Offensive domination leads soccer to big wins

    When a soccer team starts the season 5-1 with two games ending with scores of 7-0 and 11-0 scores, you can be sure that that team must have the “unstoppable force” offense, most commonly used to refer to the Indianapolis Colts of the National Football League. However, the 2005 UCSD women’s soccer team appears to be an unstoppable force, steamrolling its competition with overpowering offense and smothering defense.

    The No. 20 Tritons (5-1-0 overall, 1-1-0 CCAA) are coming off a bittersweet 2004 season in which they played well, finishing 14-4-1, but were snubbed by the NCAA and left out of the Division II Championships — a similar ending to the men’s soccer and men’s baseball teams’ seasons. After being underappreciated in 2004, the Tritons earned top honors from the California Collegiate Athletic Association coaches by being picked to win their fifth CCAA title in the last six years.

    The Tritons are looking to fulfill their fates by following the leadership of 19th-year head coach Brian McManus. McManus has already led the Tritons to two national championships and has the talent to do so again in 2005 despite the return of only two seniors: Heather Szafraniec and Kristina de la Rosa. While the lack of seniors may seem like a youth invasion, the Tritons are full of experienced young players who will be around for years to come. Juniors Kelly Cochran, Megan Dickey and Heather Sugg all have the ability to play a major part in the Tritons’ attempt at a national championship.

    So far this season, the Tritons have looked like national champions during most of their games. In their season opener against Humboldt State on Aug. 26, the Tritons had an impressive showing, winning on a goal from junior Alise Malley with 3.4 seconds left in the final overtime period.

    The Tritons followed their thriller with a 7-0 killing of Western Oregon on Sept. 1. UCSD scored six second-half goals in the game, with Dickey and sophomore Lauren Seagars each contributing two goals in the win. A week later, on Sept. 8, the Tritons maintained their perfect record, improving to 3-0 with an 11-0 victory against Central Washington. After seven goals in their second game, the Tritons could not stop finding the back of the net, scoring seven goals in the first half alone. Once again, Dickey scored early and often, netting four goals in the game to give her a team-leading six for the year.

    After outscoring their opponents 18-0 in their last two games, the Tritons faced off against No. 2 Seattle University, their NCAA West Region foe. The Redhawks looked to give UCSD a real challenge after seeing the Tritons win with ease in their first three games. However, Seattle could not keep up with the speedy Tritons and, although they did not dismantle the Redhawks like they did the Wildcats and the Wolves, the Tritons still managed a solid 4-2 victory to improve to 4-0 on the year.

    The Tritons took their first loss of the year on Sept. 13, falling in double overtime to Cal State Los Angeles in their first game on the road and their first league game. However, they bounced back on Sept. 17 by beating Cal State Bakersfield, 3-1.

    With all of the success so far this season, the Tritons will look to fulfill their hopes of another CCAA title. They now await numerous road games against their league rivals, like No. 12 Cal State Dominguez Hills on Sept. 21, Cal Poly Pomona on Sept. 24 and Sonoma State on Sept. 30.

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