UCSD CONTROLS OWN FATE FOR CCAA BERTH WITH ONE WEEKEND LEFT
The Tritons conclude the 2013 regular season this weekend, with two wins assuring them of a 14th consecutive California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Championship berth. UCSD travels to take on Cal Poly Pomona on Friday night, Nov. 1, at 7 p.m., before hosting Cal State L.A. on Senior Day at Triton Soccer Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 3, at 2 p.m. At 6-5-5 overall and 5-4-5 in league play, the Tritons are in third in the South, four points behind leader Cal State San Bernardino and just one back of Sunday's opponent, Cal State L.A. Both games will serve to cap doubleheaders with the 17th-ranked UCSD men, and have live stats. All regular-season matches at Triton Soccer Stadium are free to attend.
SENIOR DAY SUNDAY
Prior to kickoff this Sunday, Nov. 3, fourth-year Tritons Rachel Leslie (Santee/West Hills HS), Izzy Pozurama and Laura Zellinger will be recognized on Senior Day at Triton Soccer Stadium. Leslie, Pozurama and junior All-American Cassie Callahan (Coronado/Coronado HS) are team tri-captains in 2013.
Free posters featuring both the UCSD men's and women's soccer teams together, sponsored by UCSD Dining Services and Pepsi, will be available at Triton Soccer Stadium this Sunday, Nov. 3.
NCAA POSTSEASON PROSPECTS
The NCAA's second regional polls were announced on Wednesday afternoon, with UCSD ranked No. 4 in the West for a second straight week, still behind Cal State Stanislaus, Western Washington and Sonoma State. The Tritons are just ahead of this weekend's opponents, Cal Poly Pomona and Cal State L.A., as well as Seattle Pacific, Cal State San Bernardino, UH Hilo and California Baptist. CBU has already clinched the Pacific West Conference's automatic berth into the 2013 NCAA Championship as that league's regular-season champion. The winners of the CCAA and Great Northwest Athletic Conference tournaments also receive automatic entries among six total West Region qualifiers, with the bracket set to be unveiled on Monday, Nov. 11.
AROUND THE CCAA
With two games remaining in the regular season, UCSD is still on the outside looking in at the CCAA Championship picture, but controls its own fate. The Tritons have qualified for all 13 conference tourneys since they joined the CCAA for the 2000 campaign, and are record eight-time champions. They sit alone in third place in the South Division, four points back of leader Cal State San Bernardino and just one back of Cal State L.A. and the fourth and final playoff spot, with a home date remaining against CSULA this Sunday. No. 6 Cal State Stanislaus is 11 points clear of No. 18 Sonoma State atop the North, with those two teams having each secured CCAA tourney berths already. Statistically speaking, Callahan is tied for sixth with six goals scored, and tied for seventh with 15 points. Jamie Benedetto is tied for 14th with four goals, while Kiera Bocchino is tied for 17th with three. Sophomore goalkeeper Kelcie Brodsky is fourth in saves (75), tied for sixth in shutouts (four) and seventh in save percentage (.789).
CALLAHAN LEADING TRITONS AGAIN
Callahan was named the Wilson/CCAA Player of the Week on Sept. 17 after having a hand in all four Triton goals in a pair of divisional road wins. She converted her 61st-minute penalty kick for the lone score at Cal State Dominguez Hills on Sept. 13, before assisting on Izzy Pozurama's 49th-minute equalizer and then heading in both the winner and the clincher in a 3-1 defeat of Cal State L.A. on Sept. 15. Callahan has 15 points from team bests of six goals and three assists this season. She also topped the UCSD charts in points (28), goals (10) and assists (eight) in 2012. Of her 19 career goals, no fewer than nine have come via header.
CALLAHAN ALSO EXCELLING IN THE CLASSROOM
On Thursday, Callahan was named for the second straight year to the Capital One Academic All-District Women's Soccer First Team for the NCAA Division II District 8. In 2012, she later earned third-team Academic All-America distinction. She now moves on again to the Academic All-America ballot, with those teams being announced on Monday, Nov. 25.
