LA JOLLA, Calif. - It's always too early to talk about the soccer
postseason in September, but the excitement surrounding this weekend's matches
with Cal State L.A. and Cal State Dominguez Hills will certainly create a playoff-like
atmosphere at Triton Soccer Field.
The Tritons, 2-0 after a pair of shutout victories last week, have risen to No.
6 in the latest Division II national poll. On Friday, UCSD will challenge No.
23 CSULA at 4:30 p.m., before taking on No. 9 CSUDH at 12 p.m. Sunday.
This weekend will mark the start of the California Collegiate Athletic
Association schedule and a strong showing would allow the Tritons to take an
early lead in the South Division race. UCSD head coach Brian McManus and his
squad are looking to reverse the fortune that the Golden Eagles and Toros took
in 2009, with the Tritons going 1-3-2 combined against the two squads. The
final draw ended in CSUDH advancing past UCSD with a penalty shootout to
capture the NCAA West Region title.
In the first two matches of the new season, the Tritons outscored their Pacific
West Conference opponents by a combined score of 8-0. UCSD posted a 6-0 shutout
of Dominican in the season opener, as newcomer Annette Ilg recorded two goals
in her collegiate soccer debut. Two days later, the Tritons topped Notre Dame
de Namur 2-0. Starting goalkeeper Kristin Armstrong has tallied 151 scoreless
minutes so far in 2010.
The Golden Eagles of CSULA are returning their top four scorers from last
season, including CCAA Offensive Player of the Year Liz Franco. In 2009 Franco
set a new Golden Eagles' record for points with 43, after totaling 13 goals and
17 assists. Through program history, CSULA owns a 6-11-1 record against UCSD.
The Golden Eagles are 1-0 in 2010 after a season-opening 3-1 victory at Cal
The Toros of CSUDH have also gotten off to an undefeated start this year, with
home victories over Concordia and Vanguard last week. Similarly to the Tritons,
CSUDH is returning all of its starters from the previous season. After
advancing out of the West Region in the NCAA postseason, the Toros ended up
losing 1-0 to Grand Valley State in the national title game. Heading into this
Sunday's match, UCSD and CSUDH hold a .500 record in the all-time series - 16 wins
apiece and four draws.