NINTH-RANKED UC SAN DIEGO BEGINS #ROADTOKC AT HOME
After six straight games on the road and eight of its last 10, the No. 9 University of California San Diego women's soccer team finally returns home this weekend to kick off the 2016 NCAA Division II Championship. The California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) double champion Tritons (18-2) are winners of 15 in a row, having surrendered a solitary goal over their last 12 contests. As the West Region's second seed, they are through to the second round. Third seed Sonoma State will meet No. 6 seed Azusa Pacific in the first round on Thursday, Nov. 10, with UC San Diego awaiting the winner on Saturday, Nov. 12. Both matches are set for 12 p.m. starts at Triton Soccer Stadium on North Campus in La Jolla.
UCSD is the CCAA's automatic qualifier, having added a record 10th tournament title last Sunday in Turlock, to its record ninth conference crown. The Tritons are 7-1 at home in 2016, and are hosting NCAA postseason activity for the first time since 2012's national runner-up showing. In the event that they advance, they would be on the road for the remainder of the tournament.
TRITON SOCCER NOW ON UCSDTRITONS.TV!
For the very first time, all matches at Triton Soccer Stadium in 2016 feature a live video stream on UCSDtritons.tv. The platform, the product of a partnership between UC San Diego Athletics and local broadband services and technology giant ViaSat, is in its first full year. All broadcasts are in multi-camera high definition, and can be viewed from smartphones and tablets alongside desktop and laptop computers. UC San Diego alum and former baseball pitcher (2007-08) Tim Strombel (@Timmy2Sides) handles the play-by-play duties, and welcomes an array of guests. Viewing is subscription-based, though it is free from UCSD campus IP addresses. A package that gives viewers access to all streamed events (baseball, basketball, soccer, softball, volleyball, water polo and more) throughout the 2016-17 academic year is available for $34.99. A single-day option can be purchased for $5.99, meaning doubleheaders are two-for-one. Events are archived.
FREE VIEWING THIS WEEK
All four NCAA Championship women's and men's games this week will be FREE on UCSDtritons.tv, in high definition, with the archived broadcasts also able to be accessed without charge. Tim Strombel will call UCSD's matches on Saturday and Sunday.
MORE LIVE COVERAGE
All games have live stats. Select road matches also have video. 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 UCSD Athletics Twitter handle (@UCSDtritons).
NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP TICKET INFO
Tickets for the 2016 NCAA Championship can be purchased at Triton Soccer Stadium on the day of the game, beginning one hour prior to kickoff time, meaning 11 a.m. all week. Tickets are $8 for general admission, and $5 for seniors (65+), children (7+) and students with valid identification. Children under seven are admitted free of charge. Parking is free on Friday, Saturday and Sunday this week, but permits are required on Thursday. They can be purchased at machines situated at corners of either of the nearest parking lots, behind the spectator stand, as well as the Hopkins Parking Structure adjacent to RIMAC.
FIRST 200 UCSD STUDENTS FREE ON SATURDAY AND SUNDAY
The first 200 UCSD students to arrive for the Tritons' women's and men's NCAA second-round games this Saturday and Sunday, respectively, each at 12 p.m., gain free entry on North Campus.
Both UC San Diego soccer teams will be wearing a special patch on their jerseys this weekend, in remembrance of Sean Pleskow, who tragically passed away over the weekend. Pleskow was a two-year member of the Tritons in 2014-15, as was older brother Will (2012-13).
UCSD dropped from No. 8 to No. 9 nationally in Tuesday's final National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) regular-season poll. With the first in-season release of the NSCAA poll on Sept. 6, UCSD entered at No. 7, having been left out of the preseason listing. It marked a first national rank for the Tritons since they were No. 23 on Sept. 17, 2013. UCSD's highest rank this year has been No. 6 on Sept. 13.
