterey Bay (9/14).
UC San Diego is 17-1-1 in season openers in its NCAA Division II era (since 2000), suffering the lone defeat in 2014 at Seattle Pacific. The Tritons have outscored their opponents, 12-2, in four consecutive wins since. They are 11-8 in CCAA openers, with three straight wins through comfortable decisions at Cal State San Marcos (4-0) in 2016, against Chico State (3-0) a year ago, and over CSUMB (6-1) on Sept. 14, the latter two at home.
CCAA FAVORITES FOR THIRD YEAR RUNNING
Two-time defending CCAA regular-season champion UC San Diego is again the favorite to retain its crown in the 2018 preseason coaches' poll. The Tritons, also the three-time reigning CCAA Tournament champions, accumulated 136 points and seven first-place votes. UC San Diego went a perfect 12-0 during the 2016 CCAA season, and followed that up with a 10-0-1 ledger in 2017. Sonoma State, whom the Tritons edged in a thrilling 2017 CCAA final in La Jolla, 4-3, was second with 129 points and five first-place votes. Cal State LA, the 2016 tourney finalist, was third (126) with the remaining first-place nod.
Sophomores Michelle Baddour, Alexis Kirson and transfer Mia Bonifazi, along with true freshmen Ashlynn Kolarik and Christina Oddone, have notched their first collegiate goals this season. Kolarik and Oddone have been joined by Sophia Bruno, Emily Killeen, Hana Law, Marissa Ray and Lucy Tang as true freshmen to play their first collegiate games. Bonifazi made her first Triton appearance in the opener. Sydney Davey, a third-year Triton who had to sit out each of her first two seasons through separate injuries, earned her college debut in the CCAA opener against Cal State Monterey Bay.
The Tritons have used the exact same starting lineup for each of this season's first eight contests ... UC San Diego has surrendered just 13 goals during this current 25-game unbeaten run (21-0-4) going back to last season, with an own goal, penalty kick and free kick among them, and posted 14 shutouts ... The Tritons have come out on the right side of 16 straight one-goal decisions, finishing 12-1 in such games a year ago, and with five of their seven wins this season of the one-goal variety ... UC San Diego is 7-0-3 over its last 10 matches away from home ... The Tritons have nine 1-0 victories during this 25-game undefeated run ... At the conclusion of a fourth-ever trip to Hawai'i, UC San Diego is an unbeaten 7-0-1 on O'ahu, outscoring opponents, 16-3 ... The Tritons' 2-1 victory at Hawai'i on Sept. 7 marked their first date with a Division I program in over two decades, since a 3-0 home win, also over UH on Oct. 19, 1997 ... Prior to the meeting with Hawai'i Hilo on Sept. 9, UC San Diego had last held an opponent without a single shot attempt in a 2-0 home decision over Cal State LA on Oct. 14, 2016.
UC San Diego's 30-player 2018 roster has just three seniors in fourth-year team members Summer Bales, Megumi Barber and Mary Reilly, though Kelsey Kimball is a listed redshirt junior, also in her fourth year at the school ... Bales and Natalie Saddic are first-time team co-captains in 2018 ... Thirteen newcomers have joined the program, including 12 true freshmen ... Eight players are from San Diego, in Saddic (San Diego/Torrey Pines HS), Michelle Baddour (San Diego/University City HS), Megumi Barber (San Diego/Mt. Carmel HS), Sydney Davey (La Jolla/La Jolla HS), Caitlin McCarthy (Carlsbad/Carlsbad HS), Christina Oddone (Carlsbad/Carlsbad HS), Mary Reilly (Chula Vista/Hilltop HS) and Maddy Samilo (Rancho Bernardo/Rancho Bernardo HS) ... Sophomore forwards Mia Bonifazi (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) and Alexis Kirson (Las Vegas, Nev.) are the only two Tritons from outside of California ... 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 UC San Diego program, is in her 19th straight season as a Triton player or coach.
