June 14, 2013

UPDATE #1: The Top 10 Moments of Matador Athletics in 2012-13

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. --- 

As the summer melts away, Cal State Northridge would like to reflect on the Top 10 Moments of the 2012-13 Athletic Calendar. The Matadors experienced a great deal of success in athletics and are primed to build upon those feats in the upcoming 2013-14 season. 

We will release a new moment every day, leading up to the No. 1 moment in CSUN Athletics over the past year!

1. Women's Soccer Advances to NCAA Tournament on Golden Goal

The No. 1 moment this past season took place in Irvine, Calif., where senior Melissa Fernandez scored the conference-winning goal in overtime as the Matadors defeated Cal State Fullerton in the 2012 Big West Conference Championship. 

Fernandez struck for the golden goal in the second minute of overtime as the Matadors claimed their first berth into the NCAA Tournament in program history. 

In net, CSUN goalkeeper Cynthia Jacobo made five saves and the Northridge team was credited with a stop as well. Jacobo made a fingertip save with less than five minutes in the first half that kept CSUN in contest.

In all, CSUN ended the season with an 11-5-6 overall record and a 6-1-2 mark in Big West play. That gave the Matadors the second seed in the Big West Tournament and Northridge went on to defeat Cal Poly and Cal State Fullerton to claim its first Big West title and NCAA Tournament appearance.

Individually, the Matadors reaped in numerous awards. Jacobo was named the Big West Goalkeeper of the Year for the second-straight season and became the first Matador in program history to receive All-NSCAA West Region First Team honors. Fernandez was All-Big West First Team, the Big West Tournament MVP and NSCAA All-West Region Second Team. 

Additionally, junior Chloe McDaniel was the Big West Conference Defensive Player of the Year, an NSCAA All-West Region Third Team honoree and a Big West Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Senior Stephanie Galarze (Second Team), senior Katie Russ (Honorable Mention) and freshman Taylor Hobson (Honorable Mention, All-Freshman Team) also received All-Big West awards. 

The 2012 season provided Northridge with plenty of memories. The Matadors defeated Arizona State in the season opener and then picked up a convincing 3-0 result at San Diego. The Matadors then captured a 1-0 victory over Michigan and picked up draws against USC and Tennessee.

In Big West play, the Matadors picked up wins over Hawai'I, UC Riverside, Pacific and UC Davis. The team recorded its first win at UC Santa Barbara since 1999 and added an overtime victory at Long Beach State that propelled the team into the Big West Tournament.

2. Men's Soccer Captures Big West Conference Championship

The 2012 season was a banner campaign for the CSUN men's soccer program. The Matadors won their first Big West Conference Tournament Championship, knocking off UC Davis Aggies 1-0. The Matadors punched their ticket to the NCAA Tournament with the win, earning their first berth since 2005.


"You have to work hard in this sport. We've had a couple of rough seasons recently but being on the top now is a wonderful feeling," said Northridge head coach Terry Davila. "We've had excellent support from our administration, our fellow coaching staffs, their student-athletes and our team."

Sophomore Sagi Lev-Ari, the Big West leader in goals and points on the season, scored the contest's only goal in the 14th minute on a whirling shot from the top of the 18-yard box. Following the match, Lev-Ari was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player. Lev-Ari was responsible for both of Northridge's game-winning goals in the Big West Tournament.

In net, Michael Abalos recorded three saves to preserve the shutout victory. The 2012 Big West Goalkeeper of the Year, Abalos finished his career at CSUN second in career victories, career shutouts and games in goal. 

Cal State Northridge made Big West history with the win, becoming the first school to claim both the men's and women's tournament titles in the same season.

Although the Matadors suffered a tough loss in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament, CSUN continued collecting awards and honors after the season. Davila was named the NSCAA Far West Region Coach of the Year while Abalos (First Team), Joe Franco (2nd Team) and Lev-Ari (2nd Team) earned NSCAA All-Far West Region honors. 

Off the field, senior Yuval Barak was named to the Scholar All-Far West Region Team and was also named on All-American for his efforts on the pitch. Franco was a Scholar All-American and was drafted by Chivas USA of Major League Soccer.



3. Carl Horsley Smashes School Records en route to All-America Honors

Our No. 3 moment of 2012-13 is our most recent as CSUN junior Carl Horsley had an incredible outdoor season.

At the Big West Championships, which were hosted by the Matadors, the junior from Oakland, Calif. (Skyline HS) not only won both the 100 and 200 meters at the Big West Championships but ran the second leg of the conference champion 4x100 relay as well as the anchor leg of the 4x400 relay.

He was named the Big West Male Track Athlete of the Year for his efforts

The two-time Big West champion (2011, 2013) in both the 100 and 200 meters then made quite a splash at the NCAA West Preliminary Round in Austin, Texas two weeks ago.

In the 100 meters, Horsley came into the Preliminary Round ranked 34th in the West Region (68th nationally) but after a blistering school-record 10.23 in the first round he moved up to 16th in the nation heading into the championships this week.