The Tritons are in search of an eighth national title. The first five came during the NCAA Division III days, with the last two coming in UCSD's first two seasons at the Division II level (2000, 2001). UCSD has made its 14th Division II field in its 17th year since moving to Division II. The Tritons take a record of 23-10-3 (.681) in NCAA Division II Championship games heading into Saturday. They previously were 37-8-2 (.809) in 14 NCAA appearances in Division III.
Joining UCSD, Sonoma State and APU on the other side of the West Regional in Bellingham, Wash., are top-ranked Western Washington, fourth-seeded Seattle Pacific and a third Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) side, Central Washington. WWU is the automatic qualifier as the GNAC's double winner. At-large entrants SPU and CWU will face off at 2 p.m. on Thursday, with the winner going up against Western at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
TRITONS COMPLETE DOUBLE WITH TENTH TOURNEY TITLE
The top-seeded Tritons earned their record 10th CCAA Tournament title and second in a row, last Sunday in Turlock with an easy 2-0 win over No. 6 seed Cal State LA. It was a 16th CCAA Tournament appearance, more than any other current member, in their 17th season in the conference. Mary Reilly's goal at 88:49 was the difference Friday night in a tense affair against fifth-seeded host Stanislaus State, with Kiera Bocchino and Elisa Martinez effectively ending Sunday's drama within the first 18 minutes. Reilly was the tournament's Most Valuable Offensive Player, with Meghan Berry the Most Valuable Defensive Player. Jamie Benedetto, Itzel Gonzalez, Jordyn McNutt and Natalie Saddic joined them on the All-Tournament Team.
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED: TRITONS RUN CCAA TABLE
UC San Diego completed its perfect 12-0 run through the CCAA schedule with a come-from-behind, 2-1 triumph at Cal Poly Pomona on Oct. 29. The 17th-minute goal by the hosts meant that UCSD trailed for the first time in league action, but second-half goals by its potent strike duo of Mary Reilly (64th) and Katie O'Laughlin (75th) overturned that deficit. The Tritons had already clinched a record ninth CCAA crown, and first since 2012, with a 1-0 win at Cal State San Bernardino on Oct. 27. UCSD is the first team to run the CCAA table since Sonoma State went 14-0 in 1998. For all of the Tritons' success over their previous 16 years as a league member, this is the first time they have even gone undefeated, much less unbeaten and untied, since joining in 2000.
UCSD now has a record 10 CCAA Tournament banners, also the most of any other side, but this is just the third year in which the conference has done away with a divisional format, with the top point-getter at the end of the regular season now recognized as the CCAA champion, as opposed to the tourney winner in past years. Cal State LA and Sonoma State topped the table in 2014 and 2015, respectively.
CCAA RECOGNIZES ENTIRE STARTING 11
All 11 UCSD starters earned some type of postseason recognition from the CCAA when those announcements were made last Thursday, Nov. 3. Seven of the 11-member All-CCAA First Team were Tritons in Meghan Berry, Kiera Bocchino, Makenzie Brito, Itzel Gonzalez, Jordyn McNutt, Katie O'Laughlin and Mary Reilly. Jamie Benedetto and Natalie Saddic made the All-CCAA Second Team, with Aimee Ellis and Elisa Martinez grabbing All-CCAA honorable mention. O'Laughlin was the simple choice for Offensive Player of the Year, while Berry was tabbed the Defensive Player of the Year. Brian McManus was named the CCAA Coach of the Year for a record sixth time, and first since 2011.
O'LAUGHLIN BEST IN WEST
Katie O'Laughlin's career-best 15 goals lead the CCAA and the West Region. She is in a four-way tie for 16th nationally in goals, and an eight-way tie for sixth with six game-winners. Strike partner Mary Reilly is the league's only player even in double figures, at 11 goals. O'Laughlin ignited her campaign with a first collegiate hat trick on Sept. 1 against then-12th-ranked APU. She strung together a career-best run of five straight games with a goal from Oct. 9-23, having produced a pair of prior three-game goal-scoring streaks in 2016, to begin the year (Sept. 1-9), and from Sept. 16-25. O'Laughlin has hit the target in 13 of 20 games. She is two goals and three points from tying Triton great Erika Alfredson's single-season records for the program's Division II era, of 17 and 41, respectively, in 2001.
