Tritons Capture 13th Season Title

    The Tritons (11-2-2 in conference) finish with the best record in the CCAA, one point in front of north division opponent Sonoma State and two points in front of CSU Stanislaus. The regular conference title counts as the Tritons’ 13th consecutive championship.

    “It’s almost expected at this point, but it’s cool to carry on the tradition,” senior captain Hayley Johnson said. “We haven’t won the conference tournament in our past three seasons, and we need to win the conference tournament, so we can host regionals next weekend.”

    On Friday, the Tritons faced CSU East Bay (2-11-1), narrowly beating the Pioneers 3-2. The Tritons had to come from behind, ending the half with Monterey in the lead, 2-0. UCSD tied the game midway into the second half with junior forward Izzy Pozurama — a Triton who’s really hit her stride midway into the regular season, scoring eight goals in her past seven games — finishing the game winner in the 101st minute.

    “I think we came out maybe a little overconfident,” Johnson said. “We weren’t tight on our marks and it allowed them opportunities on goal. But in the second half, we knew we needed to win that game to keep our post-season chances alive. We just went out there to tie it, knowing that if we went into overtime it’d be a piece of cake.”

    On Sunday, the Tritons wrapped up regular season play with a 2-0 win over CSU Monterey Bay. UCSD took the early lead in the 22nd minute, as Pozurama took advantage of a rebound off the goalpost. Up 1-0, the Tritons secured the win with senior captain Ellen Wilson finishing in the 86th minute.

    Regardless of their regional ranking — No. 3 in the West Region — the Tritons need to perform at the conference tournament to advance to the NCAA Division II Championships. In the past three seasons, UCSD has been able to qualify for nationals on the strength of their record, without winning the division tournament.

    However, with only six teams advancing, the Tritons’ first round opponents are No. 5 in the West Region and No. 25 nationally, CSU Stanislaus. A loss to them may prove costly for UCSD’s regional ranking. UCSD has already lost to the Warriors once this season, a close 1-0 loss at home. Interestingly, the Tritons have proven to be one of the toughest teams in the CCAA, having conceded only eight goals in their 15 conference match-ups. Conversely, the Warriors are lauded to have one of most dynamic attacking lines in the conference, scoring 32 goals in just 14 games.

    “We have already seen [CSU Stanislaus] once in conference, so we already know what to expect,” Johnson said. “They have one of the top offensive players in the conference. We’re just planning on putting Britnee [Chesney] on her. Hopefully that’ll take her out of her game, and we can just come and play.”

    The conference playoffs will be hosted by CSU Dominguez Hills. UCSD’s semi-final match is scheduled for this Friday, Nov. 2 at 1:30 p.m. against the Warriors. The championship match is scheduled for the following Sunday at 12:30 p.m.

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