UCSD looks to hold on to the division lead

With only three games left on the regular season schedule and its final home game this weekend, the UCSD women’s soccer team hopes to finish strong and ride its current first-place standing into the playoffs.

Guardian file photo

Cal Poly Pomona, Cal State San Bernardino and Grand Canyon University — UCSD’s next three opponents — certainly aren’t planning on rolling over, which should make for an exciting race to the playoffs, where every goal counts and mistakes can cost the season.

“”The whole season depends on these next three games,”” Triton head coach Brian McManus said. “”[The California Collegiate Athletic Association] is probably the toughest it has ever been this year. We’re just hoping to add three to four points to our total in the next three games.””

The Tritons currently have 27 points in the CCAA, three more than Cal Poly Pomona and four more than UC Davis, their two closest opponents in the standings. If UCSD wins two of the next three games, it will be guaranteed at least a wild card berth in the playoffs. If it beats Cal Poly Pomona at one of those games, UCSD will enter the playoffs as the leader of the South Division of the CCAA.

UCSD will host Cal State San Bernardino at home on Oct. 26, where the Tritons hope to improve their impressive home record to 9-0 and their record over San Bernardino this year to 2-0, having scored a victory against them in this season’s opener.

CSUSB will be looking for revenge; the teams’ first meeting this year was a tough loss for UCSD to swallow.

“”They slaughtered us the first time,”” McManus said. “”We only had two shots the whole game. One scored, and we won, but they’ll definitely be looking to get back at us.””

McManus added that injuries will be a big issue for the Tritons this weekend, mentioning that several team members have ailments that range from a swollen ankle to a concussion.

After playing CSU San Bernardino, the Tritons will head up to Cal Poly Pomona, which is nipping at UCSD’s heels from second place, on Oct. 29. The last three games between these teams have resulted in Triton victories, but the Tritons’ road record this season is a less impressive 3-2, so this game will by no means be an assured victory.

“”It’s always tough traveling during the week with school,”” McManus said. “”Pomona’s field is smaller than most, as well. It will definitely be a physical game, but we hope to come out on top.””

UCSD will wrap up its season with a trip to Grand Canyon University on Nov. 2. While Grand Canyon is riding an eight-game losing streak at the moment, the team will want to end its season on a high note, and the weather is guaranteed to be a factor there.

“”It will be their last game of the season, and they’ll be playing with nothing to lose,”” said McManus. “”When you’re the champions, everyone wants a piece of you; Grand Canyon will come ready to play.””