Freshmen lead women's soccer

    The UCSD women’s soccer team had yet another stellar season, maintaining a 14-2-0 record, clinching their fourth-straight California Collegiate Athletic Association South division title, and already receiving a berth to the CCAA playoffs. A large part of the Tritons’ success on the field is due to three remarkable freshmen: Kelly Cochran, Heather Sugg and Megan Dickey. These three women are among the team leaders in points and game-winning goals.

    Jessica Horton/Guardian
    Fresh faces: Kelly Cochran (left) and fellow freshman Heather Sugg.

    All three freshmen contributed to the 4-2 win against Cal State Bakersfield on Oct. 12. Although the game was tied 1-1 entering the second half, Sugg was able to begin the second half of the game with a goal off an assist from Dickey. Cochran then followed with another shot, making the score 3-1. The last goal of the game came off a shot from senior Megan Mendoza, assisted by Sugg. In addition, Cochran tallied a goal and an assist while Dickey added a goal in the overwhelming 14-0 defeat of Grand Canyon on Nov. 1. This has been the type of effort and results that the freshmen have contributed to the team all season: great plays made on the field, goals scored and assists made left and right.

    Both Sugg and Cochran scored goals in a 2-1 victory over rival UC Davis. Sugg played a key role in the first goal of the game, firing a shot that was then deflected into the goal by a UC Davis player. Cochran scored the winning goal off a penalty kick, giving the Tritons the win.

    “”It felt awesome to be a part of that win,”” Cochran said. “”That was a big victory for us, and it just felt really good to have beaten Davis.””

    Anna MacMurdo/Guardian
    Clutch: Freshman Megan Dickey is second in game-winning goals.

    Cochran, who plays left midfield and forward, is currently the team’s leading goal scorer with eight goals, including three game-winners. A soccer player since the age of five, Cochran played for SoCal United in West Lake Village, Calif. until last year.

    “”College soccer is definitely different from club in that the level of play is more intense, and every game is important and counts just as much as a playoff one,”” Cochran said. As for the pressure of starting on the field, Cochran said, “”There hasn’t been a whole lot of pressure on us because no one expects too much because we’re freshmen.””

    McManus has been impressed during Cochran’s performace during the season.

    “”Kelly just goes 100 mph during games,”” head coach Brian McManus said. “”Not only is she great offensively, but she works on her defense too; she’s not always looking to go forward with the ball. She’s a great player who just never stops running.””

    On the other hand, the 5-foot-9-inch Sugg is a more discreet player on the field.

    “”Heather just plays simple; she does her job, doesn’t get beat, distributes the ball well, and isn’t a flashy player,”” McManus said. “”She also has the absolute best corner kicks in her age division.””

    Sugg has contributed four goals and an assist during the season. The center midfielder who played for the SoCal Blues is from Lake Forest, Calif. Sugg and Dickey are tied for second in game-winning goals with two apiece.

    Another great addition to the team, Dickey plays center and right midfield and played a key role as a starter, but was forced to sit out for part of the season due to a partially torn ACL. Dickey plays a long-ball game, which puts her at second on the team in assists.

    “”Megan is a very strong player with tremendous shots and crosses,”” McManus said. “”She is a very strong defensive player and she loves to tackle. She’s definitely living up to our expectations for her.””

    Dickey, who graduated from Torrey Pines High School, is from Del Mar, Calif.

    So how difficult was it to adjust to a new team? “”It was a bit different playing midfielder and not knowing everyone at first,”” Cochran said. “”But the upperclassmen are awesome and made us feel welcomed from the beginning.””

    Sugg expressed similar sentiments.

    “”The seniors are definitely a big part of getting us ready before games,”” Sugg said. “”They each give different speeches to pump us up.””

    Although the women are beginning to feel the difficulty of balancing academics and athletics with schoolwork mounting up, they’re having a great time together with the team. “”We do lose time to be included in some of the freshmen activities like hanging out with suitemates, but the team has really become like my family,”” Sugg said.

    McManus is optimistic about the impact that the freshmen will have in the future.

    “”The freshmen have all contributed to the team in a very big way. They’re definitely exceeding our expectations and will be a big part in the team’s future as well,”” McManus said. “”We lost only one senior last year but we added some great new players to our roster.””

    With the playoffs beginning on Nov. 7, the girls aren’t looking too far ahead ‹ yet.

    “”We’re taking each game one at a time,”” McManus said.

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