NORTHRIDGE, Calif. –
Nineteen matches, including eight at Matador Soccer Field, highlight the 2014 CSUN Men's Soccer Schedule, head coach Terry Davila announced Friday. The Matadors will play seven matches against six opponents that participated in the 2013 NCAA Tournament, not including a preseason exhibition at Loyola Marymount.
"The Big West Conference is one of the toughest in the nation and we are excited for another competitive season," said Davila. "Our goal was to add a challenging non-conference schedule once again to prepare our team to match up against the best in the Big West. Every opponent is a contender and must be approached in a unique way, which will help us the later we get into the year."
The Matadors are looking to earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament for the third consecutive season, which hasn't been done by the program since appearing four years in a row from 2002 to 2005. CSUN begins the season with a short trip down the 405 to meet the Lions in an exhibition on August 23rd. The two sides played a friendly in Los Angeles last year before LMU completed a 13-4-2 campaign and won the West Coast Conference.
CSUN will play its first four official matches of the 2014 season away from home, starting with a match at Denver on August 29th. The Pioneers captured the Summit League crown and went 13-3-4 a year ago. From Denver, the Matadors will head to nearby Colorado Springs to take on the Air Force Falcons on August 31st.
The next week, the Matadors travel to Tulsa, Okla., to participate in the Tulsa Invitational against the UAB Blazers (9/5) and the host Golden Hurricane (9/7).
CSUN's home opener is set for Friday, Sept. 12, against New Mexico at 7 p.m. The Lobos advanced to the College Cup a season ago as the seventh-seed in the tournament and picked up 14 wins along the way.
Another tournament team, the Bradley Braves, visit the San Fernando Valley on September 14th at 4 p.m. for the lone afternoon home match of the season. The Matadors defeated the Braves on the road thanks to a last-minute goal and Bradley recovered by winning the Missouri Valley Conference Championship and a road match at Northwestern in the NCAA Tournament.
A neutral-site match between the Matadors and the University of Nebraska-Omaha will be played on the campus of Cal State Fullerton on September 19th before CSUN returns home to battle the Bakersfield Roadrunners on September 25th.
The team's final non-conference match of the regular season will be at Drake Stadium on September 28th against the rival UCLA Bruins, who entered the postseason as the top team in the country last year. From there, the Matadors will head up the Central Coast to open the Big West schedule at UC Santa Barbara (10/2) and Cal Poly (10/5).
CSUN will then have its longest home stand of the season, with matches against Big West foes Sacramento State (10/9), UC Davis (10/11) and UC Riverside (10/18). Big West South Division play will continue with matches at Cal State Fullerton (10/22), UC Irvine (10/25) and a return encounter with UCR (10/29).
The Matadors will host two matches to close out the regular season against UC Irvine (11/1) and Cal State Fullerton (11/5) before the start of the Big West Conference Tournament.
Once again the Big West Tournament will pit together the top three finishers in both the North and South Division, with the winners of each division receiving a first-round bye. The first round is slated for Saturday, Nov. 8, with the second-place finisher in the North hosting the third-place finisher in the South, and vice versa.
The division winners join the fray in the semifinals on Wednesday, Nov. 12 and will host the winners from the first round of matches. The South Division champion will play the winner of the North #2/South #3 match while the North champion takes on the winner of the South #2/North #3 match.
The two teams left standing will battle for the Big West Championship on Saturday, Nov. 15 at the home field of the highest remaining seed. Should both #1, #2 or #3 teams advance to the final, a tiebreaker will be used to determine the host.
The Matadors finished the 2013 season in the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament and were ranked 24th in the country at the conclusion of the College Cup after earning a 15-7-1 record.
2014 Schedule Breakdown
- 8 Matches at Matador Soccer Field
- 6 2013 NCAA Tournament Participants
- 1 Final Four Opponent, 2 in Sweet 16, 2 in 2nd Round
- 4 Opponents in Final 2013 NSCAA Top 25
- 2 Opponents Receiving Votes in Final 2013 NSCAA Top 25