INDIANAPOLIS - The University of California San Diego women's soccer program has earned a 14th NCAA Championship bid in its 17 seasons at the Division II level. The official announcement was made on Monday afternoon.
The Tritons, double winners of the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) as regular-season and tournament champions, will begin their NCAA run at home, where they are 7-1 in 2016. UCSD has a first-round bye and awaits a second-round match this Saturday, Nov. 12. Kickoff at Triton Soccer Stadium in La Jolla on North Campus is still to be determined, between 12 p.m. and 7 p.m.
UC San Diego is 18-2 overall and ranked No. 8 in the nation. The Tritons have won 15 straight. They will be making a second straight NCAA appearance, having dropped a difficult 2-1 decision to Seattle Pacific on Western Washington's campus in Bellingham, Wash., in a driving rainstorm last November in the first round.
Head coach Brian McManus' side played the entire regular season with a purpose of spending this first weekend at home, and guaranteed themselves that opportunity by sweeping through the CCAA regular season and tournament.
UCSD is the No. 2 seed in the six-team, double-site West Regional. The Tritons welcome third-seeded CCAA foe Sonoma State (12-2-3) and sixth-seeded Azusa Pacific (11-3-4) for a first-round contest this Thursday, Nov. 10, beginning at noon. The winner gets the Tritons in the second round on Saturday.
UCSD is coming off of a 2-0 win as the top seed over sixth-seeded Cal State LA in the CCAA Tournament final Sunday in Turlock for its record 10th banner and second in a row.
Ticket prices for this week's activity are $8 for general admission, and $5 for seniors (65+), students with valid identification, and children (7+). Children under seven years of age are admitted free of charge. Parking will be free on Saturday.
Both matches will be broadcast live in high definition, free of charge, on UCSDtritons.tv, which can be accessed on smartphones and tablets in addition to desktops and laptops.
Sonoma State was the 2015 CCAA champion and 2016 runner-up. The Seawolves are again an at-large selection. Like UCSD in the CCAA, Azusa Pacific is the automatic qualifier of the Pacific West Conference, as its regular-season winner.
Top-ranked and unbeaten Western Washington (19-0-1), which claimed the Great Northwest Athletic Conference's automatic qualifier as the double winner of the regular season and tournament, is the top seed in the West, and will host the other side of the bracket, which will essentially be a mini-GNAC Tournament. Fourth-seeded rival Seattle Pacific (11-4-4) takes on the fifth seed, Central Washington (13-5-1), Thursday at 2 p.m., with the winner getting the Vikings Saturday at 1 p.m.
UCSD has defeated both Sonoma State (2-0) and Azusa Pacific (5-0) in La Jolla already this year, and also CWU on the road, 2-1 in overtime. The Tritons' lengthy current win streak began following a 3-2 loss at WWU back on Sept. 14.
The two teams from the West who survive this weekend, will travel to the top remaining seed in the South Central Region, for the West Region title tilt and the national quarterfinals. That occurs on an annual rotational basis. Saturday is thus definitively fans' last chance to see UCSD at Triton Soccer Stadium this season.
The 2016 NCAA Division II Women's Soccer Championship begins this Thursday, Nov. 10, with a 48-team field. The semifinals and championship game will be held Dec. 1-3, at Children's Mercy Victory Field at Swope Soccer Village in Kansas City, Mo. Grand Valley State blanked Columbus State, 2-0, in Pensacola, Fla., for its third consecutive national championship in 2015.