NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -
A goal in the 67th minute of play highlighted the action on the pitch as the Cal State Northridge Matadors (13-6, 7-3 Big West) fell 1-0 to the UC Irvine Anteaters (5-14-1, 2-8-0 Big West) on Saturday night at Matador Soccer Field. Although it was not the final home match for the CSUN senior class, six individuals were honored for their contributions to the program before the match.
With little on the line for either side, the teams gave the fans in attendance a defensive show as each tried to end the regular season on a positive note.
The first dangerous chance in the match came for UC Irvine in the 18th minute when a shot by Christopher Santana deflected off of a defender and hit the outside of the post. Irvine's resulting corner kick found the head of Cameron Iwasa in the box, whose shot went right to the chest of Northridge goalkeeper Michael Abalos for a save.
Abalos made another save with under a minute remaining in the first half on a knuckling shot that bounced on its way toward the net.
Although it was scoreless at halftime, UC Irvine led the Matadors in shots (7-2), shots on goal (2-0) and corner kicks (4-0).
The Matadors nearly score the night's first goal in the 60th minute but a shot by David Turcios on the right side of the box rolled just wide of the left post.
Santana scored the only goal of the night for the Anteaters, finishing off a header after receiving a cross from Marco Franco. Mitchell Alvarez threw the ball in to Franco, who sent a cross from the left side to the back post and found Santana.
Northridge had a chance to tie the score in the 78th minute after winning a free kick. Beto Velasquez curled a shot over the wall but it was tipped just over the crossbar by Irvine goalkeeper Michael Breslin.
The Matadors were unable to get the equalizer in regulation and split the season series with the Anteaters. There were two yellow cards handed out in the match as Dennis Martinez (UCI) and Armando Gutierrez (CSUN) were booked for fouls.
Despite dropping the regular season finale, Northridge's hopes for the Big West Conference Championship and a berth in the NCAA Tournament are still alive. The Matadors will host the Cal Poly Mustangs, runners-up in the Big West North Division, in a Big West Tournament Semifinal match on Wednesday, Nov. 7 at 7 p.m.
Tickets for Wednesday's match are $10 for general admission and $5 for students. All fans in attendance will need to purchase a ticket for admission.
Prior to the match, six seniors on the CSUN men's soccer team were honored with an on-field ceremony. Joe Franco, Jose Luis Garcia, Michael Abalos, Yuval Barak, Rene Anguiano and Armando Gutierrez all started the match in their final regular season home contest at Matador Soccer Field.
Earlier on Saturday, members of the men's soccer program from the 1980s reunited to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the 1987 squad's run to the national championship match. The alumni were also recognized on the field with their children during halftime.