UC San Diego's 54 goals as a team, through 20 matches, leads both the CCAA and the West Region, and is tied for 11th nationally in the NCAA Division II. The next closest in the CCAA is Stanislaus State with 32. Katie O'Laughlin (15G, 8A), Mary Reilly (11G, 9A), Kiera Bocchino (8G, 4A) and Jordyn McNutt (4G, 11A) have accounted for 38 of those goals, and 32 of 53 assists. Those 53 assists also pace the West Region, and are fifth nationally. UCSD's record for single-season goals in the NCAA Division II era, which is also believed to be the CCAA standard, is 67 goals from its first year at that level in 2000.
This 15-game unbeaten streak (15-0) is UCSD's longest since a 19-gamer from Sept. 19-Dec. 2, 2010. It also marks the Tritons' best win streak since they took the final 17 games of their inaugural Division II season as national champions in 2000, and the first five in 2001. They produced their longest streaks of shutouts of the Division II era (since 2000), at nine games and 851:26, from Sept. 25-Oct. 29. UCSD had an eight-gamer from Sept. 29-Oct. 27, 1997. The team scored two or more goals in 12 successive games, a record streak for the program's Division II days, from Sept. 14-Oct. 23.
HISTORIC OFFENSIVE RUN
UC San Diego scored two or more goals in 12 consecutive matches from Sept. 14-Oct. 23. The Tritons' previous best in their NCAA Division II days, since 2000, was an eight-game stretch back in 2000. They have scored two or more goals in 17 of 20 contests in 2016. The 54 goals are UCSD's most in a decade, since 2006 (60).
GONZ GREAT IN GOAL
Fifth-year senior goalkeeper Itzel Gonzalez has kept a CCAA-best 15 clean sheets in this, her first year as UCSD's No. 1 between the posts, including nine straight from Sept. 30-Oct. 27. Her 0.349 goals-against average is tops in the CCAA, second in the West, and seventh nationally. The Tritons' Division II-best shutout streak stretched to 851:26 before being snapped Oct. 29 at CPP.
UCSD has tripled its 2016 opponents in shots taken, 370-119. The Tritons have 116 more shots than their closest competitors in the CCAA, and have produced 10 games with 20 or more, including a season high of 28 at Cal State Monterey Bay (10/9).
Junior Katie O'Laughlin and sophomore Mary Reilly, both local products, make up arguably the top forward tandem in the West Region, and one of the best in all of the NCAA Division II. O'Laughlin has a region-best 15 goals, with eight assists, while Reilly has produced 11 goals and nine assists. They are thus 1-2 on both the team and CCAA points charts, at 38 and 31, respectively. Reilly (11) and O'Laughlin (10) were 1-2 in the CCAA in goals in 2015. It's now O'Laughlin on top and Reilly second, both again having reached double figures.
JORDY IN FAMILIAR TERRITORY
Jordyn McNutt, who has held at least a share of the CCAA lead in assists in each of her first two years in Triton colors, is back at the top of the league standings in that category with a career-high 11. The junior winger set up four of UCSD's six goals in two home wins on Sept. 30 and Oct. 2, including her first career three-assist effort in the latter contest against Humboldt State. It was in fact the first three-assist game by a Triton since Sara Bolton on Sept. 2, 2010. McNutt now has five multi-assist games, including two this year. She is tied for 10th nationally in helpers, and has 28 for her career, tied for 10th all-time in program history.
Cal State LA did not gain credit for a single shot in its 2-0 loss to UCSD in La Jolla on Friday, Oct. 14. The Tritons had not achieved such a whitewash in over 15 years, going back at least through the 2001 season.
