LA JOLLA, Calif. -
On the heels of its 10-match winning streak and 14-2-2 overall record, the ninth-ranked UC San Diego women's soccer team earned the No. 2 seed in this weekend's California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Championship and is preparing to face No. 3 San Francisco State on Friday at 4:30 p.m. in the tournament semifinals.
The winner of UCSD-SFSU will face the winner of No. 1 Cal State L.A. and No. 4 Cal State Stanislaus in the Championship on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. Currently ranked third in the NCAA West Regional Rankings as of Nov. 3, the Tritons will be looking for a strong showing this weekend in order to convince the NCAA selection committee to tab UCSD as one of the host sites of the opening round of the NCAA Division II Tournament.
Unbeaten in its last 13 matches, UCSD has shut out nine teams while outscoring its opponents 23-5 within that time span. The Tritons went 12-2-2 in CCAA competition during the regular season, recording 38 points and finishing one point behind first-place CSULA in the CCAA South Division. With a combined 2-1-1 record in contests between its three CCAA Championship foes, UCSD head coach Brian McManus
knows this weekend is crucial come NCAA Division II Championship seeding time.
"We have another massive weekend ahead of us," said McManus. "Hopefully the (NCAA) selection committee will take into account what goes on in Turlock when making deciding the host sites. Saying that, we must do our part because I think we have earned a shot."
Currently, No. 18 BYU-Hawaii and No. 14 Seattle Pacific are ranked one-two in the NCAA West Region and are in position to be awarded the honor of hosting the opening round of the NCAA tournament at their respective campuses. BYU-Hawaii and Seattle Pacific remain stagnant this weekend, as neither team competes in a conference which hosts a postseason tournament. UCSD needs to move up one spot in the West if it is to host an opening round match on Veteran's Day weekend. The Tritons hosted the NCAA Division II Championships opening round in 2009.
UCSD holds a strong case considering its most recent results, shutting out Cal State East Bay in a home-and-home series, 1-0 and 2-0. Annette Ilg
scored the game-winner in the 57th minute in Friday's match in Hayward, finishing a one-on-one opportunity off an assist from Anne Wethe
. Two days later, Sarah McTigue
would find the back of the net twice in the first seven minutes of the opening half, giving UCSD a little breathing room in its two-goal victory over CSUEB to finish off the regular season.
Ilg and McTigue led their team with eight goals scored in the regular season, registering 20 points and 18 points on the year, respectively. Wethe, Gabi Hernandez
and Alyssa Newcomer
followed with three goals apiece during the season while Hayley Johnson
led the team with seven assists. Kristin Armstrong
registered the best goals against average in the CCAA, letting in a measly 0.54 goals per game.
McManus has led UCSD to much success in the CCAA Championships since the squad moved from Division III to Division II in 2000. The Tritons have taken home seven conference championships, including three of the last five. The last title for UCSD came in 2008, when the Tritons took down Cal State Dominguez Hills, 3-1. Current UCSD players Wethe and Courtney Capobianco
scored a goal in the final, along with Natasha Belak-Berger
(2005-08). The Tritons advanced to the NCAA Division II Championships, however, fell 3-1 to Seattle Pacific in the second round.
CSUDH would get its revenge on UCSD the following season, defeating the Tritons in penalty kicks after the teams battled to a 1-1 tie through regulation in the 2009 CCAA Semifinals. Despite the loss, UCSD hosted the NCAA Division II Championships West Regional where it would beat Chico State in the first round, 2-1. The Regional Finals would be déjà vu for UCSD though, as the Tritons forced a shootout with a 2-2 tie against CSUDH, only to fall 3-1 in penalty kicks.
SFSU (11-4-3 overall, 10-4-2 CCAA) finished first in the CCAA North, but has dropped two of its last three matches to fifth-place Humboldt State and CCAA tournament companion, Cal State Stanislaus. UCSD and SFSU battled to a 0-0 draw on Sept. 26 in San Francisco, despite the Tritons outshooting the Gators, 17-9. UCSD is 9-3-3 all-time against SFSU; the Tritons last beat the Gators in the 2008 CCAA Semifinals in a penalty kick shootout.
Top seed CSULA (14-3 overall, 13-3 CCAA), winners of the CCAA South, comes into Friday's match at CSUS riding a six-match win streak. The Golden Eagles took down Cal Poly Pomona on the last day of the regular season in double overtime, 4-3, to preserve the top seed going into the tournament. A CSULA-CPP tie would have given UCSD the No. 1 seed. The Golden Eagles beat the Warriors in the previous tilt between the teams on Oct. 1, 2-1.
UCSD split its season series with CSULA, falling to the Golden Eagles 3-1 at Triton Soccer Field on Sept. 10 before getting its revenge with a 1-0 win in Los Angeles on Oct. 10.
CSUS (12-5-1 overall, 10-5-1 CCAA) has won three of its last four contests, including a 4-1 win over SFSU on Oct. 24. Striker Karenee Demery leads the conference with 18 goals in 18 games and the Warriors' 2.22 goals per game average is second-best in the conference. UCSD beat CSUS on Oct. 17 in La Jolla, 3-0, in the only match between the teams this season.
To follow the CCAA Championships, log-on to www.goCCAA.org for Live Stats and live streaming video.