SAN RAMON, Calif. - The California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) repeat champion University of California San Diego women's soccer program had nine student-athletes and head coach Brian McManus pick up postseason honors for 2017, as announced on Thursday by the league office.
For the second straight year, with UC San Diego completing back-to-back undefeated league seasons, three of the five major awards went to Tritons, with Natalie Saddic (San Diego/Torrey Pines HS) being named the CCAA Defensive Player of the Year. Fellow redshirt sophomore Angelica Ramos, the UCSD goalkeeper, is the CCAA Newcomer of the Year. McManus is the CCAA Coach of the Year for a record seventh time and second season in succession.
The Tritons were unbeaten again in the CCAA at 10-0-1 this year en route to a record 10th league championship. They are 13-2-2 overall and 10-0-2 over their last 12 heading into postseason play.
After a program-best seven Tritons made the All-CCAA First Team in 2016, five garnered that distinction for the current campaign, in Saddic, Aimee Ellis, Jordyn McNutt (San Diego/University City HS), Katie O'Laughlin (Carlsbad/Pacific Ridge School) and Mary Reilly (Chula Vista/Hilltop HS).
Saddic, who redshirted as a true freshman at UC Davis in 2015 before returning home to San Diego, has started every game stationed right in front of the three-person back line in McManus' 3-5-2 scheme. From there, she has played a critical role in achieving 11 shutouts overall, including eight in CCAA matches, and has added a pair of penalty-kick goals offensively in league activity. Saddic gives UCSD a second consecutive CCAA Defensive Player of the Year after senior center back Meghan Berry in 2016, and five over the 10-year history of the award.
Ramos is UCSD's first-year starter in goal after transferring from Saddleback College and backing up senior All-American Itzel Gonzalez in 2016. She has played every minute and been credited with 11 individual clean sheets. Ramos is second in the CCAA and 18th nationally in Division II with a 0.511 goals-against average. She is the program's second CCAA Newcomer of the Year, Annette Ilg the other in 2010.
McManus, in his 31st season, is the winningest head coach in the history of NCAA Division II women's soccer, currently at 497 career victories. Prior CCAA Coach of the Year awards came in 2000, 2001, 2003, 2006, 2011 and 2016.
McNutt completes her Triton career as a four-time All-CCAA choice, now with three first-team selections in a row after a second-team nod as a freshman in 2014. Strike partners O'Laughlin and Reilly are both first-teamers for the third successive year. Saddic made the second team last year. Ellis, Diaz and Martinez previously garnered All-CCAA honorable mentions in 2016, 2015 and 2016, respectively. Bales and Ramos are first-time honorees.
Ellis started all 11 league contests at either left or right back. McNutt generated four goals and an assist over the first six-plus CCAA contests before suffering an injury against Cal State San Marcos on Oct. 4. O'Laughlin, the 2016 CCAA Offensive Player of the Year, had three goals and a pair of helpers, with Reilly also starting all 11 league games and contributing a team-best five goals to go along with two assists. McNutt and Reilly each accounted for three game-winners among UCSD's 10.
Bales has paced the Tritons with her four assists, all coming over her 11 CCAA starts. Martinez collected a goal and an assist in league play. Diaz moved to center back from the center of midfield for her final college season, and had played every minute before having to come off the field with an injury in the 67th during Saturday's regular-season finale at Cal State Monterey Bay. She has anchored the nation's No. 15 defense with only nine goals allowed.
The 2016 Tritons who swept through the CCAA at a perfect 12-0 had achieved the unprecedented this time last year, as all 11 starters were recognized by the league.
Top-seeded host UC San Diego begins defense of its back-to-back CCAA Tournament titles in the semifinal round in primetime this Friday night, Nov. 3, against fifth-seeded city rival Cal State San Marcos. Kickoff at Triton Soccer Stadium on North Campus in La Jolla is slated for 7 p.m., after two men's semifinals and the first women's semi throughout the day. All games will also be streamed in high definition, without a charge, on UCSDtritons.tv.