NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -
The 24th-ranked CSUN Matadors open the 2014 season with a pair of matches on the road in Colorado. CSUN will start things off against a strong opponent in the Denver Pioneers, a team that was defeated just three times last season. The two sides will meet on Friday, Aug. 29 at 7 p.m. (6 p.m. PT) as the Matadors look to open the season with a win for the fourth consecutive year. Two days later, CSUN will square off against the Air Force Falcons in Colorado Springs.
In addition to the quality of opponents, CSUN will be challenged by the altitude in its first two matches. The Matadors lose four seniors from a season ago, including three starting offensive threats, but return 12 players with regular starting experience and 10 newcomers that will vie for immediate time on the field. Both matches on the road this week will feature live stats coverage and Twitter updates. Links to coverage are available on GoMatadors.com.
#24 CSUN (0-0-0) at Denver (0-0-0)
Friday, Aug. 29 - 7 p.m. MT (6 p.m. PT)
CIBER Field (2,000) - Denver, Colo.
Live Stats: Link Available at Gameday Central
#24 CSUN at Air Force (0-0-0)
Sunday, Aug. 31 - 1 p.m. MT (12 p.m. PT)
USAFA Soccer Stadium (1,000) - Colorado Springs, Colo.
Live Stats and Video: Link Available at Gameday Central
Follow Your Matadors Online
All home games this season will include live stats coverage and selected contests will also feature a free audio broadcast on GoMatadors.com. For road games, related links to the game, including for any live stats, audio and video, will be posted before the game on the men's soccer schedule page of GoMatadors.com. Fans are also encouraged to check the CSUN Athletics Department's official Twitter feed (@GoMatadors) and the soccer-specific feed (@CSUNMensSoccer) for updates of games in progress and news and notes throughout the week.
Take Your Seat in the Front Row
Fans can now follow all of the action for CSUN's 19 varsity sports right from their phone or tablet! CSUN Front Row, the official mobile app of Matador Athletics, is available for free for your iOS and Android devices. You can also access live stats coverage of a majority of CSUN home events, as well as audio and video links when available. For more information, search for CSUN Front Row on the App Store or Google Play or visit GoMatadors.com/frontrow.
A Closer Look at Denver
The Denver Pioneers enter the 2014 season looking to build upon a 13-3-4 record and an appearance in the NCAA Tournament from a year ago. The Pioneers went 7-1-1 in home matches in 2013 and were a perfect 6-0-0 in Summit League play. The Pioneers defeated IUPUI and Western Illinois in the tournament en route to the conference championship. Denver then drew with then-No. 17 Louisville in the NCAA Tournament but did not advance after being defeated in penalty kicks. The Pioneers have not been defeated in a competitive match since September of last season when the team was on the wrong side of a 1-0 decision at then-No. 5 Saint Louis. The team is currently receiving a vote in the NSCAA Top 25 poll.
The Pioneers will be without the services of Zach Boldin, who scored 10 goals and added nine assists in 2013 and graduated. Midfielder Reid Hukari returns as the top scoring from last year's squad after putting up four goals and adding five assists to finish second behind Boldin with 13 points. Another midfielder, Brian Hoyt, ranked second on the team with six assists and also had a goal to his credit.
Senior goalkeeper Oliver Brown was stingy in net for the Pioneers in 2013 and looks to have a repeat performance in his final year with the team. Brown factored into every match last year and picked up nine shutouts in addition to 13 victories. He made 52 saves and only allowed 15 goals in nearly 1800 minutes of work for a 0.75 goals against average.
The Pioneers defeated Air Force 1-0 in an exhibition in Colorado Springs on August 17th and earned a draw on the road at preseason-No. 5 New Mexico on August 23rd. Following the match against the Matadors, Denver will host Navy on Sunday.
A Closer Look at Air Force
The Air Force Falcons hope to regroup after a 4-11-5 season in 2013 and get back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2012. The Falcons did, however, tie for first place in the Mountain Division of the Western Athletic Conference but were defeated by Seattle University in the conference tournament. All four wins from a season ago for the team came at home. The Falcons were defeated in an exhibition by Denver on August 17th before rebounding for a 1-0 exhibition victory over New Mexico at home on August 20th.
