Matadors Continue Road Trip with Match At Roadrunners

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The Cal State Northridge Matadors head north to take on the CSU Bakersfield Roadrunners on Thursday, Sept. 15 at 7:00 p.m. After the match with the Roadrunners, Northridge will return home to host a special alumni match on Sunday, Sept. 19 at 7:00 p.m. The match in Bakersfield will feature a video broadcast available by clicking on the "Video" link in the men's soccer schedule at Single-game access to the video streaming site is $2.99 and can be paid at the time of registration. The match will also be covered via live stats on GameTracker and updates will be posted throughout the evening at Be sure to visit for a full recap of the action from Bakersfield. The alumni match on Sunday night is free for all in attendance as the current Matador players take on former greats in a friendly at Matador Soccer Field.

Former players and coaches interested in participating in the Alumni Match should contact head coach Terry Davila by email at

TLC Plumbing, Heating & Cooling Lobo Invitational Wrap-Up

The Cal State Northridge Matadors made the trip east to Albuquerque, N.M. to take part in the TLC Plumbing, Heating & Cooling Lobo Invitational on the campus of the University of New Mexico last weekend. During the trip, Northridge squared off in a neutral-site contest against the Missouri State Bears and also took on the host Lobos. Columbia was the fourth school participating in the weekend event, but it did not face Northridge due to the invitational format.

On Friday, Sept. 9, Northridge met up with Missouri State for the second time in school history. The only other match was also a neutral-site game, as the Matadors came away with a 3-2 decision in Tulsa, Okla. on September 1, 2001. This time around, the Matadors did not let up from start to finish as they scored once in the first half and twice in the second, including the final goal crossing the line with under a minute to play, to come away with a 3-0 victory. Northridge saw goals by Taylor Bowlin, Edwin Rivas and Yarden Azulay, with Chris Smith earning two assists and Gustavo Villalobos helping on one. Goalkeeper Michael Abalos made four saves to come away with his first victory and shutout of the season and the Matadors earned a spot in the Invitational's championship match because New Mexico also won its match later in the day. 

In the title contest on Sunday, the Matadors showcased their defensive ability against a program that has had their number in recent years. The last Matador victory over the New Mexico Lobos came in 2003 in a neutral site match and Northridge has never won at the UNM Soccer Complex. That all appeared to be changing as Villalobos put in his first goal of the season in the 35th minute and the Matadors took a 1-0 into the halftime break.

Playing defensively in order to keep the lead, the Matadors were able to disrupt chances for the Lobos until late in the match when New Mexico scored three times in the final ten minutes to come away with the victory and the tournament crown. Since Missouri State and Columbia played to a scoreless draw earlier Sunday, the Matadors were the only other side with a win during the Invitational and took second place in the event.

A Closer Look at CSU Bakersfield

The CSU Bakersfield Roadrunners are off to a fast start in 2011. The Runners enter the week with an overall record of 2-0-1 and have outscored opponents by a margin of 8-2. Their only draw, at UC Davis on Sept. 11, was scoreless.

The Runners are 1-0 at home this year after defeating UC Riverside 5-1 to open the season. The leading scorer for CSU Bakersfield is Gyasi Zardes, who has netted six of the team's eight goals. Zardes has also added an assist and is the team's points leader (13). 

Richard Menjivar and Jesus Sanchez each have three points to their name this season. Menjivar's points have all come on assists while Sanchez has found the back of the net. The Matadors will need to limit chances up top for Zardes while also controlling Menjivar to ensure that the one-two punch is contained.

Goalkeeper Eric Shannon has earned the decision in all three matches and owns a goals against average of 0.64. His shutout came in a draw and he has had to make just nine saves in 2011. Both goals allowed have come in the second half of matches. 

Results from Last Week

The Matadors split a pair of decisions at the TLC Plumbing, Heating & Cooling Lobo Invitational in Albuquerque, N.M. last week. Northridge faced off against Missouri State for the second time in school history on Friday and went up against the host New Mexico Lobos on Sunday in the tournament championship.

On Friday, Northridge was able to control the pace of the match and impose its will on Missouri State as the Matadors came away with a 3-0 victory. A goal by Taylor Bowlin in the 23rd minute was all the Matadors would need to defeat the Bears and Northridge now owns a 2-0-0 all-time record over Missouri State. Edwin Rivas and Yarden Azulay tacked on scores of their own, the second of the season for each, to seal the victory and put the Matadors in the tournament final. Midfielder Chris Smith earned two assists in the match to bring his team-high point total to five. 

In the match against New Mexico on Sunday, the Matadors were nearly able to pull off an upset and defeat the Lobos for the first time in eight years but fell short. After Gustavo Villalobos scored his first goal of the season in the 35th minute on an assist by Carlos Benavides, the Matadors led until the 84th minute when the first of three late Lobo goals were scored to overcome the deficit. The Matadors lost the match 3-1 and dropped to 2-3-0 on the young season.

