No. 23 UC San Diego vs. No. 19 Cal State San Marcos: Unbeaten City Rivals Clash in Primetime San Diego Derby Friday Night
TRITONS WRAP UP NON-CONFERENCE SLATE AT HOME
The 23rd-ranked University of California San Diego men's soccer team continues its 10-match homestand and dips out of California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) play for two final non-conference games this weekend. The Tritons, still undefeated at 5-0-1 overall for the second time in three years (1-0-1 CCAA), host 19th-ranked San Diego and CCAA rival, and fellow unbeaten, Cal State San Marcos (6-0, 2-0 CCAA), in primetime on Friday, Sept. 21, at 7 p.m. They then take on Division III Occidental College (4-2, 2-2 SCIAC) of Los Angeles and the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC), on Sunday, Sept. 23, at 5 p.m. Both matches are at Triton Soccer Stadium on North Campus in La Jolla. Admission is free.
In the CCAA's preseason poll, UC San Diego was picked third, and Cal State San Marcos 12th among 13 squads, a projection the Cougars have thus far greatly outperformed. The Tritons are one of three unbeatens left in the conference for overall games, with CSUSM and San Francisco State (4-0-2). Sunday's game against Occidental will mark 11th-year UC San Diego head coach Jon Pascale's 200th at the helm.
TRITON SOCCER MATCHDAY
Once again in 2018, all regular-season home matches at Triton Soccer Stadium are free to attend. Parking permits are required, however, on weeknights on the UC San Diego campus. Parking permits can be purchased at machines situated at corners of either of the nearest parking lots, which are behind the spectator stand, and the Hopkins Parking Structure adjacent to RIMAC. Parking is free on Saturday and Sunday. Note: Please be aware that the Rady parking lot behind the soccer stands, will close at 8 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 21, and remain closed through 6 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 23, for student move-in this weekend, so fans should park in the Hopkins structure.
TRITON SOCCER ON UCSDTRITONS.TV
All UC San Diego home games in 2018 feature a live pay-per-view video stream on UCSDtritons.tv. The cost is $5.99 for a 24-hour window, meaning one fee for doubleheaders, and $34.99 for the entire 2018-19 academic year, to include other Triton athletics teams. Broadcasts are in high definition and can be viewed from smartphones and tablets alongside desktop and laptop computers. Seth Smith (@ItsSethESmith) handles the play-by-play duties. Events are archived. All games have live stats. Fans can access live coverage from the Schedule/Results page, or by clicking on the links above. Starting lineups, live in-game updates and other news and notes can be found by following Triton Soccer all season long on the UC San Diego Athletics Twitter handle (@UCSDtritons). Finally, check out the CCAA live scoreboard here to keep up on results around the league.
UC SAN DIEGO IN THE UNITED SOCCER COACHES POLL
• Sept. 18: 23 (4th in West)
• Sept. 11: 14 (2nd in West)
• Sept. 4: RV (4th in West)
• Preseason: NR
A LOOK BACK AT LAST WEEK
UC San Diego opened the CCAA season with a dramatic win and a scoreless tie last week at home. The Tritons rallied from a 1-0 second-half deficit to edge Cal State MontereyBay, 2-1, on Friday night. Andy Sartor, who had last played on Nov. 4, 2016, due to separate injuries, grabbed the 70th-minute equalizer after Brett Jones' initial shot was saved by the goalie and deflected out. Fifth-year senior Matt Merrill then managed something special 10 minutes later, one-timing Jones' left-sided corner kick into the upper right corner, off the crossbar and in, from about 25 yards out. Click here to watch. It was his first collegiate goal. Pedro Enciso had three saves in Sunday's shutout against Cal State East Bay.
