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Chris Chamides is torn. Cal State L.A.'s director of soccer has one team in Seattle and another at home in University Heights, and both have NCAA aspirations.
That's a good thing: The Golden Eagles' men won their conference title, the postseason tournament and are one of the teams to watch as the NCAA Division II tournament kicks off Thursday.
The Eagles' women's team, runner-up to mighty UC San Diego in the California Collegiate Athletic Association's South Division, are the No. 2 seed in the West Region and are home to a three-team minigroup to start the NCAA eliminations.
And Chamides can't be both places at once.
“For me, it's a lose-lose,” he said after arriving in the Pacific Northwest for the men's opener Thursday night against CCAA rival Chico State at Seattle Pacific. “If I'm with the guys exclusively [this weekend], I'll miss the women's game [on Saturday]. The only way I make the women's game is for the men to lose.
“For me personally, it's a lose-lose.”
The women (12-4-3) on Saturday are home against the winner of Thursday night's first-round game, on campus, between No. 5 Seattle Pacific (16-2-0) and Grand Canyon (9-5-3). If the men (14-1-5) can beat Chico State (13-4-3) for the second time in five days, after a 2-0 triumph in Sunday's CCAA final, they'll meet Seattle Pacific (13-3-2) or Cal State Dominguez Hills (12-5-2) in a second-round game Saturday.
Both teams are capable of something big, said Chamides, who guided both to the NCAA tournament two years ago. The men are led by defender Taylor Rivas (Lancaster/Lancaster HS), a UC Santa Barbara transfer, and forwards Rosario Bras and Jason Swope, who have scored 10 goals apiece and combined for 13 assists. Bras, the CCAA's Newcomer of the Year, returns after serving a red-card suspension in Sunday's game.
Jacqueline Hanna (Orange/El Modena HS) leads a stingy women's tram that has conceded just 12 goals in 19 games. This is the Cal State L.A.'s third successive trip to the NCAA women's tournament -- and fourth in five years. The Eagles are 44-11-6 since the 2009 season kicked off.
Assistant coach Michael Jacobson will coach the women if the men win Thursday.
Chamides thinks national titles are within reach.
“We think so,” he said. “We've had teams in the past go on as far as the sweet 16 several times. If the ball bounces a certain way, maybe we bounce a little further. There have been teams in our conference that have gone that far” -- Dominguez Hills has won two men's titles since 2000, and the Toros and UC San Diego have been women's finalists the past two years -- “and we play them game-in and game-out with success.
“We hope our number will come up and it will be our turn. We're knocking on the door.”