By beating Missouri State and losing to New Mexico, the Matadors ended the Lobo Invitational as the tournament runners-up and will now face CSU Bakersfield on the road this Thursday before hosting an alumni match at home on Sunday night.

Cal State Northridge Alumni Match

On Sunday, Sept. 18 at 7 p.m., the Cal State Northridge men's soccer program will host its annual alumni match at Matador Soccer Field. The friendly will welcome back past Matador players and coaches as they come together in support of the current team and put on a display for the Northridge community.

Students, fans and community members are invited to attend the match free of charge as the current Matadors will play a scrimmage both with and against their predecessors. The evening will give Matador fans a chance to see former players up close and is a great opportunity to show support for the program.

Welcome to the Century Club

With the 2-0 victory over Canisius on August 26, head coach Terry Davila became the sixth coach in Big West history to win 100 games as a member of the conference. Even though Davila entered the 2011 season with 113 career wins to his credit, the first 14 were earned as member of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. In 2001 the Matadors switched conference affiliation from the MPSF to the Big West, since then Davila's teams have compiled a 100-67-32 overall record (.583 pct.). With his victory over Cal State Fullerton on Oct. 2, 2010, Davila became just the third head coach to win 50 or more Big West Conference matches.

Bring the Noise

Have a drum, cow bell, or other noisemaker lying around at home? Now is the time to bring it out and explore the space of Matador Soccer Field! The Big West Conference office announced this past summer that all noisemakers, with the exceptions of airhorns and whistles, will now be allowed at all conference matches and all home venues. As such, fans are encouraged to get into the action in a whole new way by making noise for their team during each contest. Previously, no outside noisemakers were permitted at any game and violaters were subject to removal from the site. Please note that noisemakers have been approved for use at men's and women's soccer matches only, and will be confiscated in the Matadome or at any other Northridge athletics venue.

Scoring from All Positions

So far in 2011, the Matadors have seen eight goals scored by six different players. Christian Gonzalez Diaz, Yarden Azulay, Edwin Rivas, Chris Smith, Gustavo Villalobos and Taylor Bowlin have all found the back of the net for Northridge this season. Equally as impressive is that the Matadors have a total of eight assists on those goals, with Smith (3) and Villalobos (2) as the only Matadors to have a goal and a helper thus far. Midfielder Rene Anguiano, defender Nicholas Hamilton, and sophomore Carlos Benavides have each been credited with an assist. In all, the Matadors have tallied 24 points and have seen offensive production from all parts of the pitch, working the attack through a variety of positions to break down the opposition. The 24 points are third-most in the Big West.

On Point

Midfielder/defender Chris Smith is quickly making a name for himself this season. The redshirt sophomore has recorded five points in five matches so far in 2011, good for the team lead in scoring. The Palmdale, Calif. native is averaging 1.0 points per game and is a force in both the offensive and defensive schemes for the Matadors, and also serves as the taker of corner kicks when he is on the pitch. Smith scored Northridge's first goal of the season in the opener against Canisius when he lined up a shot from 30 yards out that curled over the goalkeeper's head and gave CSUN a 1-0 lead. He earned an assist on the only goal in CSUN's 2-1 loss to UNLV and also recorded two helpers in Northridge's 3-0 defeat of Missouri State in the Lobo Invitational in Albuquerque, N.M. Smith currently ranks tied for 15th in the nation in assists this season with three.

The New-Look Matadors

The Cal State Northridge Matadors will see an influx in new talent this season as 12 players on the squad are new to the program. In addition to four transfer student-athletes, Northridge has added eight true freshmen and will also see the return of freshman Edwin Rivas and sophomore Yuval Barak, who both redshirted the 2010 season. In the season-opening win over Canisius, freshman Christian Gonzalez Diaz netted an insurance goal late in the match off of a corner kick to ensure the 2-0 victory. Rivas headed home the equalizer in the 79th minute against UNLV (9/1) and Yarden Azulay scored in the 82nd minute to even the score against No. 2 Akron (9/3). Both Rivas and Azulay are the only Matadors with multiple goals this season.

Matadors In The Big West Top-Ten

Now with the bulk of the season getting underway, a number of Matadors are making their marks on the rest of the conference both offensively and defensively. Forward Edwin Rivas ranks tied for seventh in the league with 11 shots taken and tied for ninth with 2.80 shots per game. Chris Smith checks in with five points, good for seventh, and is tied for sixth with 1.0 points per game. Smith also ranks second in both assists (3) and assists per game (0.60). In net, goalkeeper Michael Abalos is fifth with a .767 save percentage and leads the conference with 23 saves and a 5.75 saves per game average. Statistics are accurate as of September 12.

Down But Not Out

In the Matadors' match against No. 2 Akron on September 3, Northridge played down a man for 66 minutes due to an accumulation of yellow cards by Nicholas Hamilton. In the 25th minute of action, the Zips took advantage of the man advantage and pulled ahead with a 1-0 lead. Not to be put away, the Matadors played a more defensive game, with goalkeeper Michael Abalos recording seven saves between the time of the red card and when freshman Yarden Azulay scored to even the match on a breakaway in the 82nd minute. So far this season, the Matadors have rallied from a goal down to tie the match twice (vs. UNLV and Akron), both times after the 75th minute.

