REGULAR-SEASON CHAMPION TRITONS LOOK TO REPEAT PERFECTION IN BAY AREA
The seventh-ranked University of California San Diego women's soccer program is off to the Bay Area on Wednesday, Oct. 25, to conclude the 2017 regular season with two final California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) contests. UC San Diego (12-2-1, 9-0 CCAA) had already clinched a second straight CCAA regular-season championship before a ball was kicked during last week's activity, and therefore the top seed for the 2017 CCAA Tournament, which it will host on Nov. 3 and Nov. 5. The Tritons are, however, still in search of a second successive perfect CCAA slate, having gone 12-0 a year ago with an opportunity for 11-0 this season. They play Cal State East Bay in Hayward on Thursday, Oct. 26, at 7 p.m., and Cal State Monterey Bay in Seaside on Saturday, Oct. 28, at 2 p.m.
Thursday's match at Cal State East Bay only has live stats, but Saturday's regular-season finale at Cal State Monterey Bay will also feature a live video stream. 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). Finally, check out the CCAA live scoreboard here to keep up on results around the league.
Wednesday marked the unveiling of the second official NCAA regional polls, with UCSD still first ahead of Sonoma State and undefeated defending national champion Western Washington. The fourth through eighth slots are now occupied by Chico State, California Baptist, Cal Poly Pomona, Dixie State and Cal State LA. The top six teams in the final edition of those rankings, qualify for the NCAA Championship. The third release is set for next Wednesday, Nov. 1. The 48-team NCAA field will be unveiled on Monday, Nov. 6, at 3 p.m. PT, live on NCAA.com. Once again this year, there are automatic qualifiers for all three West Region conferences in the CCAA, Great Northwest Athletic Conference and Pacific West Conference. The CCAA's automatic qualifier will be the tournament champion.
UCSD IN THE UNITED SOCCER COACHES POLL
• Oct. 24: 7 (2nd in West)
• Oct. 17: 8 (2nd in West)
• Oct. 10: 8 (2nd in West)
• Oct. 3: 7 (2nd in West)
• Sept. 26: 7 (2nd in West)
• Sept. 19: 10 (2nd West)
• Sept. 12: 19 (3rd in West)
• Sept. 5: 9 (2nd in West)
• Preseason: 10
A LOOK BACK AT LAST WEEK
UCSD outshot city rival Cal State San Marcos, 16-6, and earned 13 corner kicks to just three, but could not find the all-important goal in a scoreless draw last Saturday afternoon in a non-conference meeting between the CCAA foes. Angelica Ramos was credited with three saves in posting her 10th individual shutout in goal.
CCAA TOURNAMENT UPDATE
Earlier this week, the CCAA officially announced that UCSD and Cal State San Marcos' matches at Sonoma State on Oct. 13 and Oct. 15 that were postponed due to wildfires, would not be made up, with that decision necessitating a new standings structure for 2017 that calls for a points-per-game format. The Tritons thus clinched a second straight CCAA regular-season title without last week's results mattering. They will be making a 17th CCAA Tournament appearance in 18 seasons in the league, as two-time reigning and record 10-time champions. UCSD has earned a first-round bye on Tuesday, Oct. 31, and will play a semifinal match on Friday, Nov. 3, in La Jolla.
UCSD has won 23 consecutive CCAA regular-season matches since a 1-0 loss at Sonoma State on Oct. 18, 2015. The Tritons had in fact won 29 straight games against CCAA opposition, when including non-conference matchups and CCAA Tournament contests, until a scoreless draw in non-conference action at Cal State San Marcos last Saturday, Oct. 21. UCSD has held a 71-7 scoring advantage and trailed in only two of those 30 matches, for a grand total of 54:21, after early goals by hosts Cal Poly Pomona in the 2016 regular-season finale and Humboldt State on Friday, Oct. 13. At CPP, UCSD overturned that 1-0 halftime deficit thanks to goals by Mary Reilly and Katie O'Laughlin, to complete its perfect ledger. Indeed last season, for the first time in the storied 17-year CCAA history of the UC San Diego women's soccer program, the Tritons completed their league slate unbeaten and untied, at a perfect 12-0. It marked the first such effort by a CCAA squad since Sonoma State went 14-0 in 1998. UCSD went on to win both of its CCAA Tournament games, 2-0 and 1-0, to give it a 14-0 mark against CCAA foes, outscoring them 35-2 during the regular season and 38-2 overall. In Arcata on Oct. 13, Natalie Saddic equalized within seven minutes midway through the first half, and Reilly headed in an Elisa Martinez corner kick just 3:40 from the end of the second and final overtime, to extend the streak.