O'LAUGHLIN ADDS ANOTHER WEEKLY CCAA AWARD
On Nov. 1, Katie O'Laughlin was named the season's final CCAA Player of the Week, having scored the 75th minute winner at CPP that enabled UCSD to cap its perfect CCAA season. She also assisted on Mary Reilly's 64th-minute equalizer. O'Laughlin is a three-time honoree for her career.
Four current Tritons have eclipsed the 50-point plateau for their careers. Katie O'Laughlin's game-winner at Cal State Monterey Bay (10/9) pushed her to 51, and she is now at 66. Kiera Bocchino reached 50 with her assist on Senior Day against CSUDH (10/16), and sits at 53. Jordyn McNutt (54) assisted on Mary Reilly's (59) opener at Stanislaus State (10/21) to get them both to the mark.
E BACK FROM MEXICO
Junior central midfielder Elisa Martinez (El Cajon/Francis Parker School), returned from the Mexican capital of Mexico City on Oct. 1, and was on the bench during the Oct. 2 matchup with Humboldt State, though she did not play. She left on Sept. 18 after being formally invited on Sept. 12 to participate in her second training camp with the Mexico U-20 national team. Martinez was previously involved in her first Mexican camp at any age level, also in Mexico City, July 31-Aug. 7. The training periods served as tryouts for the side which will represent Mexico at the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup, to be held in Papua New Guinea from Nov. 13-Dec. 3. Martinez was back on the field for UCSD at SF State on Oct. 7, and reclaimed her spot in the starting lineup two days later.
For the month of September, six of nine UCSD opponents were either nationally-ranked at the time of the match, or receiving votes just outside of the top 25. In addition, the Tritons won at two-time defending Pacific West Conference champion Point Loma, as well as at Cal State San Marcos, which was the CCAA's last remaining unbeaten when UCSD posted a 4-0 victory on Sept. 21.
BERRY AND O'LAUGHLIN ARE STARS OF THE MONTH
Katie O'Laughlin was named on Oct. 5 among September's San Diego Hall of Champions Stars of the Month. She scored eight goals over UCSD's nine matches during the month, including four game-winners, as the Tritons went 7-2. Meghan Berry was also chosen on Nov. 2, anchoring a defense that outscored opposition 26-1 en route to a perfect 9-0 ledger for October. Both are first-time honorees. Mary Reilly won in November of 2015.
REILLY REELS IN FIRST CCAA WEEKLY NOD
Sophomore starlet Mary Reilly was named on Sept. 27 as the CCAA Player of the Week for the week of Sept. 19-25. It was the first such honor for the Chula Vista product's (Hilltop HS) career, coming after a stalwart performance against Chico State on Sept. 25 that saw her assist on UCSD's first two goals before scoring an exquisite 87th-minute clincher in the 3-1 victory.
HAT TRICK HERO O'LAUGHLIN EARNS FIRST WEEKLY AWARD
On Sept. 6, Katie O'Laughlin was named the season's first CCAA Player of the Week, thanks to her hat trick against APU. The junior Carlsbad product needed a mere 27 seconds to score her first of 2016, before doubling the advantage at 14:05 through a corner-kick header, and then completing her hat trick late on a breakaway.
UCSD's 5-0 rout of Azusa Pacific marked the first time the Tritons tallied five goals in a single game since a 5-1 home win over Cal State East Bay on Oct. 12, 2014. It was their most lopsided defeat since a 6-1 margin at home in the 2012 opener on Sept. 1 against Central Washington. The result is also believed to be UCSD's heftiest victory over a ranked opponent in at least it's Division II history. With the Sept. 6 win at Point Loma, the Tritons are a perfect 3-0 against their crosstown rivals, with no goals conceded over 270 minutes.
