TRITONS TAKE RECORD CCAA UNBEATEN STREAK INTO START OF TITLE DEFENSE
The No. 2 University of California San Diego women's soccer program returned from Honolulu, Hawai'i, early Monday, and is back in front of the home crowd this week with its first two California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) matches. The Tritons (4-0-1) in fact will play their next five in a row in La Jolla, through the end of this month. The two-time reigning CCAA regular-season champions play host to Cal State Monterey Bay (2-1, 0-0 CCAA) on Friday, Sept. 14, in primetime at 7 p.m., and then Cal State East Bay (5-0, 0-0 CCAA) on Sunday, Sept. 16, at 2 p.m. at Triton Soccer Stadium on North Campus. Both matches will serve as the second halves of doubleheaders with the 14th-ranked, also-undefeated (4-0) UC San Diego men. Admission is free for all regular-season games.
In the CCAA's preseason poll, UC San Diego was the favorite for a third straight year, with Cal State Monterey Bay 10th and Cal State East Bay 12th. The Tritons are one of four unbeatens left in the conference, alongside Sunday's opponent Cal State East Bay (5-0), No. 25 Sonoma State (3-0-2, 1-0 CCAA) and Chico State (1-0-3). They are 24-0-1 over their last 25 CCAA contests, a conference-record streak without a loss. UC San Diego is the only school in the NCAA Division II, with both of its 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.
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). 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. 11: 2 (1st in West)
• Sept. 4: 2 (1st in West)
• Preseason: 5
A LOOK BACK AT LAST WEEK
UC San Diego went 2-0-1 on the island of O'ahu, highlighted by a 2-1 victory at future Division I and Big West Conference opponent Hawai'i under Friday night lights through spectacular first-half goals by its senior strike pairing of Megumi Barber and Mary Reilly. Click here to view. The trip started with a 1-1 draw against Hawai'i Pacific, and ended with a 1-0 shutout of Hawai'i Hilo, the goals coming late in the first halves by true freshman midfielders Ashlynn Kolarik and Christina Oddone, respectively, the latter with just two seconds remaining in the period. Angelica Ramos did not have to make a save in notching her second individual clean sheet in the finale, as the Tritons held the Vulcans without a single shot attempt over the 90 minutes.
UC San Diego is now 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 10-8 in CCAA openers, with two straight wins after a 4-0 romp at Cal State San Marcos in 2016 and 3-0 home victory over Chico State last year.
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.
UC San Diego is an undefeated 20-0-1 over its last 21 home matches, dating back to a 1-0 defeat to 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).
UC San Diego 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 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 78-11 scoring advantage and trailed in only three of those 34 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 25-game unbeaten run is a league record.
UC San Diego's current 22-game unbeaten run, at 18-0-4, matches the longest in the program's 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 current run surpasses another lengthy 19-gamer (16-0-3) during the 2010 national runner-up year, from Sept. 19 through the Dec. 2 semifinals.
Sophomore Michelle Baddour and true freshmen Ashlynn Kolarik and Christina Oddone have notched their first collegiate goals so far this season. Kolarik and Oddone have been joined by Sophia Bruno, Emily Killeen, Hana Law and Marissa Ray as true freshmen to play their first collegiate games. Sophomore transfer Mia Bonifazi made her first Triton appearance in the opener.
UC San Diego has surrendered just 11 goals during this current 22-game unbeaten run (18-0-4) going back to last season, with an own goal and penalty kick among them, and posted 13 shutouts ... The Tritons have come out on the right side of 15 straight one-goal decisions, finishing 12-1 in such games a year ago, and with all four of their wins so far 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 22-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 OTTERS
Cal State Monterey Bay (2-1, 0-0 CCAA) comes off back-to-back 1-0 victories, over Minnesota Crookston in Nampa, Idaho, on Sept. 1, and over Biola in its home opener this past Saturday. The Otter goals came from senior Madison Aguirre in the 43rd minute, and true freshman Sierra Levy in the 27th, respectively. Those wins followed a 1-0 loss at Northwest Nazarene to begin the year. Laura VanWart is in her second season at the helm.
UC San Diego is an unbeaten 13-0-1 in the all-time series, outscoring the Otters, 41-5, with only a 1-1 draw in La Jolla on Oct. 9, 2015, as a blemish. The Tritons won 1-0 a year ago and 4-0 in 2016, both times in Seaside, with Natalie Saddic's 79th-minute penalty the difference last Oct. 28. Those results followed successive 1-0 decisions, in La Jolla in 2013 on a 54th-minute goal, and then in Seaside in 2014 through an 84th-minute penalty by Cassie Callahan. UC San Diego is 5-0-1 against CSUMB in La Jolla, and 8-0 in Seaside. The Otters had gone scoreless for 502:04 against the Tritons, with four straight shutout losses, prior to Regan Porteous's equalizer at 83:27 in 2015. Katie O'Laughlin provided the 51st-minute opener.
ABOUT THE PIONEERS
Cal State East Bay (5-0, 0-0 CCAA) is off to a perfect start, most recently with a pair of 1-0 shutouts of host Colorado Mesa and Western State Colorado University in Grand Junction, Colo., last weekend. The Pioneers will play at Cal State San Marcos on Friday afternoon in the CCAA opener for both sides, before Sunday's visit to La Jolla. True freshman goalkeeper Briana Vasquez-Ortiz, out of Long Beach, has allowed a single goal over 450 minutes thus far. Sophomore midfielder Abby Buitrago has four of East Bay's nine goals, a CCAA-best three of them game-winners. Robin Hart is in her first year in charge, having taken over for retired alumna Amy Gerace after 17 years.
UC San Diego leads the all-time series, 9-1-1, though the most recent meeting ended in a 1-1 draw in Hayward last Oct. 26, that snapped the Tritons' CCAA-record win streak at 23. Katie O'Laughlin (48th minute) and Buitrago (56th) traded second-half goals. UC San Diego produced a 6-0 romp in Hayward in 2016 and a 3-1 decision in La Jolla in 2015. Those matchups were preceded by a 5-1 thrashing in La Jolla in 2014. The Tritons had taken the first six meetings after the Pioneers joined the CCAA for the 2009 season, prior to a 2-1 overtime loss in Hayward in 2013. UC San Diego had actually taken a 1-0 lead into the final seven minutes of regulation in that one, before the home side equalized and then stole it within two minutes in the first extra period. The Tritons stormed back from a 2-0 halftime deficit to down the Pioneers in double overtime, 3-2, in Hayward in 2012. Izzy Pozurama scored the unassisted winner at 101:47 after Cassie Callahan had levelled matters in the 79th minute. UC San Diego won 5-1 in La Jolla in 2011.
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UC San Diego plays one match next week, dipping out of conference for a sixth and final time, to host CCAA and city foe Cal State San Marcos on Saturday, Sept. 22. The primetime kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Admission is free into Triton Soccer Stadium on North Campus in La Jolla. This year's in-league matchup with CSUSM will take place in San Marcos on Wednesday, Oct. 3, at 12:30 p.m.