CCAA TOURNAMENT REMAINS IN LA JOLLA
UC San Diego is the proud host of the 2018 CCAA Tournament semifinals and finals for the second consecutive year and fifth time in all. Two women's and two men's semifinals will be contested at Triton Soccer Stadium on Friday, Nov. 2, with the two finals set for Sunday, Nov. 4. Exact times are to be determined. First-round matchups take place on the campuses of the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds on Tuesday, Oct. 30. In all four instances that UC San Diego has served as the host, the Triton women have won the event, in 2001, 2006, 2008 and 2017. The women's champion once again earn the CCAA's automatic berth into the NCAA Championship.
CCAA FORMAT UNCHANGED
For the fifth year in a row, the CCAA slate consists 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 2018 CCAA Tournament.
2018 SEASON OUTLOOK
UC San Diego is led offensively and defensively by Mary Reilly (Chula Vista/Hilltop HS) and Natalie Saddic (San Diego/Torrey Pines HS), respectively. Reilly began a fourth and final season up top with 33 career goals, and as the CCAA's shots leader by a wide margin in each of her first three years. Saddic is back at holding central midfielder after a rash of injuries forced her to center back for the 2017 postseason. The third-year transfer from UC Davis was a unanimous All-American, and the CCAA Defensive Player of the Year and CCAA Tournament Most Valuable Defensive Player last fall. Joining Reilly as fourth-year Tritons are winger Summer Bales, forward Megumi Barber (San Diego/Mt. Carmel HS), and Kelsey Kimball, who takes over at center back after sitting out the entire 2017 season through injury. Barber is Reilly's new strike partner. True sophomores Delaney Whittet and Natalie Widmer return around Kimball at left and right back, respectively. Redshirt junior goalkeeper Angelica Ramos, the 2017 CCAA Newcomer of the Year, also is back from injury, with sophomore Katie Wilkes having taken over for the three NCAA Championship matches last November after Ramos left the CCAA final with a season-ending injury. Caitlin McCarthy (Carlsbad/Carlsbad HS) remains in central midfield, with fellow true sophomores and locals Michelle Baddour (San Diego/University City HS) and Maddy Samilo (Rancho Bernardo/Rancho Bernardo HS) slotting into the starting spots in central midfield and on the right wing, respectively. Baddour has taken over the No. 10 shirt.
UC San Diego went 17-2-3 overall and an unbeaten 10-0-1 in the CCAA a year ago. The season ended with a 17-game undefeated streak (14-0-3) as the Tritons played to a 1-1 home draw with UC-Colorado Springs in the national quarterfinals, and were eliminated via penalty-kick tiebreaker. That was after a second successive showdown with Western Washington in the West Region final, this one going to UC San Diego in front of the home crowd, 2-0, to complete its treble. The regular-season champion Tritons won the CCAA Tournament for a third straight and record 11th time, as the top-seeded host.
ABOUT THE SEAWOLVES
No. 24 Sonoma State (5-0-3, 3-0-1 CCAA) bounced back from a disappointing draw last Friday at Cal State Dominguez Hills, which was picked to finish last in the CCAA, by winning 1-0 at Cal State LA on Sunday. The lone goal in that one came unassisted from redshirt freshman Kansas State transfer Kamryn Haiber at the 82:47 mark. The tie in Carson snapped a four-game win streak for the Seawolves, who are 3-0-1 away from home. Sonoma State has not surrendered a goal in four-plus games, for a total of 451:04. Miriam Bloom, a senior central midfielder out of Encinitas (San Dieguito HS Academy) and first-team All-West Region and All-CCAA performer in 2016, is the twin sister of senior forward Nathaniel Bloom of the Triton men, but has missed the last two matches. Emiria Salzmann Dunn, the 2012 and 2015 CCAA Coach of the Year, is in her eighth year in charge at her alma mater.