COUNTDOWN TO 500
Legendary UC San Diego head coach Brian McManus needs four more wins to give him 500 for his outstanding 31-year tenure in charge of the Tritons. Only three others in the history of NCAA women's soccer have reached the milestone, in North Carolina's Anson Dorrance (809), UConn's Len Tsantiris (563) and William Smith's Aliceann Wilber (536), with those reflected totals heading into the 2017 season.
UCSD senior Katie O'Laughlin and junior Mary Reilly, two 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. They have combined for 63 career goals, 33 and 30, respectively, including exactly 50 in 2015 and 2016, each reaching double figures in both years. In 2016, O'Laughlin had a region-best 16 goals and 41 points, with nine assists, while Reilly produced 13 goals and nine assists of her own. They were 1-2 in the West in goals and thus also 1-2 on the CCAA chart for the second year in a row, this time with spots flipped. Reilly hit for 11 and O'Laughlin for 10 in 2015. They both started their 2017 accounts over the opening weekend, with O'Laughlin finding the target once in both games and Reilly providing the first in a 2-1 victory over Central Washington. O'Laughlin added a 58th-minute tally in that match that was the 30th of her career and proved to be her 10th game-winner. The duo is again 1-2 on the team chart at six for Reilly and five for O'Laughlin. Reilly's team-best sixth was her 30th as the double-overtime winner at Humboldt State on Oct. 13. Reilly (65) and O'Laughlin (56) are again 1-2 in the CCAA in shots.
ANGELICA RAMOS NAMED CCAA PLAYER OF THE WEEK
On Oct. 10, redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Angelica Ramos became the second Triton to earn CCAA Player of the Week distinction for 2017. She produced four saves in each of two 1-0 victories, at home against CSUSM and SF State. Ramos thus stretched her individual shutout streaks to five-plus games and 500:25 of action, which got up to as high as 515:36. Her 0.519 goals-against average ranks second in the CCAA, third in the West Region and 21st in Division II. She has 10 individual clean sheets.
Through this current 10-game unbeaten streak (9-0-1), UCSD has surrendered two scores, the first an own goal at Cal State Dominguez Hills on Sept. 22. Goalkeeper Angelica Ramos has kept 10 individual clean sheets, including five straight from Sept. 24-Oct. 6 and eight over these last 10 games. The three-person back line consists of, from right to left, seniors Aimee Ellis and Brie Diaz, and true freshman Delaney Whittet, the latter since the injury loss of fourth-year senior and captain Makenzie Brito on Sept. 17. Right in front of them are redshirt sophomore holding central midfielder Natalie Saddic. The Tritons' longest shutout stretch of the season has been five-plus games and 515:36 in all from Sept. 22-Oct. 13. Their 0.519 team goals-against average ranks first in the CCAA, second in the West Region and 18th in Division II.
Eight Tritons made their first appearance during the first weekend, including redshirt sophomore goalie Angelica Ramos, redshirt freshman Amanda Erickson, and true freshmen Michelle Baddour, Caitlin McCarthy, Abby Ross, Maddy Samilo, Delaney Whittet and Natalie Widmer. Samilo needed just 7:02 after coming on late in the first half of the season opener, to notch her first collegiate goal, with McCarthy assisting. Though Widmer was the only newcomer to start that match, the 3-0 shutout of city rival Point Loma ended with six true freshmen on the pitch. McCarthy's first college goal was the winner in another 3-0 decision over Concordia Irvine on Sept. 5. A seventh true freshman, forward Alexis Kirson out of Las Vegas, Nev., earned her college debut against Chico State on Sept. 15.
