NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -
After recording shutouts in two road matches at Cal Poly and then-No. 4 UC Santa Barbara, Cal State Northridge senior goalkeeper Michael Abalos was named the Big West Conference Defensive Player of the Week, the league office announced Monday. Abalos made seven saves to help Northridge to its first Central Coast sweep since 1998.
The last time Northridge defeated UC Santa Barbara on the road was in 1999 when the program was a member of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. The Matadors had not beaten both Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara on the road since 1998, a year before current head coach Terry Davila began his tenure at CSUN.
On Friday at Cal Poly, Abalos made three saves in net to help preserve a 1-0 win after Sagi Lev-Ari scored in the first minute of play. Against the Gauchos on Sunday he made four saves, including three in the second half, to help the Matadors hand UCSB its first loss of the season.
Abalos now has 19 career shutouts, a figure that ranks him ninth in Big West Conference history. He also has 24 career wins to rank fourth all-time in the CSUN record books.
The Matadors have won seven of their last eight matches with the last five victories coming by shutout.
UPDATE (1:00 p.m.):
In addition to being named the Big West Defensive Player of the Week, Abalos was named the Big West Madness Player of the Week by College Sports Madness on Monday afternoon. College Sports Madness names one player from each conference as an overall player of the week and also selects a national offensive and defensive standout.