UCSD women's soccer begins the quest anew

    Riding a wave of high expectations, the UCSD women’s soccer team begins its second year in Division II ranked No. 1 in the nation by an NCAA preseason poll. The team is also favored to win the California Collegiate Athletic Association for the second straight season in a poll taken of league coaches.

    Guardian File Photo

    UCSD is favored to win the South Division while Sonoma State (ranked 11th in the nation) is picked to win the North Division. Cal State Bakersfield (ranked 25th in the nation) is predicted by the coaches to win the Central Division. Cal Poly Pomona (ranked 18th nationally) and UC Davis (coaches’ wildcard pick) are both expected to be in the playoff hunt as well.

    The defending national champs, led by 15th year head coach Brian McManus, began the quest for their second straight Division II National Championship and CCAA title with a convincing 5-0 victory over Humboldt State on Aug. 26 and haven’t looked back since. UCSD outshot Humboldt State 12-2 in the first half and controlled the ball throughout the game.

    If anything, this team seemed stronger than last year’s, as it featured a well-balanced scoring attack that included two goals from freshman forward Anne-Marie Miklos.

    Senior midfielder Elizabeth Hughes, senior forward Jessica Cordova and senior midfielder Nikki Richards also contributed goals to the Triton victory while sophomore goalkeeper Kami Poma posted her first shutout of the season.

    Four days later, the Tritons hosted Alliant International and again came away with a dominant 5-0 victory.

    Senior All-American and team captain Julia Cuder led the Tritons with two goals, both off penalty kicks, while fellow seniors Erika Alfredson and Laura Dooly also added a goal each.

    The Tritons had three goalies — Poma, Carolyn Cadei and Jamie Lautenschleger — combine for the shutout. When the dust cleared, the Tritons had outshot their opponents 33-1.

    On Sept. 4, UCSD traveled to San Bernardino, Calif., for its league opener and posted its third straight five-goal game in a 5-1 victory over the Coyotes. Sophomore forward Kristin Jones had two goals, and Alfredson scored once and assisted on two others.

    Miklos and sophomore Megan Mendoza added a goal apiece for UCSD, while the Tritons’ high-octane offense was paired with a stellar defense that allowed only nine shots on goal.

    On Sept. 8, the women’s team traveled to Pomona to square off against its rival, Cal Poly. The team won in heart-stopping fashion, netting a goal in the waning seconds of the second overtime for a 1-0 victory.

    With time running out, UCSD thwarted a Bronco attack in its territory and raced the ball upfield. Jones kicked a perfect cross pass over the head of Pomona goalie Katie Kreps and Miklos left the ground to head the ball into the net for the victory.

    Kreps, after posting three consecutive shutouts in her first three games this year, was denied her fourth as time expired just after Miklos’ goal. Miklos’ heroics in the game earned her honorable mention for CCAA Women’s Soccer Player of the Week for the week of Sept. 4 through Sept. 9.

    Broncos Michelle McConell and Tia Rudolph were influential in helping Cal Poly control the ball for most of the game. Rudolph just missed scoring in the first half when her shot hit the crossbar.

    Poma, the Triton goalie, was instrumental in keeping UCSD in the game while the Broncos outshot UCSD 15-5. She recorded three saves on the day. This was the fourth straight victory for the Tritons over the Broncos in the past two years, however three of those wins have been in overtime.

    In their next game on Sept. 12, the Tritons easily bounced back from their toughest game of the year and overcame Grand Canyon University by a final of 5-0. It was their third 5-0 victory in their first five games.

    Miklos again led the team, this time with two goals, while Hughes, Richards and Cordova each contributed a goal.

    The league-leading UCSD offense gave Antelope goalkeeper Jolene Gagnon a headache all game, outshooting Grand Canyon 19-1.

    The Tritons’ game, which originally had been scheduled for Sept. 11, was moved back a day due to the unfortunate events that occurred Tuesday.

    The team was forced to make a straight drive from Phoenix to San Francisco where the road-weary Tritons were stunned by the surprising San Francisco State Gators, 1-0 last Saturday. The 18th ranked Gators, picked to finish last in their division in a preseason poll, have proved all critics wrong on the way to a 4-0-1 record and the best start in school history.

    Junior Gator goalie Kelly Hoover made eight saves to shut out the Triton offense that had averaged 4.3 goals per game over their first five games, and junior Roberta Morrow led the Gator defense that contained the Tritons.

    On the other side of the field, senior Christina Quintero (second team All-Far West Region in 2000) provided all the offense San Francisco State needed 5:44 into the game when she scored off of her own rebound.

    The Tritons outshot San Francisco State 24-9 and had attacks from 11 different players, yet were unable to get the ball past Hoover, who made several spectacular saves.

    The Tritons’ loss drops them to 5-1 on the season and ends their 22 game winning streak, while the Gators remain undefeated on the season.

    After the game the Tritons hit the road again and headed farther north to do battle with Sonoma State. They then will finally end their extended road trip and head home to take on California State University Dominguez Hills next Friday at 4:30 p.m. for their home CCAA opener.

    The Toros will look to provide some stiff opposition to the Tritons this year as CSU Dominguez Hills enters this week’s play with a undefeated 7-0-1 record, and accounted for one of the Tritons’ two losses last year.

    Due to their unforeseen change in schedule, the Triton coaches and players were unavailable for comments.

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