UC San Diego is 13-3-3 in season openers in the Division II era (since 2000), following a 1-0 shutout over Biola on Aug. 30. The Tritons had played to a scoreless draw at Biola a year ago. They are an unbeaten 4-0-2 over their last six lid-lifters. UC San Diego is 10-7-2 in CCAA openers, having snapped a two-match losing skid (1-0 at Cal State San Marcos in 2016 and 2-0 at home to Chico State in 2017), with a 2-1 triumph over Cal State Monterey Bay last Friday, Sept. 14.
FAVORED FOR THIRD IN PRESEASON POLL
UC San Diego was picked to finish third in the 2018 CCAA race, as voted on by the league's 13 head coaches for the preseason poll. The Tritons collected 125 points and one of the 13 first-place votes. Defending West Region champion and 2017 national semifinalist Cal Poly Pomona is the favorite with 129 points and four first-place votes. Cal State LA, the 2017 CCAA Tournament champion in La Jolla, was second, just three points behind with 126, and in fact one more first-place nod than CPP, at five. Chico State took up the fourth spot (106). San Francisco State was fifth (101) with a first-place vote. Cal State San Bernardino (83) rounded out the projected CCAA tourney field. In seventh, Cal State Dominguez Hills (78) still managed the final two first-place votes. Sonoma State (68), Stanislaus State (55), Cal State Monterey Bay (46), Humboldt State (46), Cal State San Marcos (32) and Cal State East Bay (19) filled out the poll.
UC San Diego is 68-22-18 (.713) at Triton Soccer Stadium under Jon Pascale, and 24-2-5 (.855) over its last 31 in La Jolla since a 2-1 loss to Stanislaus State on Sept. 27, 2015. The Tritons had an 18-match home unbeaten streak that stretched out over nearly two full calendar years, ended by Chico State, 2-0, last Sept. 15. They wound up 5-2-2 at home a year ago, after finishing an unbeaten 12-0-1 there in 2016 and 5-1-2 inside the friendly confines in 2015.
Three Triton newcomers have tallied the first goal of their collegiate careers through the first six games, in sophomore playmaker Jón Veigar Kristjánsson, second-year freshman winger Max Gonda and true freshman forward Nick Cirrito. Kristjánsson tallied the opener against Saint Martin's (9/10), Gonda the lone winner in his college debut in the opener with Biola (8/30), and Cirrito the opener against Azusa Pacific (9/1). Cirrito, out of Diamond Bar, has since added his first career winner versus SMU. Kristjánsson and junior left back Stjepan Kilic, both Division I transfers, made their UC San Diego debuts as starters in the opener, with junior college transfer Matt Davis coming off the bench. Cirrito, Gonda, true freshman center back Noah Sonenstein and redshirt freshman defenders Darragh Buckley and Oliver Nelson have all made their first college appearances.
UC San Diego has developed a reputation under head coach Jon Pascale of being a strong defensive unit, and has ranked in the top 17 nationally in the NCAA Division II in team goals-against average in five out of the last six seasons. The Tritons moved up from 20th last week to 13th (0.474) currently. They were 17th (0.76) a year ago, allowing 14 goals in all after 248:31 of shutout soccer for openers. UC San Diego led the CCAA and was second in the West Region. It surrendered just 13 goals over 24 matches in 2016 for a 0.52 GAA, which ranked fourth in the country. Only eight came from the run of play, with four penalties and one free kick. The Tritons posted a Division II-era program-record 14 clean sheets. The team's longest shutout stretch that year was 513:54 through four-plus games, with two more of 356:51 and 353:12. UC San Diego boasted one of the top seven defenses in Division II for three straight seasons between 2012-14, but fell back to the 48th spot in 2015 (1.09). It led the country in team GAA in 2012 with a then-CCAA-record mark of 0.44, before finishing fourth in 2013 (0.52) and seventh in 2014 (0.65).