BOCCHINO A FIRST-TIME WEEKLY HONOREE
Bocchino was named on Oct. 15 as the Wilson/CCAA Women's Soccer Player of the Week for the week of Oct. 7-13. The redshirt freshman winger out of Laguna Hills opened the scoring in both key divisional wins at home that weekend, striking volleys in the 63rd minute against then-25th-ranked South leader Cal State San Bernardino on Oct. 11 and the 58th minute against Chico State on Oct. 13. The latter goal proved to be her first of the game-winning variety. All three of Bocchino's scores in 2013 have been right-footed volleys from inside the opposing penalty area in Triton home victories. She has added a pair of assists for eight total points.
YOUTH BEING SERVED
Fourteen of the 28 players on the 2013 UCSD roster are true freshmen after the program lost 10 seniors to graduation a year ago. Head coach Brian McManus has had at least six freshmen and sophomores, with at least three true freshmen, start all 16 matches in 2013. The Tritons started a high of five true freshmen against Humboldt State on Sept. 27. A trio of them combined on UCSD's goal to cap the 2-0 triumph over Chico State on Oct. 13, as Benedetto provided a short feed to Jessica Dang, whose right-sided cross was headed off the post and in by Devon Roncoroni (San Diego/Bonita Vista HS) for her first collegiate score. Dang, in turn, has accounted for the Tritons' last two goals, notching the equalizer from a perfect free kick with 30 seconds left in the first half of last Friday's 1-1 draw with SF State, and then Sunday's lone winner against Cal State Monterey Bay. Benedetto and fellow rookies Kristen Sampietro and Kylee Southwell have each been regular starters in 2013.
ROAD STREAK ENDED
The loss at then-ninth-ranked Cal State Stanislaus on Oct. 4 put an end to UCSD's remarkable unbeaten streak in regular-season road matches at 30. The Tritons had gone 21-0-9 in such contests since a 2-1 loss in Arcata to Humboldt State on Sept. 17, 2010. Their only defeat outside of La Jolla in all of 2012 (11-1-3) came against West Florida in the national title match in Evans, Ga. UCSD is an even 2-2-2 on the road in 2013.
In addition to having a road-heavy schedule to begin the 2013 campaign, UCSD has faced a number of top teams. The 2-1 victory over Cal State San Bernardino on Oct. 11, No. 25 at the time, marked the Tritons' fifth game against a nationally-ranked opponent, with four at home. UCSD is 2-3 in such match-ups, and an even 2-2 inside Triton Soccer Stadium. The other win was a come-from-behind, 2-1 decision over then-21st-ranked Seattle Pacific in the season opener for both West Region rivals back on Sept. 5. UCSD went 3-2-3 against ranked sides a year ago.
The Tritons' highest National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) national ranking in 2013 was No. 3 in the preseason edition ... They were last rated No. 23 on Sept. 17 ... UCSD has overturned two 1-0 halftime deficits to rally and win this season, with a 2-1 home decision in the opener vs. then-21st-ranked Seattle Pacific (9/5) and a 3-1 victory at Cal State L.A. (9/15) ... Benedetto's first collegiate goal came just 24 seconds into the 1-1 draw at CSUSB (9/22), and is believed to be the second-fastest goal in program history after recent UCSD Athletics Hall of Fame inductee Ele Johnson's goal five seconds into a 1994 NCAA postseason match with Saint Mary's University (MN).
HEAD COACH BRIAN McMANUS
McManus is in his 27th season in charge of the UCSD women's soccer program. With a career record of 440-72-47, he has achieved the second-most wins (one behind Gabe Mejail of Merrimack College) in NCAA Division II women's soccer history. McManus' career winning percentage of .829 ranks among the top 10 in college women's soccer annals, both overall and Division II only. He is fifth among all divisions in wins. McManus has directed UCSD to seven national championships and a record eight CCAA crowns, with the Tritons advancing to the national semifinals an incredible 15 times in his 26 years. Under his guidance, UCSD has qualified for the NCAA postseason all 13 seasons during the Division III days and all but one of 13 years (2004) since the move up to Division II, including the last eight in succession. The Tritons have never missed a CCAA Championship, qualifying for all 13 since joining the conference.