After breaking Joe Criner's 15-year old school record, Horsley then ran 10.48 in the quarterfinal round to finish fifth among the 12 advancing to Eugene out of the West Regional round. Horsley's previous lifetime-best in the 100 prior to Austin was 10.46 in winning the conference championship on May 11.

With his 200 meter time of 20.73, Horsley not only broke another of Criner's school records, but moved up to 18th in the nation at the time. His previous lifetime-best was 20.89 which came in winning the Big West championship on May 11.

At the NCAA Championships, Horsley opened in the 100 meter semifinals and subsequently broke his two-week old school record with a time of 10.22. Although his time was just shy of reaching Friday's final it eclipsed his previous best of 10.23 set in the West Preliminary round in Austin, Texas. Horsley earned second team All-America honors for his efforts.

Horsley capped his season Thursday in the semifinal round of the 200 meters, coming in 21st in a time of 20.78 which is just off his school record 20.73. His 200 meter time garnered Horsley Honorable Mention All-America accolades.

Finally, at the recently completed USA Championships, Horsley ran 10.23 and finished eighth in his heat which also featured Tyson Gay (9.75), NCAA Champion Charles Silmon (9.85) and Justin Gatlin (9.89) amongst others.

"Carl gained a world of experience out here this week," said Matador head coach Avery Anderson. "It's one thing to run against your peers at the collegiate level, but it's another level when you go up against the world's best. For him to go out and mix it up with them is something that is very rare in sports and running against Tyson Gay and Justin Gatlin would be like a college basketball player lining up against Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson."

4. Women's Basketball Upstages Renovated Pauley Pavilion in Upset of UCLA

Our third program to defeat the heralded Bruins, the women's basketball team delivered a 77-72 upset on Dec. 20 at UCLA. Sophomore Ashlee Guay scored a career-high 28 points, including a career-high 10 free throws, to help lead the Matadors their first win over a Pac-12 opponent since 1996. 

Trailing by one at the half, CSUN and UCLA traded leads and ties until the Bruins pulled ahead by four (58-54) with 7:52 left to play. The Matadors answered with a pair of 3-pointers from junior Haley White and took the lead for good with about four minutes to play.

Down the stretch, the Matadors kept the lead thanks to their proficiency from the free throw line. CSUN, led by six from Guay, finished 9-of-10 from the charity stripe in the final two minutes.

Guay sparked the Northridge offense all night, going 9-for-14 from the field and 10-for-12 from the free throw line. She added three rebounds, two assists and two steals in 29 minutes of action.

Randi Friess scored six points and led the Matadors with nine rebounds, including four on the offensive side. Haley White tallied eight points and added a pair of key free throws down the stretch to keep the Northridge lead intact.

Coming into the game, Northridge had never earned a win over a ranked opponent and had not beaten a Pac-10/12 opponent since knocking off Oregon State in 1996.

5. Baseball Upsets UCLA at Jackie Robinson Stadium

On their way to their best record since the 2002 season, the Matadors posted a 4-1 victory at UCLA on May 7 at Jackie Robinson Stadium. CSUN scored three runs in the first inning and added an insurance run in the eighth to earn its first win against UCLA since 2008.

The Northridge offense got out to a hot start against UCLA starter Cody Poteet, plating three runs in the opening frame to produce all the runs the team would need. Michael Livingston, Joshua Goosen-Brown and Cal Vogelsang all scored in the frame and Alexis Mercado had an RBI double. 

In the top of the eighth, Northridge put across an insurance run to build a 4-1 cushion. Chester Pak reached on an error and stole second before moving up to third on a sacrifice bunt by William Colantono. With Nicolas Osuna batting, the Bruins attempted a pitch out to guard against a squeeze bunt but the ball sailed past the catcher and Pak slid under a tag at the plate.


On the hill, Oscar Sandoval came in to pitch in relief of Brycen Rutherford and ended up pitching a career-high 2.0 innings with a career-high three strikeouts. The win was Sandoval's second of the season. 

CSUN's usual Friday starter Jerry Keel entered to pitch the eighth inning and worked around a leadoff single to get through unscathed. Goossen-Brown pitched a scoreless ninth inning to earn his ninth save of the season, moving him into a tie for first all-time at CSUN with 14 career saves.

The Matadors finished the 2013 season with a 31-26 record and a mark of 15-12 in the Big West, good for a fourth-place finish. Goosen-Brown, Keel, Mercado and Vogelsang all earned All-Big West Honorable Mention honors following the campaign.

6. Casey Hinger Earns All-America Honors in Women's Volleyball

Sophomore Casey Hinger became the first Matador to be named an AVCA All-American since 2004 when she received Honorable Mention honors following the 2012 season. The two-time first team All-Big West middle led the conference in blocking this season and was one of nine Big West players who also earned All-West Region accolades.

Not since Jen Ryan in 2004 has a Matador had a season like Hinger had in her just second season with the program. She is just the third player in the Matadors' Division I history to garner AVCA All-American accolades joining Jennifer Fopma in 2003 and Ryan in 2004.