Eight of UC San Diego's 17 games in 2017 went into overtime, with dramatic road wins at Azusa Pacific and Cal State San Marcos, and five double-overtime draws, around a thrilling home decision over CCAA rival Cal Poly Pomona on Sept. 29. The Tritons were an unbeaten 3-0-5 in such games last year, and after a 1-0 victory over Concordia Irvine (9/6) and scoreless draw with Cal State East Bay (9/16), are 9-0-20 in overtime contests since their last such loss in 2014. The decider against Concordia came off the right foot of fifth-year senior Christian Cordell with a single tick left in the first overtime, officially at 99:59. Watch the incredible sequence that began with seven seconds remaining on the clock, here.
Among 30 players on the 2018 roster are 18 returners and 12 newcomers, eight of them true freshmen ... All but two, new transfers Stjepan Kilic (Coppell, Texas) and Jón Veigar Kristjánsson (Kópavogur, Iceland), are California natives ... The five seniors are Nathaniel Bloom, Kiefer Cooksey, Christian Cordell, Matt Merrill and Jeff Powers, with Andy Sartor a redshirt junior in his fourth year ... Cordell (international business), Merrill (international business) and Powers (communication) are fifth-year seniors who will have completed their UC San Diego degrees at the conclusion of the fall quarter ... There are five local products in Bloom (Encinitas/San Dieguito HS Academy), and second-year Tritons Jonathan Sabouri (Carlsbad/San Dieguito HS Academy), Jordan Karam (San Diego/Torrey Pines HS), Oliver Nelson (Escondido/Escondido HS) and Pedro Enciso (Vista/Rancho Buena Vista HS) ... Redshirt freshman Darragh Buckley is the younger brother of former Triton Padraig Buckley (2010-13).
CCAA TOURNAMENT REMAINS IN LA JOLLA
UC San Diego is the proud host of the 2018 CCAA Tournament semifinals and finals for the second consecutive year and fifth time in all. Two men's and two women's semifinals will be contested at Triton Soccer Stadium on Friday, Nov. 2, with the two finals set for Sunday, Nov. 4. Exact times are to be determined. First-round matchups take place on the campuses of the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds on Tuesday, Oct. 30. In all four previous instances that UC San Diego has served as host, in 2001, 2006, 2008 and 2017, the Triton men have not been present in the semifinal round. For just the second time, the CCAA men's champion will earn an automatic berth into the NCAA Championship.
CCAA FORMAT UNCHANGED
For the fifth year in a row, the CCAA slate consists of a single round robin, with all teams meeting once for 12 matches total, and the top six sides (based on most points; three points for a league win, one for a tie) in the final regular-season standings qualifying for the 2018 CCAA Tournament.
2018 SEASON OUTLOOK
Jon Pascale, the three-time CCAA Coach of the Year, is in his 11th season at the helm. Fifth-year seniors Christian Cordell, Matt Merrill and Jeff Powers return, and are the projected starters on the right side of midfield, holding central midfield, and right back, respectively. Next to Powers across the back line are likely to be redshirt freshman Oliver Nelson or true freshman Noah Sonenstein at one center back spot, junior Kelvin Uribe at the other, and junior newcomer Stjepan Kilic, a transfer from Fairleigh Dickinson, as the left back. Another Division I transfer, Icelandic sophomore Jón Veigar Kristjánsson from USC Upstate, is the expected partner to Merrill in central midfield. Redshirt junior Andy Sartor, who sat out last season through injury, could play opposite Cordell. Much will be expected in their sophomore go-arounds from the speedy strike tandem of Brett Jones and Jonathan Sabouri (Carlsbad/San Dieguito HS Academy). Sophomore Pedro Enciso (Vista/Rancho Buena Vista HS) is the incumbent between the posts. Veterans in the mix include seniors Nathaniel Bloom (Encinitas/San Dieguito HS Academy) and Kiefer Cooksey, and junior Jonathan Stoop. Powers, Sabouri and Uribe all picked up All-CCAA honorable mentions last fall.