ABOUT THE BRONCOS
Cal Poly Pomona is 6-5-5 overall and 4-5-5 in the CCAA. The Broncos are tied with Chico State for fourth in the South, just three points back of the Tritons. They are coming off of a home split last weekend, having blanked Cal State Monterey Bay, 1-0, on an 81st-minute Hailey James goal on Friday afternoon, prior to suffering a 1-0 defeat to SF State on Sunday, that decider also coming late, in the 85th. The Broncos have managed just 13 goals over their 16 contests, with Alison Sauve, Samantha Stiles and Melissa Garcia accounting for two each. Sophomore Alex Abbott (0.81 GAA, 31 saves, four shutouts) and senior Sarah Rohman (0.96 GAA, 18 saves, three shutouts) have each seen significant time in net. Mike Dibbini is in his first season in charge of the Broncos, who are just 2-2-4 in Pomona this season.
UCSD leads the all-time series, 32-10-4. The Tritons swept the season series in each of the past four years before the teams played to a 2-2 draw in this season's first meeting in La Jolla back on Oct. 20. A first-half opener by Benedetto and 70th-minute equalizer by Callahan were sandwiched around Bronco scores for Megan Kisslan and Stiles. In 2012, UCSD won 1-0 in La Jolla and then 5-1 in Pomona. Casey Parisi's first goal in a UCSD uniform at the 70:41 mark was the decider in the first meeting. The Tritons have returned victorious from four straight trips to Pomona, outscoring CPP, 11-1, since a 2-0 defeat there on Nov. 2, 2008.
ABOUT THE GOLDEN EAGLES
Cal State L.A. is 8-5-3 overall and 6-5-3 in league play. The Golden Eagles' 1-0 overtime loss at Chico State last Sunday snapped a seven-game unbeaten streak (5-0-2). Junior transfer Amalia Arvidsson, a native of Sweden, leads CSULA with 19 points from eight goals, three of them game-winners, and three assists. Andrea Lammers has six goals, while a third junior, Heather Williams, shares the league lead with eight assists. Yi Du (0.85 GAA, 29 saves, four shutouts) is the regular goalkeeper. CSULA is the only team to have ever outpointed UCSD in the South Division standings since the Tritons joined the CCAA for the 2000 season, doing so in back-to-back years in 2009 and 2010. Isabelle Harvey, a four-time All-American as a player at USC, is in her first year directing the Golden Eagles after spending the previous seven seasons as the head coach at Cal Poly Pomona. The Golden Eagles, 5-2-1 on the road in 2013, host Cal State Dominguez Hills on Friday evening prior to heading down to La Jolla on Sunday.
UCSD leads the all-time series, 16-8-1, and has won three straight. The Tritons took this season's earlier meeting, 3-1, in Los Angeles on Sept. 15, overturning a 1-0 halftime deficit through a Pozurama equalizer and two Callahan goals. UCSD swept the home-and-home set a year ago, both by one-goal margins. The Tritons won a thriller in Los Angeles, 2-1, thanks to a free-kick goal with just three seconds left in double overtime, after Callahan had tied it via header in the 54th minute. In La Jolla in mid-October, Pozurama's lone goal at 9:31 held up as Brodsky kept the clean sheet with six saves.
UCSD Athletics has partnered with Advanced-Online to provide a web-based, on-demand option for UCSD apparel and merchandise. Fans have access to over 600 products that can be processed and shipped within 24 hours. Visit the site at UCSDTritonsGear.com.
THE BIG PICTURE
We want to reward you for posting your creative photos. Tweet and Instagram your pics from any UCSD Athletics event and include our #TritonsRising hashtag. At the end of every month, we'll pick our favorite photos and dole out some swag to the winners!
UCSD will learn its CCAA Championship fate this weekend. Should the Tritons qualify, they would head to Turlock on Wednesday evening, with the semifinal round set for Friday, Nov. 8.