UC San Diego is the unanimous favorite to repeat as champion of the CCAA, as voted on by the league's 13 head coaches for the 2017 preseason poll, garnering 144 points due largely to 12 first-place nods ... Katie O'Laughlin earned the season's first CCAA Player of the Week award for the second straight year, which marked her fourth career weekly recognition from the league office ... UCSD is 16-1-1 in season openers in the NCAA Division II era, suffering its only such defeat in 2014 at Seattle Pacific ... UCSD is 10-8 in CCAA openers, now with two straight wins after a 4-0 romp at Cal State San Marcos last season and 3-0 home victory over Chico State this year ... When UCSD fell 4-0 at 2016 national quarterfinalist Colorado Mines on Sept. 8, it marked its first loss by more than one goal since a 2-0 defeat at Cal Poly Pomona on Nov. 2, 2014 ... The Tritons have four 3-0 victories in 2017 and five 1-0 triumphs, including four straight between Sept. 29-Oct. 6 ... They are 8-1 in one-goal games, and have been on the right side of seven in a row ... For the fifth straight year and sixth in the last seven, UCSD recently earned the United Soccer Coaches Team Academic Award with a 3.03 combined GPA for 2016-17.
The CCAA grind is tough enough, but UCSD head coach Brian McManus has given his side the best possible chance of gaining another NCAA Championship berth in 2017. Of the five non-conference opponents the Tritons faced prior to league competition, Mines and Regis were picked to finish 1-2 in the RMAC, Concordia and Point Loma 3-4 in the PacWest, and Central Washington second in the GNAC.
UCSD's 29-player 2017 roster has seven seniors in fourth-year team members Makenzie Brito, Aimee Ellis, Jordyn McNutt, Katie O'Laughlin and Taylor Ramos, alongside third-year transfers Brie Diaz and Elisa Martinez ... Brito, Martinez, McNutt and O'Laughlin are 2017 team captains, and all four are first-time captains ... Eleven newcomers have joined the program, including 10 true freshmen ... Twelve players are from San Diego, in Michelle Baddour (San Diego/University City HS), Megumi Barber (San Diego/Mt. Carmel HS), Sydney Davey (La Jolla/La Jolla HS), Georgina Herrera (San Ysidro/San Diego Mesa College/San Ysidro HS), Elisa Martinez (El Cajon/University of Sioux Falls/Francis Parker School), Caitlin McCarthy (Carlsbad/Carlsbad HS), 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), Natalie Saddic (San Diego/UC Davis/Torrey Pines HS) and Maddy Samilo (San Diego/Rancho Bernardo HS) ... Kristin Jones (Oceanside HS), a two-time national champion and two-time All-American as one of the greatest players to ever come through the storied UCSD women's soccer program, begins her third year as associate head coach and her 18th straight year as a Triton player or coach, having joined Brian McManus' staff immediately upon exhausting her eligibility.
CCAA TOURNAMENT RETURNS TO LA JOLLA
UC San Diego is the proud host of the 2017 CCAA Tournament semifinals and finals, for the first time since 2008 and fourth in all. Two women's and two men's semifinals will be contested at Triton Soccer Stadium on Friday, Nov. 3, with the two finals set for Sunday, Nov. 5. First-round matchups will take place on the campuses of the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds on Tuesday, Oct. 31. In all three previous instances that UCSD has served as the host, the Triton women have won the event, in 2001, 2006 and 2008. The women's champion will once again earn the CCAA's automatic berth into the NCAA Championship.
CCAA FORMAT UNCHANGED
For the fourth 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 2017 CCAA Tournament. Cal State San Marcos, a new addition in 2015, is eligible for the first time.
2017 SEASON OUTLOOK
Brian McManus saw his entire 2016 starting 11 recognized in some fashion with postseason CCAA athletic honors, including seven of 11 first-teamers, with an incredible seven student-athletes gaining All-America consideration by one or both award entities. Seven of those 11 return, led by Division II Conference Commissioners Association West Region Player of the Year and CCAA Offensive Player of the Year Katie O'Laughlin (Carlsbad/Pacific Ridge School), a senior All-American whose 16 goals and 41 points were best in the West. Further unfortunate for Triton opponents, is that her lethal strike partner and fellow San Diego product Mary Reilly (Chula Vista/Hilltop HS) is also back. Reilly, a junior, added 35 points from 13 goals and nine assists, comfortably leading the CCAA in shots taken for a second successive season. The other two All-CCAA First Team returners are winger Jordyn McNutt (San Diego/University City HS) and right back Makenzie Brito, both seniors. Senior left back Aimee Ellis, redshirt sophomore holding central midfielder Natalie Saddic (San Diego/UC Davis/Torrey Pines HS) and senior central midfielder Elisa Martinez (El Cajon/University of Sioux Falls/Francis Parker School) are the remaining starters back. They are joined by the likes of Brie Diaz and fellow senior Taylor Ramos (San Diego/Coronado HS), as well as the junior duo of Summer Bales and Megumi Barber (San Diego/Mt. Carmel HS).