UC San Diego looks to bounce back from a peculiar 2017 season that saw several tough, dramatic victories and two solitary losses (10-2-5, 7-1-3 CCAA), only for it to be cut abruptly short ahead of the CCAA Tournament semifinals the Tritons were themselves hosting. The Tritons had wound up third in the final league table. However, Cal State Dominguez Hills was forced to vacate its regular-season title due to uncovered infractions, with UC San Diego moving up to second through adjustments made following the application of nullification penalties by the CCAA. All that was coming off the most successful season of the program's Division II era in 2016, as the treble winner of the CCAA regular-season, CCAA Tournament and West Region championships, each for the first time. The Tritons have made five successive postseason appearances in the form of the CCAA Tournament, with NCAA Championship berths in 2013, 2014 and 2016. UC San Diego went an unbeaten 5-0-3 away from home in 2017.
HEAD COACH JON PASCALE
Jon Pascale, a three-time CCAA Coach of the Year (2012, 2013, 2016), has posted a 108-51-39 (.644) overall record to date in his 11th year in charge of the UC San Diego men's soccer program. He is 73-40-28 (.617) in arguably the toughest NCAA Division II conference in the nation, the CCAA. The Tritons have earned five successive berths in the CCAA Tournament, with trips to the NCAA Championship in 2013, 2014 and 2016. They have posted eight straight campaigns with an overall record of .500 or better, and eight winning seasons out of Pascale's 10. In 2016, he guided the Tritons to their very first CCAA regular-season, CCAA Tournament and Division II West Region titles, having joined in 2000. A 1-0 home victory over Sonoma State on Sept. 29, 2013, gave Pascale career win No. 50, while a 2-0 triumph at Stanislaus State in the very next match on Oct. 4 marked his 100th contest at the Triton helm. He directed his first postseason tilt on Nov. 8, 2013, in Turlock, a come-from-behind, 2-1 overtime win over Chico State in a CCAA semifinal. He made his NCAA tourney debut as a head coach on Nov. 16, 2013, in La Jolla. A 2-0 home decision over Cal State East Bay on Oct. 12, 2014, meant CCAA win No. 50 for Pascale, who coached his 100th CCAA tilt at Cal State Monterey Bay five days later. The 2-0 decision versus Western Washington on Nov. 13, 2016, meant Pascale's first NCAA tournament win as a head coach. The 1-0 home victory over Cal State San Marcos last Oct. 4 was career win No. 100.
ABOUT THE COUGARS
No. 19 Cal State San Marcos (6-0, 2-0 CCAA) is in its fourth year as a CCAA member, eligible for the postseason for the second time. The Cougars have reeled off six successive victories for starters in 2018, all by one-goal margins, after being picked to place 12th in the preseason poll. The last five of those have come at home, following a come-from-behind, 2-1 win in their season opener at Concordia Irvine on Aug. 30. CSUSM most recently blanked Cal State East Bay, 1-0, last Friday afternoon, and rallied to edge Cal State Monterey Bay, 2-1, on an 87th-minute own goal Sunday to begin league activity. Redshirt junior Justin Tesar has played every minute in the Cougar net. This year's in-league matchup with CSUSM will take place in San Marcos on Wednesday, Oct. 3, at 3 p.m., and will serve as UC San Diego's first road test of 2018. Ron Pulvers is in his 13th season in charge.
UC San Diego leads the all-time series, 6-2, and swept last year's meetings, 1-0 in the CCAA matchup at home on Oct. 4, and 3-2 in a non-league, double-overtime thriller in San Marcos on Oct. 20. The initial victory came thanks to a long-distance strike by freshman Jonathan Sabouri in the 61st minute. Brett Jones notched the decider in the return leg with just 4:26 left in the second extra period. The Tritons dropped a tough 1-0 decision in their prior visit to San Marcos, for both teams' 2016 CCAA opener, through a rebound finish at 59:52 by Andrew Stalboerger. UC San Diego posted shutout home victories in each of the previous two seasons. The Tritons won 4-0 in 2014 via two goals in each half, and then 1-0 in the first CCAA meeting in 2015 on a 76th-minute Eric Young header. The sides faced off in 2009, UC San Diego registering a 1-0 home win in the season opener. The series was witness to a thriller in La Jolla on Sept. 5, 2008. The Cougars began the scoring with a penalty kick at 84:31. UC San Diego equalized at 86:19, and stole it with a winner 36 seconds from the end of regulation. CSUSM took a 3-2 decision, again in La Jolla, on Sept. 21, 2007.
