CCAA BERTH IN HAND, UCSD LOOKS TO STRENGTHEN NCAA CREDENTIALS
The 17th-ranked Tritons, currently tied with No. 22 Chico State for first place in the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) South Division at 12-2-2 overall and 10-2-2 in league play, wrap up the regular season this weekend. UCSD takes on a pair of divisional foes for the second time this year, traveling to Cal Poly Pomona for a 4:30 p.m. kickoff on Friday, Nov. 1, before welcoming No. 11 Cal State L.A. into Triton Soccer Stadium on Senior Day this Sunday, Nov. 3, at 11:30 a.m. Both games will serve to open doubleheaders with the UCSD women, and have live stats. UCSD is 5-1-1 on the road and 7-1-1 with just four goals surrendered in 832:09 of home action in 2013. All regular-season matches at Triton Soccer Stadium are free to attend.
SENIOR DAY SUNDAY
Eleven Tritons will be recognized prior to kickoff on Senior Day this Sunday, Nov. 3. The group is made up of Alec Arsht, Andisheh Bagheri, Jesse Brennan, Josh Cohen, Elan Gefen, Tsuk Haroush, Gavin Lamming, Will Pleskow, Nick Roberts, Taylor Wirth and Cory Wolfrom. The Senior Day ceremony is slated to begin at approximately 11:20 a.m., with a slightly-delayed start expected against 11th-ranked Cal State L.A. at Triton Soccer Stadium.
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.
UCSD moved up one spot from No. 18 to No. 17 in this week's National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) poll, released Tuesday. The showing at No. 6 on Oct. 8 was the program's highest ranking of the Division II era (since 2000). Before ascending from No. 22 to No. 10 on Oct. 1, the Tritons previously were as high as No. 15 on Sept. 13, 2005. UCSD was last as high as sixth in any poll on Nov. 11, 1996, when it was No. 6 in the final Division III ranking of the 1996 regular season. In its first in-season installment of 2013 on Sept. 10, UCSD entered the NSCAA national rankings, at No. 25, for the very first time under sixth-year head coach Jon Pascale. The Tritons' last appearance before that occurred on Nov. 1, 2005, at No. 19 ahead of the CCAA Championship. On Oct. 15, Pascale and the program were featured on NSCAA TV.
TRITONS STILL THIRD IN NCAA REGIONAL POLLS
The NCAA's second regional polls were announced on Wednesday afternoon, with UCSD still ranked No. 3 in the West behind division rivals Cal State L.A. and Chico State, and ahead of Simon Fraser, Seattle Pacific, Cal State Dominguez Hills, Cal State Monterey Bay and California Baptist. With no automatic bids from the West Region on the men's side, the top six in the final edition will earn qualification into the 2013 NCAA Championship.
TRITONS CLINCH CCAA TOURNEY RETURN
With a pair of 2-1 home triumphs last weekend, UCSD clinched its first CCAA Championship berth since 2005, and will head to Turlock on Wednesday night, Nov. 6, as a result. Tied for first place with No. 22 Chico State on 32 points each, UCSD is ahead of Sunday's home opponent, 11th-ranked Cal State L.A., by just a single point. All three squads have gained entry into the CCAA tourney. Sonoma State now leads Cal State Monterey Bay in the North by one point. One of those two squads will round out the CCAA field in Turlock, Nov. 8-10. If the Tritons sweep their final two regular-season matches this weekend, they will earn the No. 1 seed next week, regardless of what Chico State does, as they would hold the tiebreaker over the Wildcats.
Through games played on Oct. 27, the Tritons are now second in the NCAA Division II in goals-against average (0.42), sixth in save percentage (0.86) and seventh in shutout percentage (0.56). Last season, they led the nation with a CCAA-record 0.44 GAA and 0.71 shutout percentage. UCSD has kept nine clean sheets out of 16 matches in 2013, including a stretch of seven straight shutout triumphs around which it did not surrender a goal over 766:07, that was snapped on Oct. 13. It marked the program's longest shutout streak in Division II, second-longest ever (845:12 in 1988) and fourth of 400-plus minutes since the start of the 2012 campaign. Individually, Cohen, No. 1 nationally in 2012 in goals-against average (0.397) and save percentage (.898), is currently fourth in GAA (0.424) and ninth in save percentage (0.857). The Tritons have given up only one goal in each of their other seven contests, and have allowed no more than one score over the past 20 games going back to a 3-0 loss at Cal State Dominguez Hills on Oct. 14, 2012. UCSD has posted 21 shutouts over its last 32.
