NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -
Two members of the Cal State Northridge Men's Soccer team are ranked in the National Top 100 and two others appear in the Freshmen Top 100 rankings at the midway point of the 2013 college soccer season, according to the lists published by TopDrawerSoccer.com on Friday morning. Sagi Lev-Ari (#15 overall) checked in as the top player from the Big West Conference while Pol Schonhofer Bartra (#16 freshman) is the league's top rookie.
Midfielder Carlos Benavides, who appeared on the Preseason Top 100 list by TDS, stayed steady in the overall rankings at 40th. Fellow midfielder Juan Samayoa was tabbed at 33rd on the list of the best freshmen in the country.
Lev-Ari is making his case to not only be named the Most Valuable Player in the Big West but also be in serious contention for the MAC Hermann Trophy, the top individual honor in Division I soccer. Through 13 matches coming into the week, Lev-Ari is the top scorer in the country with 11 goals and also leads the nation in points (26). The junior from Haifa, Israel, is well on pace to top his mark of 15 goals and 30 points he set a year ago in his first season at CSUN.
Benavides currently has three assists on the season for the Matadors and ranks in the Top 10 for career assists at both CSUN (T-9th) and in the Big West (10th) with 21. The senior from Woodland Hills, Calif., has been in discussions surrounding top prospects for the upcoming MLS SuperDraft in January, as he is regarded as one of the top players at his position in central midfield.
Schonhofer Bartra is in his first full season with the Matadors after serving a redshirt year in 2012. A centerback from Barcelona, Schonhofer Bartra has helped CSUN record four shutouts while helping the squad outscore opponents 32-14 through 13 matches. In addition to his resolute defending Schonofer Bartra has factoring into the scoring for the Matadors, netting the first goal of the season for CSUN in the season opener against Albany.
Samayoa, a true freshman from Simi Valley, Calif., has three assists to his name and is a bright spot for the Matadors in the midfield. With teammates Benavides and Chris Smith graduating at season's end, Samayoa is showing the team that he can be the one to fill their shoes moving into the future. All three of his assists have come on the first goal of a match for the Matadors due to his ability to find space for his forwards early in the match.
In addition to having players appear on national lists, Cal State Northridge also placed four on the list of Top 20 Players in the Big West by TDS. Lev-Ari (#1), Benavides (#5), Beto Velasquez (#10) and Edwin Rivas (#15) are all seeing their work pay off for the Matadors.
Cal State Northridge hits the road for their next match on Saturday, Oct. 19, at UC Riverside. Kickoff from UC Riverside Soccer Stadium is scheduled for 7 p.m.