August 28, 2012

Matadors Head East for Clashes with No. 21 Georgetown, Loyola University Maryland

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Cal State Northridge Visits Hoyas, Greyhounds This Week

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -

After going 2-0 last week to win the 2012 Wilson Titan Classic, the Cal State Northridge Matadors will travel to the East Coast for matches against No. 21 Georgetown and Loyola University Maryland. The Matadors will look to continue their winning ways against the Hoyas on Friday, August 31, as they try to go unbeaten in their first three matches for the first time since the 2005 season. Two days later, Northridge will travel to Baltimore, Md. for a match at Loyola. The Matadors and Greyhounds have not met on the pitch before. Both matches will feature live stats and video coverage.

Following the matches with the Hoyas and Greyhounds, the Matadors will complete their season-opening road trip with an afternoon contest at UNLV in their only game next week.

Match #3:

Matadors (2-0) at No. 21 Georgetown Hoyas (2-0)

Friday, Aug. 31 - 4 p.m. EDT
North Kehoe Field (1,625) - Washington, D.C.

Live Stats: Link Available at GoMatadors.com

Video: Provided by Georgetown, Subscription Required
In-game Twitter updates: @GoMatadors

Match #4:

Matadors (2-0) at Loyola University Maryland Greyhounds (0-1-1)

Sunday, Sept. 2 - 1 p.m. EDT
Ridley Athletic Complex (6,000) - Baltimore, Md.

Live Stats: Link Available at GoMatadors.com

In-game Twitter updates:
@GoMatadors

Follow Your Matadors Online

All home matches this season will include live stats coverage and selected matches will also feature a free audio broadcast on GoMatadors.com. For road contests related links to the game, inlcuding for any live stats, audio and video, will be posted before the match on the schedule page of GoMatadors.com. Fans are also encouraged to check the Cal State Northridge Athetics Department's official Twitter feed (@GoMatadors) for updates of matches in progress and news and notes throughout the week.

A Closer Look at No. 21 Georgetown
The Matadors travel east this week to take on the No. 21 Georgetown Hoyas on Friday, August 31 at 4 p.m. EDT. The Hoyas are unbeaten after two matches, picking up a 2-1 overtime win over Virginia and a 1-0 victory over Florida Gulf Coast.

In their season opener, the Hoyas benefitted from an enormous miscue in overtime as a Virginia defender knocked in an own goal for the game winner. Steve Neumann scored for Georgetown just 10 seconds into the match, capitalizing on an early turnover and burying a shot for the early lead.

Brandon Allen scored the lone goal for the Hoyas in a win over Florida Gulf Coast at home on Monday. Tomas Gomez has started both matches in net and has made six saves on the year. He has compiled a 0.49 goals against average and also has assist from his goalkeeper position. Both of Georgetown's victories this season are over teams that participated in the 2011 NCAA Tournament.

A Closer Look at Loyola University Maryland
The Loyola University Maryland Greyhounds have played just one match thus far, a scoreless draw on August 25th at Saint Francis (PA). The Greyhounds will host La Salle on Friday evening before welcoming the Matadors to Ridley Athletic Complex on Sunday afternoon. The match between CSUN and Loyola will take place at 1 p.m. EDT and features live stats and video coverage.

While the Greyhounds are yet to put a goal on the board in 2012, they have seen 10 different players take a shot. Diego McQuestions leads the way with three shots and two shots on goal and Connor Thompson has collected three shots with one on goal. Loyola used just 13 total field players in its first match of the year.

Both Dominic Marshall and Joseph Cahalan took one shot in the match that went on goal but the opposing goalkeeper made five saves in the match. Thurman Van Riper earned the shutout in the scoreless draw, making three saves along the way.

Cal State Northridge and Loyola have never faced one another on the soccer pitch.

Results from Last Week
The Cal State Northridge Matadors started off the season at 2-0 for the first time since 2005 by winning a pair of neutral-site matches and claiming the 2012 Wilson Titan Classic title. Northridge recorded a convincing 4-0 victory over the Portland Pilots on August 24 before earning a come-from-behind win over the American University Eagles two days later. The Matadors lead the Big West Conference in scoring (six goals) and goal differential (+5) after the first weekend of play.

