Gutierrez, Smith, Ramos Find the Net in 3-0 Topping of Seattle University

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Behind a three-point performance by sophomore Thomas Ramos, the reigning Big West Conference Offensive Player of the Week, the Cal State Northridge Matadors (3-4-1) shutout the visiting Seattle University Redhawks (1-4-2) 3-0 on Sunday morning at Matador Soccer Field.

The Matadors, playing their only afternoon home match of the year, cruised for the better part of the day in the first meeting between these two soccer programs. While the Redhawks registered more shots in the first half (10-8), the Matadors put more chances on goal (2-1) and also won more corner kicks (3-1).

The first Northridge shot on goal came from senior captain Rafael Garcia, who curled a ball over the defensive wall on a free kick. The shot attempt was saved by Seattle goalkeeper Jake Feener in the 20th minute.

Midfielder Rene Anguiano had an attempt go just high of the target five minutes later as he received a cross from defender Yuval Barak. The ball wasn't fully settled when Anguiano smacked the attempt, missing the crossbar by inches.

The Matadors were able to get on the scoreboard first just before halftime after winning a corner kick on the left side. Ramos played the kick short in the 45th minute to Yarden Azulay, whose ground cross went untouched in front of the net to Luis Gutierrez. Gutierrez need only tap the ball into the empty net to score his first career goal for Northridge.

Northridge goalkeeper Michael Abalos made his only save of the match early in the 12th minute as an attempt by Seattle's Mikey Ramos went directly to him. The Matadors took the 1-0 lead into halftime and come out flying in the second half as well.

Energized by the late first-half goal, Northridge was the aggressor for the entire second half as well. The Matadors took more shots (13-4), put more on goal (5-0) and also scored twice to seal the match.

Chris Smith, the scoring leader for Northridge, saw his first action of the match as a second-half starter. Under 13 minutes into the half, Smith increased his point total with a beautiful header into the back of the net to double the CSUN lead.

Joe Franco started the play with a throw-in down the right side of the field to midfielder Carlos Benavides. Benavides swung a perfect cross to the left post and Smith leapt for it, redirecting the pass into the top left corner of the goal for his second of the season.

Northridge added a final goal with exactly 10 minutes to play as Anguiano played a cross from the left side to Ramos at the top of the box. Ramos was able to elude his defender and shoot the ball past the goalkeeper for his second career goal.

The Matadors held on for the 3-0 victory and Abalos earned his second shutout of the year. Northridge returns to action on Wednesday, Sept. 28 at 3 p.m. as the Matadors open Big West Conference play at UC Davis. The next home match will be Saturday, Oct. 1 against the Cal State Fullerton Titans at 7 p.m.

NOTES: After nearly a year without a three-point performance for the Matadors, Northridge saw two such displays in a three-game stretch, both by Thomas Ramos (9/15 at CSU Bakersfield, 9/25 vs. Seattle University). Seattle goalkeeper Jake Feener was replaced by Marshall Reese to start the second half. Following an injury to Reese, Feener was reinserted in the 72nd minute. The Matadors have won three non-conference matches so far this season with one to go (10/22 at UCLA). Northridge won three total matches in 2010.

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