UCSD: CCAA Champs!

    CARSON, Calif., — You cannot stop the UCSD women’s soccer team; You can only hope to contain them.

    Leo Der Stepanians/

    The Tritons yet again proved their dominance yesterday, winning the California Collegiate Athletic Association championship with a 1-0 victory over Sonoma State University at Toro Field.

    UCSD took the lead in the 18th minute of the first half. The Tritons’ Julia Cuder booted a corner kick past the Cossacks goalkeeper Kara Stout.

    “”We knew we were pretty dominant on corner kicks because we have scored a lot from them, so every time we do get one, everybody gets pumped up and excited,”” Cuder said. “”On every kick I just try to drive it in. On that one, Liz [Hughes] made an awesome up-post run and she distracted them and it just went in.””

    Stout was a formidable opponent, having been named an NCAA Division II All-American last year.

    Against the tritons, she was little more than human.

    “”We came out today wanting to show them we could play up with them, if not above them, and I think we did that,”” Cuder said.

    The rest of the first half was filled with back-and-forth play, with both squads traveling the length of the field in an attempt to strike blood.

    The second half saw more of the same until the final 20 minutes. That is when Sonoma unleashed its biggest threat.

    UCSD goalkeeper Kami Poma came through for the Tritons, making save after save during clutch time, sealing her team’s win and the ensuing conference title

    “”I thought we went to sleep a little bit in the last 10 or 15 minutes, but that’s going to happen when a team takes chances and throws bodies forward,”” said UCSD head coach Brian McManus. “”Everything just becomes 100 miles an hour. That’s going to happen. You’re going to have to accept that and get on with it. “”

    Earlier this year, Sonoma and UCSD got together for a rumble at UCSD. The Tritons were outplayed for most of the game but pulled out the win 1-0 in overtime.

    “”Sonoma is a powerhouse up north,”” Cuder said. “”The first time we played them, we were not scared, but unsure of what was going to happen. The first game they dominated we just weren’t playing our game.””

    There were many differences between yesterday’s match and the one earlier this year.

    “”We decided this time just to play,”” McManus said. “”The last time we played up there they were by far the better team. Today, it was always going to be a tight game. There was no way someone was going to run away and score a barrel of goals, and I thought we did reasonably well.””

    The Tritons played in Division III last year, winning the national championship. This year, they moved to Division II.

    “”The girls worked their backsides off today,”” McManus said. “”It’s been a hard year. They’ve got to keep proving themselves. Everyone wants to beat them. Nobody wants a team coming up from Division II — no scholarships — to win the championships.””

    Next up for UCSD is the first round of the NCAA Division II Tournament, to be held this weekend, time and place to be announced.

    The Tritons hope to continue making waves.

    “”Our coach is amazing,”” Cuder said. “”That’s all you have to say. He takes whatever team he has and he makes a winning formula out of it and this just shows it. You can’t say enough about him.

    “”We came back from winning last year in Division III, and we wanted to come this far and we knew could do it. Coming out here and beating teams like Sonoma, [which] is an amazing team, and doing this — I just can’t say enough about him.””

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