On Friday against Portland, the Matadors charged out to a 3-0 halftime lead. The Pilots had early chances in front of net from corner kicks but goalkeeper Michael Abalos turned both away inside the six-yard box to keep the match level. Sagi Lev-Ari put Northridge on the scoreboard with a goal in the 22nd minute, recording the first goal of his Matador career. Edwin Rivas picked up the assist on the goal and added a score of his own in the 34th minute to double the margin. Joe Franco scored from the top of the box in the 38th to put the score at 3-0 and Lev-Ari scored once more in the 70th minute to finish off the CSUN victory. Yuval Barak, Carlos Benavides and Christian Gonzalez Diaz all recorded assists in the match as well. With the shutout, Abalos is now second on the all-time list for career clean sheets at Northridge.

On Sunday, the Matadors and Eagles played to a scoreless draw after the first half before a flurry of goals ultimately decided the outcome. After an American goal in the 47th minute, Rivas put in his second goal of the weekend in the 51st to tie the match. Just over a minute after the goal, an American player was whistled for a foul and shown the red card, leaving CSUN a man up for the remainder of the game. Beto Velasquez took advantage of situation, curling a ball into the top right corner of the goal 1:47 after the player was sent off. Northridge won the match 2-1 and look to remain unbeaten this week.

A group of Matadors earned recognition for their efforts in the tournament win this week. Rivas was named as the tournament's Offensive MVP while defender Armando Gutierrez was named Defensive MVP. In addition, both were named to the All-Tournament team. Joining the pair on the team were Franco and midfielder Rene Anguiano. For his offensive display, Rivas was also voted as the Big West Conference Offensive Player of the Week.

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. The San Juan Capistrano native earned a spot on four different lists with his numbers earned during his first three seasons at Northridge. Abalos is now tied for seventh place with his 18 career victories, is eighth all-time with his 1.35 career goals against average, and is second all-time with his 15 career shutouts. His seven clean sheets earned in 2011 are also the third-highest number of shutouts earned in a season, tying him with Jeff Blumkin (1988) and Mike Caputo (1986) and their respective single-season performances. His 54 matches in goal place him third on the all-time list.

Strike Force
Redshirt sophomore Edwin Rivas is picking up right where he left off at the end of last season. Through the first two matches of 2012, Rivas has two goals, an assist and five points. Rivas scored a goal and had an assist in Northridge's 4-0 win over Portland and scored the tying goal against American University in a 2-1 win. For his work over the first weekend, he was named the 2012 Wilson Titan Classic Offensive MVP and earned Big West Conference Offensive Player of the Week honors as well. For his career, Rivas now has seven goals, one assist and 15 points.

Everybody Needs a Little Lev-Ari
Sophomore forward Sagi Lev-Ari made a statement in his first match in a Northridge uniform. In the Matadors' 4-0 victory over the Portland Pilots on August 24, Lev-Ari scored the first and last goals of the match to secure his first four points of the season. He became the first Matador with a multiple-goal match since Rafael Garcia put in two penalty kicks at UC Davis on September 28, 2011.

Mr. Assist
Junior midfielder Carlos Benavides continues to help the Matadors find ways to score goals. After tying for the Big West Conference lead with eight assists and leading in assists per game (0.47), he is well on his way to taking home the top spot in those categories again this season. At the Wilson Titan Classic hosted by Cal State Fullerton Benavides picked up two assists, one in each of the Matadors' victories over Portland (4-0) and American (2-1). Benavides, along with teammate Yuval Barak, lead the Big West with two assists and a 1.00 assists per game average through two matches.

One and One is Three
Sophomore forward Edwin Rivas was the first Matador to put up a goal and an assist in the same match this season when he accomplished the feat against Portland on August 24. Sophomore forward Sagi Lev-Ari had two goals of his own in that match to record four points as each put up performances that are hard to come by. A number of Matadors put up multiple-point performances in a match last season. Thomas Ramos had a goal and an assist in a 2-2 draw at #22 CSU Bakersfield (9/15) and again in a match against Seattle University (9/25). Against #19 Cal State Fullerton on Oct. 1, both Christian Gonzalez Diaz and Carlos Benavides tallied three points, as Gonzalez Diaz scored and had an assist and Benavides recorded three different helpers. Rafael Garcia twice converted penalty kicks into goals at UC Davis (9/28) for the only four-point display by a Matador in 2011.

Matadors in the Big West Top-Ten
With the first week of the regular season in the books, a number of Matadors have jumped into the first set of individual rankings for the Big West Conference. Edwin Rivas leads a handful of offensive categories including shots (8), points (5), points per game (2.50), goals (2) and goals per game (1.00). He also ties for second in the league with 4.00 shots per game, ties for fourth with one assist and ties for eighth with 0.50 assists per game. Sagi Lev-Ari is tied for second with six shots and 2.00 points per game and is also second in points (4), tied for first in goals (2) and goals per game (1.00), and tied for fifth with 3.00 shots per game. David Turcios is tied for second with six shots and tied for fifth with 3.00 shots per game. Carlos Benavides ranks tied for seventh with five shots and tied for first in both assists (2) and assists per game (1.00).