ABOUT THE TIGERS
Occidental (4-2, 2-2 SCIAC) has dropped back-to-back 2-1 decisions in conference play, at home against Redlands on Sept. 12 and at Chapman on Saturday, after a perfect 4-0 start to its campaign. The Tigers are 1-1 on the road, having finished 9-8-1 overall, an even 7-7 in the SCIAC and 3-5 outside of Los Angeles a season ago. Rod Lafaurie is in his ninth year at the helm.
UC San Diego is a perfect 12-0 all-time against Occidental, including 7-0 in La Jolla. All but the most recent matchup, date back to when the teams were Division III rivals. In the Tritons' 2017 home opener last Sept. 2, they posted a 3-0 shutout in the teams' first meeting since a 2-0 Triton triumph in Los Angeles on Oct. 4, 1999. The teams faced off for the first time in 1983, and then once each year from 1985-89, and again from 1995-99. UC San Diego has outscored Oxy, 46-4. The Tritons won 4-1 in La Jolla in 1998.
This 2018 season marks the UC San Diego men's soccer program's 30th anniversary of its very first NCAA Division III national championship in 1988, and 25th anniversary of its third and final crown in 1993. The 1988 team will be recognized during UC San Diego Homecoming weekend, Oct. 19-21. All-time leading goal-scorer Greg Schwarz (1983-87) will be inducted into the UC San Diego Athletics Hall of Fame that weekend as well, becoming the fourth member of the men's soccer program to be so honored, after Chris Romey (Class of 2014), Brian Siljander (2015) and legendary head coach Derek Armstrong (2017).
On Nov. 27, 2017, UC San Diego was officially invited to become a member of the NCAA Division I Big West Conference. The Tritons will begin a four-year reclassification period starting in the fall of 2020. They will play a full Big West schedule that season and will be eligible for the NCAA Championship in men's volleyball, men's and women's water polo, and fencing. For the 2024-25 academic year, all sports will be eligible to compete in Big West and NCAA Division I championships. Read the full press release here.
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It's back to CCAA action for good next week for UC San Diego, as it finally concludes this long homestand with two big games, in front of the student body for the first time. The Tritons welcome in Sonoma State on Friday, Sept. 28, at 7 p.m., and Humboldt State on Sunday, Sept. 30, at 2 p.m.
About UC San Diego Athletics
With 30 national team championships, nearly 150 individual titles and the top student-athlete graduation rate among Division II institutions in the United States, the UC San Diego intercollegiate athletics program annually ranks as one of the most successful in the country. The Tritons sponsor 23 intercollegiate sport programs that compete on the NCAA Division I and II levels and, in summer 2020, will transition into full Division I status as a member of the Big West Conference. UC San Diego student-athletes exemplify the academic ideals of one of the world's preeminent institutions, graduating at an average rate of 91 percent. A total of 80 Tritons have earned Academic All-America honors, while 36 have earned prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships. In competition, more than 1,300 UC San Diego student-athletes have earned All-America honors.
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For complete coverage and information regarding UC San Diego Athletics, follow the Tritons online at UCSDtritons.com and through social media on Twitter (@UCSDtritons), Instagram (@ucsdtritons) and Facebook (UCSDtritons). For more information on UC San Diego Men's Soccer, follow on Instagram (@ucsdmenssoccer) and Facebook (UCSanDiegoMensSoccer).