KANSAS CITY, Kan. - The UC San Diego women’s soccer team is ranked No. 3 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)/Continental Tire NCAA Division II preseason poll, which was revealed on Tuesday morning.
The Tritons concluded the 2012 season at 17-3-4 overall and ranked No. 2 after dropping a tough 1-0 decision to West Florida in the national championship game in Evans, Ga., on Dec. 1. UCSD earlier won a record eighth California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) crown.
West Florida tops the NSCAA’s preseason list, followed by Michigan’s Grand Valley State, the team that UCSD eliminated in the NCAA semifinals, 2-1. The only other CCAA program represented in the poll is Sonoma State at No. 18.
Longtime UCSD head coach Brian McManus will have to replace 10 seniors who departed from that 2012 squad, but will have the likes of junior All-American midfielder Cassie Callahan (Coronado/Coronado HS) and All-CCAA Second Team selections Kelcie Brodsky and Izzy Pozurama back.
UCSD will open the 2013 campaign with back-to-back marquee match-ups at home in primetime, with No. 21 Seattle Pacific and No. 12 Western Washington paying visits to Triton Soccer Stadium on Thursday, Sept. 5, and Saturday, Sept. 7, respectively. Both contests have 7 p.m. kickoffs, with the Western Washington tilt being preceded by the Triton men’s team’s home opener at 4:30 p.m. against crosstown rival Point Loma Nazarene. All regular-season soccer matches at UCSD are free to attend.
Of particular intrigue in the Tritons’ start to 2013 is that they ended the 2012 season for both Seattle Pacific and Western Washington via dramatic overtime victories over each West Region rival in the NCAA Championship. UCSD outlasted SPU, 2-1, on a double-overtime Jessica Wi goal in La Jolla in a second-round meeting on Saturday, Nov. 10. The Falcons will thus be opening their new season in the exact same location as where they saw their 2012 postseason run ended.
Last Nov. 16 in Denver, Colo., a Gabi Hernandez strike just 51 seconds into the first overtime period off assists from Wi and Pozurama pushed the Tritons past then-No. 23 WWU in the West Region final, 2-1, and into the quarterfinals on their way to a second national runner-up finish in the last three years.
UCSD played a program-record 10 overtime matches in all in 2012, going 5-1-4.
In another preseason poll released just last week, the Tritons also have a No. 3 BennettRank, a new rankings entity in college soccer that will expand into college basketball in 2013-14 and omits all subjectivity (human bias), basing its prognostications strictly on actual results on the field. The UCSD women are rated No. 1 in the West Region, while the Triton men are No. 52 nationally in Division II and No. 6 in the West.
-- UCSDtritons.com --