Fall Season Preview

    With a 4-0-2 record, the No. 4 ranked women’s soccer team is off to their best start since 2007, and with 10 out of their 11 starters back from last season, the Tritons look as dangerous as ever.
    All-American senior Kristin Armstrong has returned to tend the net for the Tritons.

    In her third year as the keeper of choice for head coach Brian McManus, Armstrong will look to anchor the Triton defense.

    She is joined in the back by veteran defenders, senior Sara Spaventa and juniors Ellen Wilson and Hayley Johnson.

    Junior midfielder Jessica Wi and senior midfielder Shelby Wong are continuing to run the widths for the Tritons, while junior Danielle Dixon and senior captain Annie Wethe — 2011 All-CCAA first team selection — are also continuing their tenures in the middle.

    They will be joined in the midfield by freshman midfielder Cassie Callahan.

    As the only underclassman to crack the starting eleven, Callahan serves as the replacement for graduate Lisa Bradley, who earned All-American honors in her junior and senior seasons.
    Callahan — recently named CCAA player of the week — is making a seamless transition and has already notched three goals for the Tritons in her past three matches.

    Junior Gabi Hernandez and senior captain Sarah McTigue are sitting up top for UCSD.

    The duo has proved lethal for the Tritons thus far. 5’10” junior Hernandez is a constant threat in the air, while McTigue — who was named to the All-West Region Second Team last season — has already netted two goals.

    Rostering 25 out of a maximum 26 players, the depth of the squad provides a number of choices for McManus and insurance for a team that has not had much trouble in the way of injuries anyway.
    Coming off a tremendous postseason run that saw the Tritons come just short of a NCAA Division II National Championship last year, Armstrong said the team is eager for the new season.

    “I’m excited by what I’ve seen so far this year,” Armstrong said. “Our passing and creativity is outstanding, and we’re not a second-half team anymore. We’re starting and finishing our games, and we’re a lot stronger on the ball. We have a lot of talent coming in this year, we have an incredibly deep bench and the subs coming off are always raising the level of play.”
     
    UCSD is showing no signs of fatigue: Six games into the new season and the No. 4 Tritons remain undefeated.
     
    Kicking off their campaign with a trip up north, UCSD played Western Washington to a 0-0 draw and then beat perennial powerhouses No. 10 Seattle Pacific 2-0.

    The Tritons then headed back down to Southern California to open conference play, facing off against the only two other nationally ranked squads in the CCAA, No. 10 Cal State Los Angeles and No. 19 Cal State San Bernardino.

    UCSD took a scrappy 1-0 win against CSULA on Sept. 3.
    The only goal came in the third minute when McTigue headed in a corner kick from Johnson, UCSD’s deadball specialist.
     
    On Sept. 9, the Tritons drew 1-1 against CSUSB with an unassisted goal from Callahan.

    The following week, UCSD took down CCAA South Division newcomers San Francisco State 2-1 in a hard fought overtime win, and in the same weekend blew out Cal Poly Pomona 4-0.

    “Right now, we’re taking each game one game at a time,” Armstrong said. “Our past success doesn’t matter this season. But I think if we continue to keep improving, we’ll go far.”

    The Tritons’ next match is slated for Friday, Sept. 23 at the Home Depot Center against Southern California rivals CSU Dominguez Hills.

    UCSD will then head back home for the first home game of the season on Sunday, Sept. 25 against CSU San Bernardino.

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