Beto Velasquez checks in tied for third with one goal, tied for eighth with 0.50 goals per game, and tied for 10th with four shots. Joe Franco ties for third with one goal and ties for eighth with 0.50 goals per game as well. Yuval Barak ties for first with two assists and 1.00 assists per game while Christian Gonzalez Diaz ranks tied for fourth with an assist and tied for eighth with 0.50 assists per game. Goalkeeper Michael Abalos ranks fourth in the conference in goals against average (0.50), save percentage (.857) and shutouts per game (0.50). He also ranks tied for second with one shutout on the season, tied for third with 3.00 saves per game and third with six overall saves.

Down, But Not Out
Although it is only a week into the season, the Matadors have already put up two exciting performances. Following a 4-0 result against Portland, Northridge found itself down a goal early in the second half against American. It was then that the Matadors rattled off two goals in a span of three minutes to take the lead for good and pick up their second win of the year. Last season, Cal State Northridge was able to rally on more than a few occasions to put the team back into the game. 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 a defender. 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. In all, the Matadors rallied from a goal down to tie the match three times (vs. UNLV, Akron, and UC Santa Barbara), all after the 75th minute. Against No. 22 CSU Bakersfield on Sept. 15, the Matadors rallied from being down two goals on the road to force overtime and earn a draw. On Oct. 22 at No. 7 UCLA, the Matadors trailed 2-1 before goals by Brian Behrad (83') and Edwin Rivas (87') led Northridge to its first victory over the Bruins in Westwood and just the second win over UCLA in school history.

Manufacturing Points
The Cal State Northridge Matadors have seen production out of every position on the field early in the season. In the team's first two matches, four different players scored a goal and seven total Matadors recorded at least one point. In Northridge's victories over Portland (4-0) and American (2-1), the team put up 18 points and leads the Big West Conference in that category. Each of the four goals against the Pilots had an assist by a different player. Among the point scorers for Northridge are three forwards, two midfielders and two defenders led by forward Edwin Rivas with five. Sagi Lev-Ari (4), Beto Velasquez (2) and Joe Franco (2) have scored goals while Carlos Benavides (2), Yuval Barak (2) and Christian Gonzalez Diaz (1) have earned assists. Rivas is the lone Matador to score at least one goal and an assist this season.

You Can't Score if You Don't Shoot
Through the first two matches of the season, the Matadors have taken 36 shots. Cal State Northridge leads the Big West Conference in shots taken and, consequently, in goals scored (6), points (18) and goals per game (3.00). Ten different Matadors have recorded a shot this season and just under half of the shots taken have been on goal. At the same time, opponents have recorded just 18 total shots and seven on goal, equal to half of Northridge's totals in each category. The difference shows up on the scoresheet, as the Matadors are 2-0 through the first week and have outscored the opposition 6-1.

Road Warriors
Of the 19 matches on the schedule this year, the Cal State Northridge Matadors will play just eight at Matador Soccer Field, including three non-conference matches in September. That may bode well for the Matadors, as the team had a record of 5-3-1 in road contests last season. Northridge opens up the 2012 season with five straight matches away from home beginning with two at the Cal State Fullerton Tournament against Portland and American. CSUN will then head east for matches at Georgetown and Loyola University Maryland before taking on UNLV in Las Vegas on September 7. The Matadors' first home match will take place on Friday, Sept. 14 against Army. Northridge will also travel to face San Diego, Cal Poly, UC Santa Barbara, Cal State Fullerton, UV Irvine and UC Riverside this season.

Quick Out of the Gates
Cal State Northridge is 22-11-2 all-time in season openers, including wins in the past two. Northridge cruised by Portland University 4-0 at the 2012 Wilson Titan Classic and defeated Canisius at Matador Soccer Field 2-0 in 2011. In addition, Cal State Northridge opened the schedule at a neutral site for the first time since the 2002 season when the Matadors competed in the LMU Tournament in Los Angeles. Northridge went on to play in the NCAA Tournament that season. Northridge is also 2-0 for the first time since the 2005 campaign. That team reached the third round of the NCAA Tournament. The Matadors are 20-7-4 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 Matadors are now 8-1-2 all-time in Big West Conference openers after defeating the UC Davis Aggies 3-0 on Sept. 28. 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.

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