CCAA STAT LEADERS
Cohen is tied for first in the CCAA in shutouts (nine), second in goals-against average and save percentage, and tied for third in least goals against (seven). Bagheri has three more game-winning goals, six, than anybody else in the conference. He is tied for third with nine goals and fifth with 19 points. Brandon Bauman is tied for third with a team-best five assists. Fellow junior newcomer Alessandro Canale is tied for 12th with four goals.
ACADEMIC HONORS FOR TRITON PAIR
Arsht and Bagheri were each named Thursday to the Capital One Academic All-District Men's Soccer First Team for the NCAA Division II District 8. Both are now two-time honorees, with Bagheri having earned the distinction in 2012 as well, and Arsht in 2011. They each move on to the Capital One Academic All-America ballot, with those awards being announced on Nov. 25.
BACK-LINE MATES AND WEEKLY CCAA HONOREES
UCSD's fourth-year senior center back tandem of Arsht and Lamming have both earned Wilson/CCAA Player of the Week selection for UCSD this season. Arsht was named on Oct. 7. He led a pair of shutout road victories as the Tritons let up just 12 shot attempts over 180 minutes, and added his first goal of 2013 to cap a 2-0 triumph at Cal State East Bay on Oct. 6. Lamming was chosen back on Sept. 24, similarly after anchoring the defense to two shutout road wins, over divisional foes who each entered that weekend undefeated. Lamming also headed in a 27th-minute corner kick from junior teammate Jacob Valadez for the lone goal at Cal State San Bernardino on Sept. 22.
In blanking then-No. 14 Chico State and Cal State San Bernardino 1-0 away from home on Sept. 20 and 22, respectively, UCSD completed its first sweep of a CCAA road weekend since 2010. That year, the Tritons edged Cal State Monterey Bay, 1-0 in Seaside on Friday, Sept. 24, before blanking San Francisco State, 2-0, two days later. UCSD repeated the two-game road sweep three weekends ago, achieving comfortable 2-0 scorelines at defending CCAA champion Cal State Stanislaus on Oct. 4 and Cal State East Bay on Oct. 6. At 5-1-1, the Tritons have their most road wins since 2005, when they went 5-4-2 outside of La Jolla.
UCSD is a perfect 10-0 when scoring first in 2013 and 8-0 when leading at halftime ... The Tritons' 12 overall wins are their most under Pascale, most in Division II, and most since going 12-4-3 in their final Division III season in 1999 ... UCSD's 10 CCAA victories are its most since joining the conference for the 2000 campaign ... The Tritons got off to their best 10-game (8-1-1) start of the Division II era, and best since an unbeaten 9-0-1 opening to the 1988 Division III national championship season ... The seven-game win streak earlier this year was the Tritons' best in Division II, and longest since a nine-gamer in 1996 ... Cohen and redshirt freshman right back Brett Sampiere (Solana Beach/Torrey Pines HS) are the only Tritons to have played all 1486:06 ... Arsht, Lamming, Sampiere and junior left back Matthew McClure have made up the back four in front of Cohen for a large majority of the current campaign and virtually every minute of the seven-game shutout stretch ... Cohen handled his 100th career save early in the opener at California Baptist (9/5), and his career-best nine shutouts in 2013 give him a career total of 21 ... Bagheri paces the team with nine goals, 19 points, 34 shots, 14 shots on goal (tied) and six game-winning goals ... Bagheri's nine goals are the most by a Triton since former All-American Matt Davey tallied 10 in his senior season in 2005 ... Bagheri's winners have come on an overtime penalty kick at CBU, free kick vs. Sonoma State (9/29), penalties vs. CSUSB (10/11) and CPP (10/20), and second-half goals vs. SF State (10/25) and CSUMB (10/27) ... Bauman's team-leading five assists are the most by a Triton since senior Wolfrom set up eight scores in 2011 ... Bauman collected two assists each vs. Point Loma (9/7) and at Cal State East Bay (10/6), with Canale adding a two-assist game vs. CSUMB ... Two of Wolfrom's three goals in 2013 have been game-winners ... The 2-1 victory at CBU was UCSD's first of the comeback variety since a 4-1 home defeat of SF State on Oct. 28, 2011 ... The Tritons have since produced a second come-from-behind 2-1 win vs. CSUMB ... UCSD produced five 1-0 victories in 2012 and has five more in 2013, with Bagheri accounting for the lone goal in the last three of them.
