The UC San Diego men's soccer team begins the new season with its only two non-conference affairs of 2013. The Tritons travel to Riverside on Thursday, Sept. 5, to take on California Baptist at 5 p.m. They then host crosstown rival Point Loma in their home opener on Saturday, Sept. 7. Kickoff time at Triton Soccer Stadium is set for 4:30 p.m., with the No. 3 UCSD women following at approximately 7 p.m. against No. 12 Western Washington in the first of 10 soccer doubleheaders in La Jolla this fall. Live stats are available for both contests this week, with CBU providing live video on Thursday for a pay-per-view fee of $3.95. All regular-season matches at Triton Soccer Stadium are free to attend.
UCSD faces a difficult start to the new season with seven of its first 10 matches away from home, including a four-game road stretch to open California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) play, beginning with a visit to league favorite Cal State Dominguez Hills. Also in 2013, the two-year CCAA rotation has seen San Francisco State replaced by 2012 North Division winner Chico State in the South, meaning a tough home-and-home set with the rival Wildcats.
Last year, UCSD led the entire nation in the NCAA Division II in both team goals-against average with a single-season CCAA-record mark of 0.44, and shutout percentage (0.71), with 12 clean sheets over 17 matches. The Tritons allowed just eight goals all year, with six in league play. Individually, senior All-American goalkeeper Josh Cohen, the reigning CCAA Most Valuable Defensive Player, paced all of Division II with his 0.397 goals-against average, as well as a .898 save percentage. He is joined again by the fourth-year senior center-back tandem of All-American Alec Arsht and Gavin Lamming. Both Cohen individually and UCSD collectively enter the new season boasting a shutout streak of 388:35.
The Tritons are 9-3-1 in season openers in the Division II era ... All 26 players on the 2013 roster are California natives, with two, fourth-year senior midfielder Taylor Wirth (Escondido/La Costa Canyon HS) and redshirt freshman defender Brett Sampiere (Solana Beach/Torrey Pines HS), from the San Diego area ... UCSD returns 17, including 10 seniors and eight players who started 10 or more games a year ago, to mesh with nine newcomers ... The Tritons will need to up their offensive production, having notched just 17 goals in 2012, with only eight of those scores back this year ... UCSD was picked by CCAA head coaches in the annual preseason poll to place fourth in the six-team South Division ... UCSD has a BennettRank of No. 52 nationally and No. 6 in the West Region.
HEAD COACH JON PASCALE
Jon Pascale, the 2012 CCAA Coach of the Year, has posted a 44-33-14 (.560) overall record heading into his sixth season in charge of the UCSD men's soccer program.
California Baptist is coming off of back-to-back National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) titles with a combined overall record of 33-10-3, including 16-5-2 a year ago. The Lancers edged in-state rival Fresno Pacific, 3-2, in the 2012 title match in Kissimmee, Fla. The NCAA announced in mid-July that CBU had successfully completed its three-year transition period, and the Lancers are now active Division II members with postseason eligibility. CBU was picked recently to repeat as the Pacific West Conference champion. Two-time PacWest Goalkeeper of the Year Joey Pacheco returns for his senior season, as does Alex Anderson, the Lancers' leading scorer a year ago with five assists to go along with nine goals. Gregg Schroeder was promoted from lead assistant to head coach last month, replacing two-time NCCAA Coach of the Year Ryan Jorden, who took over at the University of the Pacific.
UCSD holds a 3-1 advantage in the all-time series. The Lancers blanked UCSD, 2-0, at Triton Soccer Stadium a season ago on Aug. 30 through a pair of early goals from midfielder Marc Hope. Pacheco needed to make just a single save to notch the shutout. The game marked just the first of two times that the Tritons surrendered more than one goal in a single contest all last year over 17 matches. These teams have opened each of the past two seasons against one another, with the Tritons previously posting a 2-1 victory on Sept. 1, 2011, in Riverside.
Point Loma is coming off of a 2012 campaign in which it went 2-16 overall and 1-13 in its first run through the PacWest. The Sea Lions are picked to place 11th this year in the 13-team PacWest race, with seven starters returning. They open the year at UCSD's CCAA rival Cal State Dominguez Hills on Thursday night, Sept. 5. Point Loma is in the third and final year of its own transition period into the NCAA Division II. The Sea Lions compete as a Division II program, but are not eligible for the NCAA postseason. Phil Wolf enters his second season in charge at PLNU.
UCSD holds an 18-4-1 advantage in the all-time series. The teams have not met since the Tritons moved from the NCAA Division III up into Division II for the 2000 season. UCSD won the last match-up, 1-0 in overtime, in La Jolla on Sept. 22, 1999.
Triton Athletics is excited about its partnership with Advanced-Online, which provides a web-based, on-demand option for UCSD apparel and merchandise. Fans have access to over 600 products that can be processed and shipped within 24 hours. Visit the site at UCSDTritonsGear.com.
FOLLOW THE TRITONS
There are a number of ways to follow the Tritons. In addition to UCSDtritons.com, get instant updates on Twitter (@UCSDtritons, #TritonsRising) and like us on Facebook. For a more visual approach, watch our YouTube channel.
Following this opening weekend to the 2013 season, UCSD embarks on a four-match road stretch to begin the 2013 CCAA slate. The Tritons play at Cal State Dominguez Hills on Friday, Sept. 13 (7 p.m.) and No. 21 Cal State L.A. on Sunday, Sept. 15 (11:30 a.m.).