The UC San Diego women’s soccer team jumped to the top of the latest United Soccer Coaches NCAA DII poll last week.
The Tritons, ranked third in the preseason and early season, rode its 4-0-0 record to the No. 1 slot on the Top-25 poll.
The team passed Grand Valley State and Columbus State, which both fell to 3-1-0. Undefeated teams also occupy the next two spots – the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs and Minnesota State University, Mankato.
Last year, the coaches ranked UC San Diego first in the fourth and fifth weeks of the season.
The Tritons continued their winning ways Thursday, defeating Cal State San Marcos 2-0 in a non-conference match. They improved to 5-0-0.
They grabbed the lead at the 18:34 mark. Natalie Saddic launched the ball into the top left corner of the net, out of reach of the diving Cougar goalie, to put the Tritons up 1-0.
UC San Diego extended its lead shortly after halftime. Natalie Widmer sent a throw in to Mika Celeste, who rocketed a left-footed shot into the Cougar net. The freshman’s goal was her first of her collegiate career.
After picking up a pair of shutout wins at home over Concordia University and Biola University, the Tritons nabbed a thrilling 3-2 win at Azusa Pacific off a late penalty kick goal by Saddic.
“We are proud of the results so far, but know there is a long way to go,” head coach Kristin Jones said.
“We are used to having a target on our back,” she continued, “but we need to make sure we show up every single game to avoid any slip-ups. Our main goal is to make sure we find ourselves at number one in the first regional rankings as well.”
The Tritons remain on the road as they begin conference play. They open California Collegiate Athletic Association competition at 4:30 p.m. Friday at Cal State East Bay.
– Staff reports
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