INDIANAPOLIS - The third-ranked University of California San Diego women's soccer program has been selected to a 15th NCAA Division II Championship in 18 seasons at that level, as announced on Monday afternoon.
For UC San Diego, the double champion of the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) regular season and tournament for a second year running, the road to Kansas City, Mo., goes through La Jolla. A perfect 11-0 at Triton Soccer Stadium so far in 2017, UCSD will be able to stay at home throughout its involvement over the first two weekends of the 48-team tournament.
UCSD was the top seed in the first official NCAA West Region poll, and stayed there through the next two editions despite a pair of road draws. Two wins to complete a CCAA Tournament threepeat at home this past weekend, kept them atop the regional listing. As the No. 1 seed, UCSD begins this latest NCAA run with a first-round bye, and will stay idle until the second round this Sunday, Nov. 12. The Tritons, now 15-2-2 overall on the year and entering the tournament on a 14-match (12-0-2) unbeaten streak, await the winner between fourth-seeded CCAA rival Chico State and No. 5 seed Concordia University, of Portland, Ore., and the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC). Kickoff for both matches is set for 2 p.m.
UC San Diego, the CCAA's automatic NCAA qualifier, is making a third straight NCAA appearance, having fallen to eventual national champion Western Washington, 2-1 in overtime, in the 2016 West Region final in Golden, Colo.
Chico State and Concordia are both at-large entrants. The Wildcats are 11-5-2 overall, and dropped a 3-0 decision at UCSD in both teams' CCAA opener back on Sept. 15. Concordia has earned its first NCAA Division II Championship berth in its first year of eligibility. The Cavaliers are 15-3-1 overall and the GNAC regular-season champions with an unbeaten league mark of 11-0-1. They clinched that first-ever GNAC crown with a 2-0 win at Western Washington in the regular-season finale on Oct. 28. The result snapped a 39-game win streak for the Vikings, who took the rematch, 1-0 in double overtime, in Saturday's GNAC tournament finale at CU.
Western Washington is the West's No. 2 seed and hosts No. 3 Sonoma State and No. 6 California Baptist on the other side of the regional in Bellingham, Wash. Sonoma State and CBU square off on Thursday, Nov. 9, at 1 p.m., with the winner getting the Vikings on Saturday, Nov. 11, also at 1 p.m.
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. The first 500 UC San Diego students through the gate on Sunday will be free. Parking will be free on Friday and Sunday.
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.
Sunday's tilt for UC San Diego will have the added intrigue of legendary 31st-year head coach Brian McManus currently being at 499 career wins. Only four coaches in the history of college women's soccer have reached the 500-victory milestone.
The top remaining seed in the West Region after this weekend, will host the top two teams from the South Central Region the following weekend, for a pair of regional title clashes and a national quarterfinal. That occurs on an annual rotational basis. Therefore, if UC San Diego can advance past Sunday's second round, the Tritons would be at home again the following week.
The 2017 NCAA Division II Women's Soccer Championship begins this Thursday, Nov. 9, with a 48-team field. The semifinals and championship game will be held Nov. 30-Dec. 2, at Swope Soccer Village in Kansas City, Mo. Western Washington edged three-time reigning national champion Grand Valley State, 3-2, in Kansas City a year ago for its first title.