UCSD went 19-3 overall and a perfect 12-0 in the CCAA a year ago. A 16-game win streak was snapped in the West Region final by eventual national champion Western Washington, 2-1 in overtime in Golden, Colo. The Tritons won the CCAA Tournament for a second straight and record 10th time, as the top seed.
HEAD COACH BRIAN McMANUS
Brian McManus is in his 31st season in charge of the UC San Diego women's soccer program. With a career record of 496-90-52, he has achieved the most wins in NCAA Division II women's soccer history, and fourth-most for all divisions. McManus' winning percentage of .818 heading into 2017 ranks among the top 12 in college women's soccer annals, both overall (No. 11) and Division II only (No. 5). The six-time and reigning CCAA Coach of the Year is also third in win percentage among active Division II coaches. McManus has directed UCSD to seven national titles and a record 10 CCAA crowns and 10 tournament banners (regular-season titles in 2016 in 2017), with the Tritons advancing to the national semifinals a remarkable 15 times in his first 30 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 PIONEERS
Cal State East Bay (4-11-1, 1-8-1 CCAA) is in last place in the league table. The Pioneers lost 4-0 at Stanislaus State last Sunday afternoon, after a 1-1 draw at Chico State on Friday, Oct. 20. They are 2-5 in Hayward. Amy Gerace is in her 17th year in charge at her alma mater.
UCSD leads the all-time series, 9-1, including a 6-0 romp in Hayward last year and a 3-1 decision in La Jolla in 2015. Those matchups were preceded by a 5-1 thrashing in La Jolla in 2014. The Tritons had taken the first six meetings after the Pioneers joined the CCAA for the 2009 season, prior to a 2-1 overtime loss in Hayward in 2013. UCSD had actually taken a 1-0 lead into the final seven minutes of regulation in that one, before the home side equalized and then stole it within two minutes in the first extra period. The Tritons stormed back from a 2-0 halftime deficit to down the Pioneers in double overtime, 3-2, in Hayward in 2012. Izzy Pozurama scored the unassisted winner at 101:47 after Cassie Callahan had levelled matters in the 79th minute. UCSD won 5-1 in La Jolla in 2011.
ABOUT THE OTTERS
Cal State Monterey Bay (5-8-3, 2-7-1 CCAA) is in 11th place heading into the final week of its 2017 season. The Otters are 3-2-3 at home and host Cal State San Marcos on Friday afternoon, before welcome in the Tritons. CSUMB is coming off a 4-0 loss at Chico State on Sunday, which followed a 2-1 double-overtime defeat at Stanislaus State two days prior. Laura VanWart is in her first season at the helm.
UCSD is an unbeaten 12-0-1 in the all-time series, outscoring the Otters, 40-5, with only a 1-1 draw in La Jolla on Oct. 9, 2015, as a blemish. Last year's match ended 4-0 in the Tritons' favor in Seaside. Those results followed successive 1-0 decisions, in La Jolla in 2013 on a 54th-minute goal, and then in Seaside in 2014 through an 84th-minute penalty by Cassie Callahan. UCSD is 7-0 against CSUMB in Seaside. The Otters had gone scoreless for 502:04 against the Tritons, with four straight shutout losses, prior to Regan Porteous's equalizer at 83:27 in 2015. Katie O'Laughlin provided the 51st-minute opener.
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FOR THE YOUNGER CROWD
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Regardless of what happens in the Bay Area this weekend, the Tritons will open the 2017 CCAA Tournament as the host and top seed on Friday, Nov. 3, with their semifinal slated for a 7 p.m. start.