Hinger, a sophomore from Fullerton, Calif., helped propel the Matadors to a 21-10 season, the first 20-win season for a Cal State Northridge team since 1996. She finished the season ranked third on the team with 277 kills (2.52 kps) and was the teams' leading blocker averaging 1.34 blocks per set.

"Casey receiving honorable mention All-America honors is a testament to her abilities as an attacker and blocker," said head coach Jeff Stork. "She was a big part of what the Matadors accomplished this season and has a strong desire to be great and this off-season will be important to her continued growth as a net player as well as her development as a back-row player. I congratulate Casey on being on the All-America Team."

Her season totals of 14 solo stuffs and 133 assisted blocks rank among the best in a single season in Cal State Northridge history. With 133 block assists, Hinger ranks third in the Matadors' rally scoring era (2001-present) and sixth all-time for a single season. In two seasons, she now has 23 block solos and 241 block assists in her Matador career.

7. Softball Stuns No. 9 UCLA on Walk-Off Home Run

Facing one of the top teams in the nation, CSUN stunned No. 9 UCLA 3-2 on a walk-off home run by sophomore Tanna Bindi. She blasted a two-run home run, the first of her career, over the right field fence to give the Matadors their first win over the Bruins since 1998. 

Trailing 2-1 heading into the bottom of the seventh, the Matadors strung together quite a rally to stun UCLA. With one out, Jennifer Tyler was hit by a pitch and sent to first base. After a pinch runner was inserted, Bindi homered on a 3-2 count to propel the Matadors to their first win over a ranked opponent and its first win over a Pac-12 opponent since the 2007 season.


"I felt good all game and was seeing the ball well," Bindi said. "I got a good pitch and went with it to right field."

The win was especially sweet for the Matadors' coaching staff, three of whom are graduates of UCLA: head coach Tairia Flowers, assistant coach Caitlin Benyi and director of operations Natasha Watley

In 2013, the Matadors won 15 more games overall and had six more league wins than it did in 2012. That 15-win improvement tied CSUN for the sixth-best turnaround in Division I softball in 2013. 

At the plate, CSUN smashed 30 more doubles (65-35) than it had last year and hit more home runs (23-21) than its opponents. In the circle, CSUN gave up the fewest home runs of any Big West Conference school and lowered its team ERA from 4.99 in 2012 to 3.07 in 2013. 

8. Men's Basketball Downs Utah 76-71 in Salt Lake City. 

Down 21 points to one of the newest members of the Pac-12 Conference, the Matadors rallied for an improbable comeback to defeat the Utes. It was CSUN's first victory over a Pac-12 school since the Matadors posted an 81-76 overtime victory at USC on Nov. 20, 2005.

Utah led Cal State Northridge, 54-35, with 15:37 left in the game. In the next 9:11, the Matadors outscored the Utes, 23-5, to cut the Utah lead to 59-58. Then the Matadors moved in front for the first time in the game when Josh Greene hit a three-pointer to give CSUN a 61-59 lead with 5:17 remaining. Utah never led after Greene's three-pointer.

With 55 seconds remaining in the game, Landon Drew attacked the basket, and tossed in a no-look, 180 degree circus layup to give the Matadors a 71-66 lead. Drew was fouled on the play and added a free throw that gave CSUN its biggest lead of the game, 72-66.

"Give credit to the entire team for coming back in the second half," said Drew. "We challenged ourselves in the second half to step it up; just make a better effort. Our second half energy helped our defense."


9. Men's Volleyball Posts First Season Sweep in Hawai'i in 22 Years

At the onset of March, the Cal State Northridge men's volleyball team ventured to Honolulu for a pair of matches against Hawai'i. When the Matadors returned to the mainland, they came back with a pair of road victories over the Warriors, the first time in 22 years.

In the first victory, John Baker hit a blistering .484 with 19 kills in 31 swings. Brandon LeBrock added 17 kills as the Matadors pounded out a .312 team hitting percentage. In the second victory, Baker added another 15 kills to lead the squad while Drew Staker, Kyle Stevenson and Jared Moore combined for 23 kills. 

"I can't remember the last time we won twice here," said Matador head coach Jeff Campbell. "It was a little deflating to lose the second set but we knew it was going to be a long match, so we just refocused. We knew that if we continued to serve well and put pressure on them we'd be OK. It was a really good win tonight and two great road wins for us."

Following the year, Baker earned All-MPSF Second Team honors while Staker received All-MPSF Honorable Mention.

10. Tennis Seniors Start Season 13-0 En Route to All-Big West First Team Honors

Cal State Northridge seniors Anna Yang and Sabrina Man-Son-Hing opened the season on a 13-match winning streak. All the victories came at the No. 1 draw and their list of victims included Big West rivals UC Santa Barbara, Pacific, UC Davis and Cal State Fullerton. Among the non-conference victims were New Mexico, New Mexico State, Stetson and Iowa. 

The duo finished the season 14-6 overall and earned All-Big West Doubles First Team honors. For both Yang and Man-Son-Hing, the First Team awards were the second of their careers. The duo also both finished their careers ranked among the Top 10 in school history in career doubles winning percentage. 


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