Matadors Open Big West Conference Play at Cal State Fullerton
Sept. 29, 2010
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - The Cal State Northridge Matadors enter the start of Big West competition with a game at Cal State Fullerton this Saturday night. Kick-off for Saturday's contest will take place at 7:00 p.m. GameTracker will not be available because the match will be shown live online at BigWest.TV.
FOLLOW THE MATADORS ONLINE THIS WEEKEND
Soccer fans looking to follow the progress of their soccer team during their time in Fullerton can do so by visiting GoMatadors.com this Saturday evening. Links for streaming video on BigWest.TV and live audio of the Northridge-Fullerton game will be available for fans to utilize.
A CLOSER LOOK AT CAL STATE FULLERTON
Saturday’s game at Cal State Fullerton will open up the Big West Conference season for Cal State Northridge, its 10th year as a member of the Big West. The Titans enter the Big West season after dropping a tough 3-2 decision to UCLA at home over the weekend. On Wednesday, Sept. 29, Fullerton will face fellow rival UC Santa Barbara to open their conference season before the Matadors enter Titan Stadium on Saturday.
The Titans enter the match with a record of 1-4-2, their only win coming against Pitt in the West Virginia Tournament. Despite the record, Cal State Fullerton has been no stranger to scoring goals. They have been shutout only twice in seven matches, with one of those two resulting in a tie. The Titan to watch for on the offensive end is junior forward Nick Posthuma, who leads the Big West in goals scored, netting four in only seven matches thus far. Also look for midfielders Oscar Aguero and Ritchie Gonzalez to have a say on both sides of the ball. Aguero is tied for third in the conference with three assists and Gonzalez is close behind with two. Goalkeeper Trevor Whiddon finds himself second in the conference in saves with 34. He has played every minute for the Titans thus far and has two shutouts, averaging 1.48 goals allowed per game. Following the match this Saturday, Cal State Fullerton embarks on a three-game conference road trip to UC Santa Barbara and UC Riverside before making the return trip to Matador Soccer Field to close out the season series with CSUN.
CONFERENCE OPENER COMFORT
The Matadors are 18-7-4 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 last time the Matadors tied a conference opening match was in 2007 at Cal State Fullerton, the same squad they will open the Big West season with in 2010. 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.
MAKING THE MOST OF A FIRST IMPRESSION
One of 17 newcomers to the squad this year, freshman forward Sam Ball is making quite an impression within the Big West this season. Leading CSUN with three goals scored - an impressive feat as he has only taken six total shots and has capitalized on all three shots on goal taken - Ball leads the conference with 1.50 points per game and 0.75 goals per game, and is tied for fifth with four other players with three goals scored after competing in four games so far this season.
REWRITING THE RECORD BOOKS
One indication of the success sophomore goalkeeper Michael Abalos earned last season can be seen in the Matador record books as the San Juan Capistrano native earned a spot on four different lists with his numbers earned during his freshman season at Northridge. Abalos now shares tenth place with Louie Mata (1992-93) with his seven career victories, is fifth all-time with his 1.17 career goals against average, and is now tied for eighth all-time with Joel Entreken (1990-91) and his six career shutouts. His five clean sheets earned in 2009 is also the seventh-highest number of shutouts earned in a season, tying him with Joe Barton (2001) and Mike Littman (1989) and their respective single-season performances.
NO NEED TO PANIC
Even though the Matadors are off to a tough start of the season, nobody can doubt the quality players Coach Davila has fielded so far as four of the eight opponents Northridge has faced this season were ranked in the top-25 last season. Adding to an already challenging schedule is the fact that Northridge has only played two games at Matador Soccer Field, tying Cal Poly and UC Davis for the fewest number of home games played so far in 2010.
ANYONE, ANYTIME, ANYWHERE
Known for creating a tough schedule year after year, the Matador coaching staff have pieced together one of the most challenging schedules ever in an attempt to prepare the team for the challenges and rigors faced during conference play. Almost one-third of the games scheduled in 2010 will be against teams that were ranked in the top-25 nationally by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America in 2009. The list of opponents includes CSUN’s season-opening game vs. San Diego (9/1), last season’s College Cup runners-up Akron (9/17), San Francisco (9/24), cross-town rival UCLA (10/27), UC Santa Barbara (10/23), and UC Irvine (10/20).
CSUN’S HOUSE OF HORRORS
Since relocating from North Campus Stadium to their current facility before the start of the 2002 season, Matador Soccer Field has presented a strong advantage for the Matadors. In the 73 games played on-campus, CSUN possesses an overwhelming 50-15-8 record at home for a .685 winning percentage on their home turf.
Despite some tough outcomes early in the season, a number of Matadors are continuing to make their mark on the Big West Conference and have found themselves ranked in the top 10 in individual statistical categories. Senior midfielder Rafael Garcia, who serves as a captain on the squad, is currently tied for fifth in the conference for shots taken with 17. Redshirt freshman midfielder Gustavo Villalobos sits one back of that mark with 16 shots. With two assists against Air Force, Garcia now leads the team and sits in a tie for sixth in the conference in that category. Freshman forward Sam Ball moved into the top 10 in points this week and is currently tied for ninth with 6. He also leads the Big West in points per game with an average of 1.50. After scoring against Air Force, Ball leaped to a tie for fifth in the conference in goals scored with 3. As a team, CSUN is second only to UC Irvine in corner kicks taken with 42.
WELCOME TO THE CENTURY CLUB
With three additional victories, head coach Terry Davila will become the fifth coach in Big West history to win 100 game as a member of the conference. Even though Davila enters the 2010 season with 110 career wins to his credit, the first 14 were earned as member of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. In 2001 the Matadors switched conference affiliation from the MPSF to the Big West, since then Davila’s teams have compiled a 97-56-30 overall record (.530 pct.). With his first victory over a conference opponent in 2010 Davila will also become just the third head coach to win 50 or more conference games.
The 2010 Cal State Northridge men's soccer team received 27 points and were picked to finish fourth in the 2010 Big West Men's Soccer Preseason Coaches poll as announced by the league office in mid-August. Northridge was narrowly edged out by Cal Poly as the Mustangs earned 28 points to claim third place by a slim one point margin. Finishing in second place with 43 total points and one first place vote was UC Irvine, with UC Santa Barbara leading the way with 48 points and six first place votes. Cal State Fullerton's 22 points were enough to secure fifth place, with UC Davis and UC Riverside rounding out the poll in sixth and seventh place respectively with 17 and 11 points. This is the third straight season that Northridge was predicted to finish in fourth place; last season CSUN received 32 overall and one first place point en route to a 10-8-2 overall record, clinching a spot in the 2009 Big West Men's Soccer Postseason Tournament.
Tickets for all home men's matches are available through the CSUN Associated Students Ticket Office. Adults are $5, while youth 17 and under and seniors 60 and older are $3. There is also a $3 discounted rate ticket for CSUN Faculty/Staff, Military Service Personnel and CSUN Alumni Association Members with their respective identification cards.
CSUN students receive free admission to all home games with their CSUN I.D. Groups of 10 or more people may purchase $3 tickets, but tickets must be purchased a minimum of 24 hours in advance. For more information, call the A.S. Ticket Office at 818-677-2488.