UC San Diego leads the all-time series, 19-2-3. The teams most recently played to a thriller in the CCAA Tournament final in La Jolla last Nov. 5, with the Tritons rallying from a 3-2 deficit over the last 12 minutes to win 4-3. Natalie Saddic, the CCAA Tournament Most Valuable Defensive Player, notched the decider with just 34 seconds remaining in regulation. All four Triton goals were set-piece headers. Last year's regular-season meeting in Rohnert Park was canceled due to unhealthy air quality levels from extreme wildires in Sonoma County. UC San Diego earned a 2-0 home shutout in the 2016 regular-season meeting. The teams split two meetings in 2015, with SSU winning 1-0 at home during the league slate, and the Tritons producing a 3-0 triumph in the CCAA Tournament semifinals in Pomona. The result in Rohnert Park marked just the second time that the Seawolves came out on top. The Tritons took a critical 1-0 victory on the road late in the 2014 season when Sonoma State was ranked 15th. Their first defeat to SSU was in La Jolla, 3-2 on Sept. 29, 2013, the decisive goal coming in the 86th minute. The 2012 matchup in Rohnert Park ended in a goalless draw.
ABOUT THE LUMBERJACKS
Humboldt State (3-4-1, 1-3 CCAA) is coming off a road CCAA split last week, surprising Cal State LA on Friday night, 1-0, before dropping a 2-0 decision at Cal State Dominguez Hills on Sunday. Senior midfielder Alex Jenkins is second in the CCAA only to the Tritons' Mary Reilly, in both goals (tied-five) and points (11). She provided the lone score at CSULA, in the 31st minute. Paul Karver is in his sixth season in charge of the Jacks, who are 3-3-1 away from Arcata in 2018, and first play at Cal State San Marcos on Friday afternoon.
UC San Diego leads the all-time series, 14-1-2, with most recently a dramatic 2-1 double-overtime affair in Arcata last Oct. 13. Alex Jenkins put the Jacks on the board in the 16th minute, Natalie Saddic equalized in the 23rd from the penalty spot, and Mary Reilly headed in Elisa Martinez's left-sided corner kick with just 3:40 remaining in the second extra session. Prior to that, it was a 4-0 romp in La Jolla on Oct. 2, 2016. All four of those goals came in a span of 11:39 early in the second half. The Tritons took back-to-back 1-0 decisions in Arcata in 2014 and 2015, the latter through a 21st-minute Kiera Bocchino goal. The matchup in La Jolla in 2013 ended in a scoreless draw. The Tritons posted a comfortable 4-1 victory in Arcata in 2012 in a contest that did not count toward league play. HSU's lone success in the series was a 2-1 result in Arcata back in 2010.
HOMECOMING AND HALL OF FAME WEEKEND
During UC San Diego Homecoming weekend, Oct. 19-21, all-time leading scorer Heather (Mauro) Hilliard (1986-89) will be inducted into the UC San Diego Athletics Hall of Fame. She will become the third member of the women's soccer program to be so honored, after Ele Johnson (Class of 2013) and Julia Cuder (2014).
On Nov. 27, 2017, UC San Diego was officially invited to become a member of the NCAA Division I Big West Conference. The Tritons will begin a four-year reclassification period starting in the fall of 2020. They will play a full Big West schedule that season and will be eligible for the NCAA Championship in men's volleyball, men's and women's water polo, and fencing. For the 2024-25 academic year, all sports will be eligible to compete in Big West and NCAA Division I championships. Read the full press release here.
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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UC San Diego is on the road next week, first staying in San Diego County and making the short trip to Cal State San Marcos on Wednesday, Oct. 3, for a 12:30 p.m. derby. The Tritons then fly to the Bay Area to take on San Francisco State on Sunday, Oct. 7, at 11:30 a.m.
About UC San Diego Athletics
With 30 national team championships, nearly 150 individual titles and the top student-athlete graduation rate among Division II institutions in the United States, the UC San Diego intercollegiate athletics program annually ranks as one of the most successful in the country. The Tritons sponsor 23 intercollegiate sport programs that compete on the NCAA Division I and II levels and, in summer 2020, will transition into full Division I status as a member of the Big West Conference. UC San Diego student-athletes exemplify the academic ideals of one of the world's preeminent institutions, graduating at an average rate of 91 percent. A total of 80 Tritons have earned Academic All-America honors, while 36 have earned prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships. In competition, more than 1,300 UC San Diego student-athletes have earned All-America honors.
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For complete coverage and information regarding UC San Diego Athletics, follow the Tritons online at UCSDtritons.com and through social media on Twitter (@UCSDtritons), Instagram (@ucsdtritons) and Facebook (UCSDtritons).