HEAD COACH JON PASCALE
Pascale, the 2012 CCAA Coach of the Year, has posted a 56-35-16 (.598) overall record in his sixth season in charge of the UCSD men's soccer program. The 1-0 home victory over Sonoma State on Sept. 29 gave him career win No. 50, while the 2-0 triumph at Cal State Stanislaus on Oct. 4 marked his 100th match at the Triton helm.
ABOUT THE BRONCOS
Cal Poly Pomona enters the weekend at 6-6-4 overall and 4-6-4 in CCAA play. The Broncos are fifth in the CCAA South on 16 points. They snapped a seven-match winless (0-4-3) streak, with just two goals scored during the stretch, with a 2-0 home defeat of SF State last Sunday. Senior forward Brandon Cortez leads the team with 15 points from six goals and three assists. Freshman teammate Luis Najera, Jr., is right behind with 12 points from four goals and four assists. Senior Andrew Todd (0.89 GAA, 44 saves, four shutouts) and Fernando Pablo Quevedo (0.89 GAA, three saves, one shutout) have each seen time recently in the CPP net. Yossi Raz is in his first season in charge. The Broncos are 3-2-2 in Pomona.
UCSD leads the all-time series, 24-8-2. The Tritons won this season's first meeting, 1-0 in La Jolla on Oct. 20 courtesy of a 38th-minute Bagheri spot kick. UCSD previously swept the home-and-home set in 2012 with another pair of 1-0 shutouts, through second-half goals by Tsuk Haroush (67:45) in La Jolla, and even later by Scott MacBride (89:09) in Pomona. Cohen earned the clean sheet in all three. UCSD has actually won four consecutive 1-0 decisions over the Broncos since a 3-0 loss in Pomona on Sept. 18, 2011, with CPP scoreless against them for 385:31.
ABOUT THE GOLDEN EAGLES
Cal State L.A. once again holds the No. 11 spot in the national poll, just like it did when it beat UCSD in September. The Golden Eagles are unbeaten at 7-0-4 over their last 11 since a 1-0 loss at last-place SF State on Sept. 20. They have posted five successive clean sheets since a 4-2 home win over Cal State East Bay on Oct. 11, including in each of the past four matches, all on the road, heading into this weekend. Sophomore transfer Andre Bissmark leads the team offensively with 14 points from five goals and four assists. Junior Halil Tozar has five goals and three assists, while senior Juan Ochoa has added four goals and four assists. Junior goalkeeper Mike Beigarten (0.47 GAA, 49 saves) shares the CCAA shutouts lead with Cohen at nine apiece. Cal State L.A., which has topped the South Division with the league's best record in each of the previous two seasons, is led by 11th-year head coach Chris Chamides. The Golden Eagles, 3-1-4 away from home this season, host Cal State Dominguez Hills on Friday night prior to Sunday's showdown in La Jolla.
Cal State L.A. narrowly leads the all-time series between these division rivals, 12-11-2, following its 1-0 home win earlier this season back on Sept. 15. Troy Dumlao scored the unassisted decider in that one just 61 seconds into the second half. CSULA swept the home-and-home set a year ago, both also by 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 five 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 has not scored in the last 288:40 against CSULA, and lost four straight in La Jolla since a 1-0 upset of the then-fourth-ranked Golden Eagles on Oct. 19, 2008, through an 83rd-minute Tony Fernandez strike.
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THE BIG PICTURE
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UCSD will travel to Turlock for a second time this season on Wednesday night, Nov. 6, and await its CCAA Championship semifinal match-up at either 11 a.m. or 1:30 p.m. at Warrior Stadium on Friday, Nov. 8.