The Friendly Confines

Of the 19 matches on the schedule this year, the Cal State Northridge Matadors will play just over half of their contests at Matador Soccer Field. Northridge will host ten games in 2011, including the Cal State Northridge Labor Day Classic, squaring off against such programs as UNLV, SMU, UC Santa Barbara and defending national champion Akron. Since relocating from North Campus Stadium to their current facility before the start of the 2002 season, Matador Soccer Field has presented a strong advantage for the Matadors. In the 80 games played on-campus, CSUN possesses an overwhelming 51-21-8 record at home for a .688 winning percentage on their home turf.

Strength of Schedule

Known for assembling a tough non-conference schedule, the Cal State Northridge Matadors will once again take on a number of teams ranked in national polls throughout the season. As ranked in the preseason national poll by the NSCAA, the Matadors will face five squads in the top 25. Northridge played host to No. 2 Akron on Sept. 3, and will face SMU on Sept. 23,  UC Irvine on Oct. 26 and UC Santa Barbara on Nov. 1. The Matadors will also travel to cross-town rival UCLA on Oct. 22.

Nifty at Fifty

With his victory over Cal State Fullerton on October 2nd, 2010, CSUN head coach Terry Davila became just the third head coach to win 50 or more Big West Conference matches. UC Santa Barbara's Tim Vom Steeg is the only other coach with 50 or more Big West victories to his credit.

Keep Your Heads on a Swivel

Last year, the Matador set their season team-highs in shots taken and shots on goal against the UC Riverside Highlanders. In the 2009 conference-opening match in Riverside, CSUN fired 30 shots at the Highlander goalkeeper, 15 of which were on goal. In 2010, the Matadors nearly matched that mark as they blasted 28 shots at the Highlander net, including ten on goal in their only contest of the season, which took place in Northridge. CSUN tallied 24 shots in the season opener against Canisius on August 26, four less than 2010's season high.

Quick Out of the Gates

The Matadors are 19-7-4 in conference season openers, and have only been defeated once in a Big West opener. CSUN has not lost a conference opener since 2002, when they were on the wrong side of a 2-1 decision against UC Irvine at home. The last time the Matadors tied a conference opening match was in 2007 at Cal State Fullerton, the same squad they defeated to open the Big West season in 2010. The longest streak for conference opening wins in Matador history is 10 seasons, accomplished from 1978-87 under the direction of head coaches Zvi Friedman, Ric Fonseca and Marwan Ass'ad.

Rewriting the Record Books

One indication of the success goalkeeper Michael Abalos has earned so far in his career can be seen in the Matador record books as the San Juan Capistrano native earned a spot on four different lists with his numbers earned during his first two-plus seasons at Northridge. Abalos now owns eighth place with his 11 career victories, is eighth all-time with his 1.44 career goals against average, and is tied for sixth all-time with Mark Macdonald (1993-94) with his eight career shutouts. His five clean sheets earned in 2009 is also the seventh-highest number of shutouts earned in a season, tying him with Joe Barton (2001) and Mike Littman (1989) and their respective single-season performances.

Strike Force

After a productive summer working with the Guatemala U-19 team, redshirt freshman Edwin Rivas is showing fans the reason that head coach Terry Davila recruited him to lead the attack. The forward out of Los Angeles has scored two goals so far this season, which put him in a tie for the team lead in that category and in a tie for second on the squad with four points. Rivas leads the team with 14 shots taken through five matches, a figure that is twice as much as the next highest total. He is currently tied for seventh in the Big West Conference in shots and tied for ninth in the league in shots per game (2.80). Rivas is currently tied for sixth in the conference in goals scored and is tied for eighth in points (4).

Survey Says...

The 2011 Cal State Northridge men's soccer team received 20 points and was picked to finish fifth in the 2011 Big West Men's Soccer Preseason Coaches poll as announced by the league office in mid-August. Northridge was beat out by UC Irvine as the Anteaters earned 30 points to claim fourth place in the voting. Finishing in third place with 32 total points was Cal State Fullerton, with Cal Poly earning 40 points and a first-place vote to grab second place. UC Santa Barbara lead the way for the second year in a row with 48 points and six first place votes. UC Davis and UC Riverside rounding out the poll in sixth and seventh place respectively with 14 and 12 points.

Ticket Information

Tickets for all home men's matches are available through the CSUN Associated Students Ticket Office. Adults are $5, while youth 17 and under and seniors 60 and older are $3. There is also a $3 discounted rate ticket for CSUN Faculty/Staff, Military Service Personnel and CSUN Alumni Association Members with their respective identification cards. CSUN students receive free admission to all home games with their CSUN I.D. Groups of 10 or more people may purchase $3 tickets, but tickets must be purchased a minimum of 24 hours in advance. For more information, call the A.S. Ticket Office at 818-677-2488.

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