TRITONS DIVE INTO LEAGUE SEASON WITH TOUGH ROAD PAIR
Coming off of a perfect 2-0 opening weekend against non-conference foes California Baptist (2-1 OT) and Point Loma (3-0), No. 25 UCSD begins the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) portion of its 2013 schedule this week. The league slate could hardly begin in any more difficult a manner, as the Tritons will play at preseason favorite Cal State Dominguez Hills on Friday night, Sept. 13 (7 p.m.), and at Cal State L.A. on Sunday, Sept. 15 (11:30 a.m.). CSUDH is receiving votes in the latest national poll, while CSULA is up to No. 11, with both teams an identical 2-0. Each game will have live stats, with Sunday's tilt in Los Angeles also featuring a live video stream (no audio), free of charge. UCSD faces a four-match road stretch in all to start league competition.
BACK IN THE NATIONAL SPOTLIGHT
For the first time under sixth-year head coach Jon Pascale, UCSD entered the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) national rankings at No. 25 in this week's first in-season installment, released on Tuesday. The Tritons' last national ranking is believed to have occurred in 2005, when they entered the CCAA Championship at No. 19. UCSD is currently rated fourth in the West Region.
The Tritons found the back of the net five times over their first two matches last weekend. They managed a total of 17 goals through the entire 2012 season, not reaching the five-goal mark until their sixth contest. UCSD saw four different players open his scoring account for 2013, with newcomer Alessandro Canale notching his first goal in Triton colors, ahead of Andisheh Bagheri, Tsuk Haroush and Jacob Valadez. The Tritons also benefited from a Point Loma own goal. Brandon Bauman, like Canale a junior college transfer, set up two goals against PLNU after being credited with 22 assists at Orange Coast College a season ago. Alec Arsht and Elan Gefen also provided helpers.
UCSD is 7-5-1 in CCAA openers ... Following the 2-1 win at CBU last Thursday, the Tritons are 10-3-1 in season openers in the Division II era ... In addition to Canale and Bauman, others who made their UCSD debuts during the opening weekend were Malek Bashti, A.J. Beloff, Riley Harbour, Nick Palano and redshirt freshman right back Brett Sampiere ... Senior Josh Cohen handled his 100th career save early in the CBU game, and kept his 13th career shutout vs. Point Loma ... UCSD is off to a 2-0 start for the first time since 2009, which is also the last time the Tritons began a year 3-0 ... The 2-1 win at CBU was UCSD's first of the come-from-behind variety since a 4-1 home defeat of SF State on Oct. 28, 2011 ... The Tritons are in the midst of a season-opening schedule of seven of 10 contests away from home.
HEAD COACH JON PASCALE
Jon Pascale, the 2012 CCAA Coach of the Year, has posted a 46-33-14 (.570) overall record in his sixth season in charge of the UCSD men's soccer program.
ABOUT THE TOROS
Cal State Dominguez Hills, like UCSD, is off to a perfect 2-0 start to the new season. The Toros have yet to allow a goal over 180 minutes of play, having blanked non-conference opponents Point Loma at home, 4-0, and Azusa Pacific on the road, 1-0. Junior forward Heriberto Ponce, Jr., accounted for the first-half decider at APU after striking twice against PLNU. All four CSUDH goals against the Sea Lions came before the interval. Senior Aaron Salazar is also off to a strong start offensively, with one goal and three assists. Markus Dickerson and Trey Mitchell, respectively, earned the pair of shutouts in the Toro net. Head coach Joe Flanagan is in his 20th season in charge of the CSUDH men.
Cal State Dominguez Hills leads the all-time series, 16-4-4. The teams split their two meetings a year ago, with the Tritons taking a 1-0 decision in La Jolla in late September, and the Toros producing a 3-0 victory in Carson in mid-October. The three goals surrendered was a season high for UCSD, having allowed just eight all year and accounting for half of the six scored against them in league matches. UCSD will host CSUDH at Triton Soccer Stadium on Friday, Oct. 18 (4:30 p.m.).
ABOUT THE GOLDEN EAGLES
Cal State L.A. moved up 10 spots in this week's national poll from No. 21 to No. 11 on the strength of a pair of convincing home wins to open its 2013 campaign. The Golden Eagles first produced a 3-0 shutout of Azusa Pacific on Thursday night, Sept. 5, ahead of a 6-1 rout of Saint Martin's on Sunday, Sept. 8. Newcomer Andre Bissmark scored a pair of goals to lead the win over APU, adding two assists in Sunday's game, when junior teammate Halil Tozar struck twice in the first half. Redshirt freshman goalkeeper Steven Barrera has not allowed a goal in 163 minutes of playing time while making five stops. Cal State L.A., which has paced the South Division with the league's best record in each of the past two seasons, is led by 11th-year head coach Chris Chamides. The Golden Eagles will host Cal Poly Pomona on Friday prior to welcoming in the Tritons Sunday.
The all-time series between these division rivals is even at 11-11-2. Cal State L.A. swept the home-and-home set a season ago, both by narrow 1-0 scorelines. The Golden Eagles first notched a double-overtime winner at 105:04 at home, before grabbing a lone goal just 62 seconds into the return meeting in La Jolla. The Tritons have dropped four straight in the series since a 1-0 triumph in Los Angeles on Oct. 10, 2010, that goal coming off a 63rd-minute free kick by current volunteer assistant coach Adam Zernik. UCSD will host CSULA at Triton Soccer Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 3 (11:30 a.m. - Senior Day).
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THE BIG PICTURE
We want to reward you for posting your creative photos. Tweet 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 concludes a season-long four-match road stretch at Chico State and Cal State San Bernardino on Friday, Sept. 20 (4:30 p.m.), and Sunday, Sept. 22 (11:30 a.m.), respectively.