November 11, 2013

Seven Matadors Named to All-Big West Teams

Complete Release from Big West Conference (PDF)

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. –

After going 13-5-1 overall and 5-4-1 in the Big West the No. 20 Cal State Northridge Matadors placed seven players on the All-Conference Teams, the league office announced Monday afternoon. The Matadors led the league with four First Team selections, tied for the second-most in the school's Big West history with the 2003 and 2005 squads and one fewer than the all-time mark set in 2002.

Forwards Sagi Lev-Ari and Beto Velasquez are joined by midfielder Chris Smith and defender Trevor Morley on the All-Big West First Team. Forward Edwin Rivas and midfielder Carlos Benavides were named to the Second Team, while defender Pol Schonhofer Bartra earned a spot on the All-Freshman Team.

Lev-Ari leads the Matadors in scoring once again this season and has 11 goals, six assists and 28 points as CSUN heads into postseason play. He ranks third in the conference with four game-winning goals and second for both goals scored and points. The junior had a goal in the home match against UC Santa Barbara and scored twice in a 3-1 win over Cal Poly.

Velasquez currently ranks second on the team with 17 points and had five goals and seven assists in the regular season. The senior is one assist behind the league leader heading into the Big West Conference Tournament and came on strong in league play, scoring against Sacramento State, Cal Poly and Cal State Fullerton.

Smith is fourth on the team in scoring with 13 points and has four goals and five assists to his credit. He had two goals and an assist against Big West opponents, including a strike at Sacramento State and a helper against UC Santa Barbara. His blast from distance at Cal State Fullerton held up as the game-winning goal, clinching a Big West Tournament berth for the Matadors.

Morley has started all but one match for the Matadors this season and has one assist for one point. As the anchor on defense, he has helped the team to 13 wins and six shutouts. Morley is one of the captains of the defense and as a team, CSUN is allowing 0.98 goals per game and goals on just 8.2 percent of shots.

Both Lev-Ari and Velasquez earned All-Big West Second Team honors last season, while Smith and Morley are picking up conference recognition for the first time.

Rivas was selected to the Second Team this season after scoring four goals and adding three assists for 11 points. Against league opponents he had three goals and an assist, including goals at both Sacramento State and UC Davis. The junior also scored a goal last weekend at UC Irvine and has now earned All-Big West accolades in each of his three playing years at CSUN.

Benavides joins the Second Team after being named an Honorable Mention a year ago. He currently has five assists for five points and has 23 assists in his career. His 23 assists rank ninth in Big West history and tie for eighth in school history. In his sophomore and junior seasons, Benavides led the Big West in assists and is three behind the leader as the postseason begins. His three assists in conference matches came in victories over Cal Poly and Cal State Fullerton twice. 

Schonhofer Bartra has made an immediate impact in his first full season with the team. The defender has appeared in every match this year and scored the first goal of 2013 for CSUN on a header against Albany. Schonhofer has seen time at all positions on the back line and figures to be a central figure on defense for the Matadors for years to come.