UCSD has a 6-0 romp, two 5-0 wins and three 4-0 victories in 2016 ... The Tritons are 9-8 in CCAA openers after a 4-0 win at CSUSM on Sept. 21 ended a run of two straight defeats ... UCSD is 15-1-1 in season openers in its NCAA Division II era, since 2000, following the 5-0 rout of then-12th-ranked Azusa Pacific on Sept. 1 ... UCSD is favored to win the 2016 CCAA title, grabbing six of 13 first-place votes in the preseason poll.
2016 SEASON OUTLOOK
Brian McManus, in his 30th season in charge, has had to replace just one starter in goalkeeper Kelcie Brodsky. The rest of a strong, veteran lineup is back, led by four All-CCAA First Team selections and area products in senior center back Meghan Berry (Mt. Carmel HS), junior winger Jordyn McNutt (University City HS), and the prolific strike tandem of junior Katie O'Laughlin (Pacific Ridge School) and sophomore Mary Reilly (Hilltop HS).
Reilly, the CCAA Freshman of the Year, and O'Laughlin, were statistically the league's top scoring duo, finishing 1-2 in goals at 11 and 10, respectively. Reilly paced the conference in most offensive categories, including points (28), game-winners (tied-four), shots (80) and shots on goal (52). McNutt provided a CCAA- and career-best 10 assists, while Berry was a revelation anchoring the back line after moving from central midfield during the 2015 preseason.
Senior Itzel Gonzalez has taken over in goal. She and winger Kiera Bocchino are the program's longest-standing members, both in their fifth year. Jamie Benedetto, like Berry, Bocchino, McNutt and Reilly, started all 22 matches in 2015. Kristen Sampietro (18), Brie Diaz (13), Aimee Ellis (13) and Taylor Ramos (10) all drew double-digit starts. Elisa Martinez earned her way into McManus' lineup in central midfield for each of the final nine games, and fellow junior Makenzie Brito the last seven at right back. Benedetto and Bocchino were All-CCAA Second Team picks, with Diaz garnering honorable mention in her first year on campus after a transfer from UC Riverside.
UCSD's 30-player 2016 roster has five seniors in fifth-year team members Kiera Bocchino and Itzel Gonzalez, alongside Jamie Benedetto, Meghan Berry and Kristen Sampietro ... Berry and Bocchino are second-year co-captains ... Twelve newcomers have joined the program, including 10 true freshmen ... Ten Tritons have San Diego ties, in Megumi Barber (San Diego/Mt. Carmel HS), Meghan Berry (Austin, Texas/San Diego Miramar College/Mt. Carmel HS), Sydney Davey (La Jolla/La Jolla HS), Maxia Espino (Chula Vista/Hilltop HS), Elisa Martinez (El Cajon/Univ. of Sioux Falls/Francis Parker School), Jordyn McNutt (San Diego/University City HS), Katie O'Laughlin (Carlsbad/Pacific Ridge School), Taylor Ramos (San Diego/Coronado HS), Mary Reilly (Chula Vista/Hilltop HS) and Natalie Saddic (San Diego/UC Davis/Torrey Pines HS) ... Kristin Jones, a two-time national champion and All-American as one of the greatest players to ever come through the storied UCSD program, is in her second year as associate head coach and her 17th straight as a Triton, having joined Brian McManus' staff immediately upon graduating.
HEAD COACH BRIAN McMANUS
Brian McManus is in his milestone 30th season in charge of the UC San Diego women's soccer program. With a career record of 483-87-51, he has achieved the most wins in NCAA Division II women's soccer history, and fourth-most for all divisions. McManus' career winning percentage of .816 heading into 2016 ranked among the top 10 in college women's soccer annals, both overall (No. 10) and Division II only (No. 4). He was also third in win percentage among active Division II coaches. McManus has directed UCSD to seven national titles and a record nine CCAA crowns and 10 tournament banners, with the Tritons advancing to the national semifinals a remarkable 15 times in his 29 years. Under his guidance, UCSD has qualified for the NCAA Championship all 13 seasons during the Division III days, and all but three (2004, 2013-14) of 17 years since the move up to Division II. McManus' Tritons have missed the CCAA Tournament just once in 2013, having earned 13 straight berths after joining the conference.
