Oct. 1, 2008
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - In front of a nationally televised audience, the Cal State Northridge Matadors (4-4-1) played a competitive game on both sides of the field for 104 minutes against the fifth-ranked Creighton Bluejays (7-1-0).
But it was in the 105th minute when a penalty kick was awarded to Bluejay midfielder Andrei Gotsmanov, a call that would eventually turn into the game-winning goal for the Bluejays as the Matadors were defeated 1-0 in their final non-conference game of the season.
Television replays confirmed that Gotsmanov was tackled by the Matador defenseman only moments after the ball was tapped out-of-bounds; a play that ended up being the deciding factor in what was otherwise a hard-fought contest by both teams.
With sixteen minutes left in the second half, Matador defenseman Reuben Rodriguez would have earned his first assist of the season, as his deftly placed pass to Dylan Riley enabled the midfielder to rifle a shot just from outside the goalie box past Bluejay goalkeeper Brian Holt.
Instead, the goal was wiped from the scoreboard as the Matadors were whistled offsides on the play, a momentum-killing call that would have forced the Bluejays to score a last-minute goal in order to avoid the upset.
Coming off a frustrating 2-2 tie last Sunday against the UCLA Bruins, the Matadors wasted no time in setting the pace of play throughout the first half. Clearly the aggressors throughout the initial 45 minute session, the Matadors tested Holt early and often.
With both teams entering the locker room at half tied at zero, the Matadors displayed a level of tenacity that showed everyone at Morrison Stadium that they were not the least bit intimidated by a Bluejay team known for their multi-dimensional offense, and suffocating defense that had not allowed a goal in the last 344 minutes of game time.
Even though the Matadors were out-shot by an 8-1 margin during the second 45 minute session, neither team was able to create a dangerous scoring opportunity for a majority of the half.
With neither team able to find the back of the net during regulation, the Matadors found themselves playing in their second overtime match in as many games, the first such game for the Bluejays this season.
Both teams had their opportunity to score during the first overtime as a sliding save by Holt at the edge of his penalty box was quickly followed by a Bluejay counterattack that resulted in a shot that drifted wide and narrowly missed its intended target.
In order to leave Omaha with a victory, the Matador defense needed to find a way to negate the play of Bluejays Jeff Thayer, Andrei Gotsmanov, and Ethan Finlay, an offensive trio responsible for nine of the 14 Bluejay goals scored this season.
Led by defensemen Jeremy Hohn, Bo Miller, and Robert Pate, the Matador backline performed brilliantly, allowing the Bluejay three to take only five shots in total before Gotsmanov converted the penalty kick in double overtime.
Playing in only their second home match in over a month, road to the Big West Championships begins this Sunday against the UC Riverside Highlanders, as the Matadors open up conference play at Matador Field on October 5th. Kick-off will take place at 2:30 p.m.