TURLOCK, Calif. - Seven members of the 16th-ranked UC San Diego men’s soccer team were recognized by the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) when postseason awards were announced during a banquet Thursday night on the Cal State Stanislaus campus ahead of Friday’s start to the 2013 CCAA Championships.
Alec Arsht, Andisheh Bagheri and Josh Cohen each earned spots on the 11-player All-CCAA First Team. A fourth Triton senior, Taylor Wirth (Escondido/La Costa Canyon HS), was chosen to the All-CCAA Second Team.
Cohen was favored by league head coaches for a second straight season as the CCAA Most Valuable Defensive Player. The Sunnyvale product becomes the second standout to garner the award twice, after Cal State Dominguez Hills’ Kevin Gallaugher took home the first two in 2008 and 2009. Tritons have now picked up the award in three out of the six years that it has existed, with Jared Kukura the 2010 honoree.
Sixth-year UCSD head coach Jon Pascale, like Cohen, was a repeat individual award winner, being selected by his peers as the CCAA Coach of the Year for the second straight season. Pascale has thus far in 2013, led the program to its most overall wins in nearly two decades at 13-2-3, and the most CCAA wins in program history with a final league ledger of 11-2-3.
UCSD has earned its first postseason appearance since 2005, with the second-seeded Tritons set to take on 24th-ranked and third-seeded rival Chico State in Friday’s first CCAA semifinal. Kickoff at Warrior Stadium is set for 11 a.m.
Junior striker Alessandro Canale, senior center back Gavin Lamming and redshirt freshman right back Brett Sampiere (Solana Beach/Torrey Pines HS) all earned All-CCAA honorable mention. Lamming was an All-CCAA Second Team pick in 2012.
Arsht, a center back out of Oak Park, made it on to the first team for the second year in a row after gaining honorable mention as a sophomore in 2011. Bagheri was a second-team selection a season ago and currently leads the Tritons with 10 goals, including nine in league contests, with five of those of the game-winning variety.
Cohen is a first-time first-teamer after being named to the second team last season.
Pascale is the first back-to-back CCAA Coach of the Year since current Sonoma State head coach Marcus Ziemer was designated as such in 2006 and 2007.
The Tritons are in search of their first conference crown in Turlock this weekend.