ABOUT THE SEAWOLVES
Sonoma State (12-2-3, 10-1-1 CCAA) is an unbeaten 6-0-2 over its last eight, and comese off of three straight shutouts, though it was eliminated via penalty-kick tiebreaker, 3-2, by No. 6 seed Cal State LA in last Friday's CCAA Tournament semifinals after a scoreless draw. The Seawolves are 5-1-2 away from home. Emiria Salzmann Dunn, the 2012 and 2015 CCAA Coach of the Year, is in her sixth year in charge at her alma mater.
UCSD leads the all-time series, 18-2-3, including a 2-0 shutout in this year's regular-season meeting in La Jolla on Sept. 30. The teams split two meetings in 2015, with SSU winning 1-0 at home during the league slate, and the Tritons producing a 3-0 triumph in the CCAA Tournament semifinals in Pomona. The result in Rohnert Park marked just the second time that the Seawolves came out on top. The Tritons took a critical 1-0 victory on the road late in the 2014 season when Sonoma State was ranked 15th. Their first defeat to SSU was in the previous showdown in La Jolla, 3-2 on Sept. 29, 2013, the decisive goal coming in the 86th minute. The 2012 matchup in Rohnert Park ended in a goalless draw.
ABOUT THE COUGARS
Azusa Pacific (11-3-4, 9-1-3 PacWest) won the PacWest as the preseason favorite, after grabbing a 1-1 tie at home against 2014 and 2015 champion Point Loma on Nov. 5. The Cougars thus nabbed the PacWest's automatic NCAA qualifier. They had their 2015 season ended at the same venue as the Tritons, falling 1-0 in Bellingham, Wash., to Western Washington in the West Region final. That result snapped a remarkable 11-game win streak for Azusa and put an end to its first NCAA Championship run. Senior Sarah Klinkenberg is the PacWest Goalkeeper of the Year, with junior Hayley Patterson the Defender of the Year. Jason Surrell, the PacWest Coach of the Year, is in his 17th season in charge at his alma mater.
UC San Diego leads the all-time series, 10-2-1, with a 5-0 rout in both teams' season opener in La Jolla on Sept. 1, when APU was No. 12 and the Tritons unranked. UCSD fell 1-0 in Azusa on Sept. 10, 2015, through a 40th-minute Casidy Burr strike. The Tritons got past the Cougars, 2-1 in double overtime, on Sept. 11, 2014, in La Jolla. Previously, the teams had not met since a 1-1 draw in La Jolla on Sept. 14, 1999, during UCSD's final season in Division III.
TRITONS IN THE MEDIA
A selection of features on the UC San Diego women's soccer program from this season:
• O'Laughlin in San Diego Union-Tribune (10/4/16)
• Tritons in HERO Sports News (10/4/16)
• McManus in GoalNation (8/12/16)
• McManus in HERO Sports News (7/30/16)
For the latest in Triton athletic gear, make sure to visit ucsdtritonsgear.com. Run by UCSD Athletics' online partner Advanced-Online, the site provides an on-demand option for Triton Athletic apparel and merchandise. Fans have access to over 600 products that can be processed and shipped within 24 hours.
FOR THE YOUNGER CROWD
Got some young Triton fans in your family? If they are eighth grade or under, check out the Junior Triton Club. Membership includes a free t-shirt, admission to over 100 UCSD home athletic events, and much more!
Saturday is guaranteed to be UC San Diego's final home game of 2016. Should the Tritons advance past Saturday's second-round tilt, they will hit the road next week for the third round and national quarterfinals, headed to the site of the top seed remaining in the South Central Region. The top seed going in is sixth-ranked Colorado Mines of Golden, Colo., who handed UCSD its lone home defeat, 1-0, back on Sept. 11.