The Falcons are led by sophomore midfielder Ryan Ward, who led the team with four goals and eight points as a freshman. He will work to link up with senior forward Zachary Modly, who returns after scoring three goals and adding a pair of assists last year. Air Force will have to do without the services of forward Brian Klazura and defender Caleb Downey, a pair of All-Conference selections that graduated this past year and combined for 39 starts in 2013.
Goalkeeper Jake Schenk started 16 matches for the Falcons as a freshman and was called upon to make 93 saves. He logged nearly 1500 minutes in net and compiled a 1.52 goals against avearge while picking up three wins. Defenders Ben Kern and A.J. Esparza also return to the starting 11 for Air Force.
The Falcons will host Navy to open the season on August 29th before the Matadors come to town for an afternoon match on August 31st. After hosting CSUN, Air Force will travel to West Point, N.Y. for a meeting with Army.
Keep Calm and Sagi On
Senior forward Sagi Lev-Ari enters his final season as the offensive leader for CSUN.
- One of 32 players on MAC Hermann Trophy Preseason Watch List
- Semifinalist for 2013 MAC Hermann Trophy, college soccer's top individual honor
- 2013 First Team All-American, 2014 Preseason First Team All-American
- 16 goals, 6 assists and 38 points as a junior
- Scored hat tricks against Memphis and at UC Santa Barbara in 2013
- Has 31 goals and 68 points in 44 career matches for CSUN
- One goal away from joining CSUN's All-Time Top 10 Scoring List
For the Ed-Win
Senior forward Edwin Rivas adds an explosive threat to the CSUN offense.
- All-Big West Conference Second Team in 2013
- Scored 4 goals and 4 assists for 12 points as a junior
- All four assists came in CSUN victories
- Has scored four game-winning goals for CSUN
- Has 17 goals, 8 assists and 42 points in his CSUN career
Junior midfielder David Turcios returns for his third season with CSUN in 2014.
- Played in every match in his first two seasons with the Matadors
- Scored two goals and added seven assists in 2013
- Among CSUN returners, brings back the most assists from a year ago
- Had a goal and an assist in CSUN's win at New Mexico
- Scored the golden goal in overtime to defeat Cal State Fullerton
You Really Like It, You Want Mor-ley
Junior defender Trevor Morley is the anchor on an experienced CSUN defense this season.
- Has appeared in all but one match in his career at CSUN
- Is responsible for helping CSUN win 30 matches and earn 16 shutouts since 2012
- Has two assists and two points in his career
- Assisted on CSUN's first goal of the 2013 season
- Named to All-Big West Conference First Team and NSCAA All-Far West Region Third Team in 2013
A Keeper of Hobbs-ian proportions
Junior goalkeeper Adam Hobbs enters his second season between the pipes for CSUN.
- Won 14 matches as a sophomore transfer in 2013
- Recorded 69 saves on the year and had a 1.05 goals against average in 22 matches
- After one season, ranks ninth all-time for career wins at CSUN (14)
One Plus One is Three (Or Four)
The Matadors had 13 players record at least three points in a match in 2013, either by way of one goal and one assist or two goals (or more). Sagi Lev-Ari led all players with six-such performances, including five multi-goal games and a pair of hat tricks. In 2013, CSUN led all teams in the country in points (144). The experienced senior duo of Lev-Ari and Edwin Rivas are set to lead the attack for the Matadors this year and are supported by a cast of midfielders with another year under their belts. CSUN returns 11 players that recorded at least one point last season, including 10 that had more than one. Lev-Ari brings back the most in terms of offensive output after collecting 38 points last season, but all four starting defenders, five midfielders and two players that were strictly substitutes found their way onto the score sheet.
Following a second-straight 15-win season and a trip to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, the CSUN Matadors are ranked 24th by the NSCAA heading into the season. By appearing in the preseason Top 25 the Matadors have now been ranked in each of the last 13 NSCAA polls, dating back to the first regular-season rankings of 2013. CSUN is ranked 23rd by College Soccer News in its preseason poll. The team was also picked to emerge as champions of the Big West South Division in a preseason poll of head coaches in the conference. CSUN, which finished second in the regular season and conference tournament last year, received six first-place votes in the poll and 30 points overall. UC Irvine was picked second, followed by UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton in the division. In the North, the coaches tabbed UC Santa Barbara as favorites with eight first-place votes. The Gauchos were followed by UC Davis, Cal Poly and Sacramento State.
