NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -
In front of a near-capacity crowd on a frigid evening, the No. 20 Cal State Northridge Matadors (15-7-1) were defeated 1-0 by the Stanford Cardinal (10-6-4) in an NCAA Tournament Second Round match on Sunday night at Matador Soccer Field. Matt Taylor scored on a set piece in the 21st minute to send the Cardinal to a Sweet 16 match at second-seeded Washington next week.
"We wanted more," said CSUN head coach Terry Davila. "It's a good accomplishment to get here, but we wanted more."
The Matadors controlled possession in the early going but found it difficult to break through the last line of the Stanford defense. CSUN's first shot came off the foot of David Turciosin the seventh minute but it snaked wide of the post.
The goal for Stanford was headed home by Taylor in the 21st minute after the Cardinal won a free kick near the midfield line on the right side. Aaron Kovar sent a long ball toward the left post and Taylor lunged forward, heading it into the roof of the net from inside the six-yard box.
Northridge had a chance to level the score in the 29th minute but Nicolas Camacho's shot also missed wide left on the ground. At the halftime break, the Cardinal led the shot margin 3-2 and CSUN goalkeeper Adam Hobbs had the lone save.
Northridge's only shot on goal in the match came from Hobbs, who sent a ball forward from the midfield line in the 88th minute after joining the attack. Hobbs' try was headed for goal but Stanford goalkeeper Drew Hutchins was able to catch and hold on with Matadors crashing the play for the save.
With the defeat, the Matadors finish the season with a 15-7-1 record, matching the school's Division I wins record set in 2005 and again in 2012. After the match, a few Northridge players offered a look back at the season and what they must do moving forward.
"We wouldn't be here without Joe Franco, Rafael Garcia and the seniors before us," said senior forward Brian Behrad. "We want to get better each year and build off of the success they've helped us achieve."
"We need to put this behind us and put in the work to do better next year," said junior forward Sagi Lev-Ari. "We will bring everyone together and hopefully advance further."
Cal State Northridge rose through the rankings this season after starting the year 7-0-0. The Matadors were tabbed as high as third in the nation at one point, the highest ranking in the school's DI history.
"This was a big game for our university," added Davila. "We knew what it meant for the University and athletic department. It's a privilege for us to be in a game like this but we are disappointed that we couldnt come through for our supporters, President Harrison, Dr. Martin and our esteemed staff that helps us on a daily basis. We appreciate their support and their desire to take us to the next level and we will come back next year and do them proud."