Entering the preseason, the Matadors have solidified their place as one of the most prolific attacks in the country. Across the first two matches last year against Albany and Memphis, CSUN scored seven goals and tallied 10 assists while holding the opposition to just one goal and one assist. Fifteen different Matadors recorded at least one point in 2013, led by Sagi Lev-Ari with a robust 38. Yarden Azulay (8) is fit and ready to take on a greater role in the midfield while defender Pol Schonofer Bartra scored the first CSUN goal last season and had two points. Edwin Rivas (12), Steven Manios (4), David Turcios (11), Juan Samayoa (3), Mynor Giron (5), Tanner Snedigar (2), Nicolas Camacho (2) and Trevor Morley (1) round out the list of point scorers that are returning this season for the Matadors.
Redefining The "Matador Defense"
The CSUN Matadors don't just let anyone compete on the team. A major requirement for each player is the ability to play a tough and aggressive style of defense at every position.. The Matadors return all five defensive starters from last season, including All-Big West First Team honoree Trevor Morley and goalkeeper Adam Hobbs. Mynor Giron, Patrick Hickman, Tanner Snedigar and Pol Schonhofer Bartra join Morley on the back line, giving the team added defensive depth. Four members of the defense recorded points in 2013 as well. Always a strength for the Matadors, the defense looks to improve upon its 1.02 goals against average in hopes of besting the current CSUN record of 15 wins in a season.
Quick Out of the Gates
CSUN is 23-11-2 all-time in season openers, including wins in the past three. The Matadors took a 3-0 decision against Albany to open last season, cruised by Portland University 4-0 at the 2012 Wilson Titan Classic, and defeated Canisius at Matador Soccer Field 2-0 in 2011. The Matadors are 27-9 in home openers after a win over Albany on August 30, 2013. They are 22-7-4 in conference season openers, and have only been defeated once in a Big West opener. CSUN has not lost a conference opener since 2002, when they were on the wrong side of a 2-1 decision against UC Irvine at home. The Matadors are now 10-1-2 all-time in Big West Conference openers after defeating the Sacramento State Hornets 3-0 on Oct. 4, 2013. The longest streak for conference opening wins in Matador history is 10 seasons, accomplished from 1978-87 under the direction of head coaches Zvi Friedman, Ric Fonseca and Marwan Ass'ad.
Of the 19 matches on the schedule this year, the CSUN Matadors will play just eight at Matador Soccer Field, including three non-conference matches in September. That may bode well for the Matadors, as the team had a record of 6-2-1 in road contests last season. CSUN begins the season with strong road tests at Denver and Air Force before facing UAB and Tulsa at the Tulsa Invitational in early September. The Matadors will also play at preseason-No. 4 UCLA on September 28th and take on the Central Coast tandem of UCSB and Cal Poly away from home to start the Big West Conference season.
We Must Protect This House
Although the Matadors play their majority of matches on the road this season, the home slate will be important for CSUN's postseason chances. The Matadors open the home schedule against preseason-No. 5 New Mexico on September 12th. The Lobos reached the College Cup last season, but were defeated by CSUN in Albuquerque early in the year. CSUN will also welcome Bradley, a 2013 NCAA Tournament participant, and Bakersfield to Matador Soccer Field before the start of the Big West Season. During the conference portion of the schedule, the Matadors will take on Sacramento State and UC Davis from the North Division in addition to all three South Division rivals.
Bring the Noise
Have a drum, cowbell, or other noisemaker lying around at home? Now is the time to bring it out and explore the space of Matador Soccer Field! In 2011, the Big West Conference office announced that all noisemakers, with the exceptions of airhorns and whistles, will be allowed at all conference matches and all home venues. Please note that noisemakers have been approved for use at men's and women's soccer matches only and will be confiscated in The Matadome or at any other CSUN Athletics venue.