Matadors Return To Big West Action Wednesday Evening

Oct. 7, 2009

Matador Men's Soccer Notes Get Acrobat Reader


Wednesday, October 7: Matadors at Cal State Fullerton, 7:00 P.M. (Titan Stadium) - Live Online      

Saturday, October 10: Matadors vs. UC Irvine, 3:00 P.M. (Matador Field) - GameTracker


Wednesday, September 30 at UC Riverside, W, 3-1

Saturday, October 3 at New Mexico, L, 2-0


NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Every game played from now until the end of the season carries an additional level of importance as the Cal State Northridge Matadors (6-3-1, 1-0-0 BWC) return to Big West action starting Wednesday night at Cal State Fullerton (4-5-1, 0-1-0 BWC) before returning home for the first time in almost four weeks to face the UC Irvine Anteaters (6-4-0, 0-2-0 BWC) at Matador Field this Saturday.


Cal State Northridge began Big West competition last Wednesday as they traveled to the Inland Empire to face the UC Riverside Highlanders. The first 45 minutes saw each team battling for possession in the middle third of the pitch in an attempt to score the first goal of the game. Solid saves made by both teams including freshman `keeper Michael Abalos who made his Big West debut helped preserve a 0-0 tie at the half. Seven minutes into the second half, midfielder Sunghyun Kim became the first player to light up the scoreboard as he took a cross from defender Matt Chavez and curled a shot from 15 yards out around the outstretched hands of the Highlander netminder. Unfazed, Riverside scored two minutes later to tie the game at 1-1 before midfielder Dylan Riley gave the Matadors the lead for good with his third goal of the season as he redirected a free kick taken from the foot of Kim, a pass taken from just outside the penalty area. Defender Joe Franco scored his first goal as a Matador in the final seconds of the game as he out-ran the Highlander goalkeeper down the field and punched in the final goal of the game to give CSUN a 3-1 victory, their 18th conference-opening win the program's history.


The Cal State Fullerton Titans (4-5-1) suffered a winless past week, dropping a pair of contests, against Cal Poly and Cal State Bakersfield. Last Wednesday, the Titans lost their Big West Conference home opener against the Mustangs in heartbreaking fashion, 1-0 in overtime. Fullerton then dropped their Saturday match-up in Bakersfield, losing a close 2-1 decision. The Titans are currently winless in their past four matches, but have played into overtime in three of those games. Fullerton is familiar to playing in tight games as nine of their ten games this season has been decided by a single goal or ended in a tie. A big reason why Fullerton has been in many close games is goalkeeper Trevor Whiddon, who has been stingy in front of the net, saving a league-leading 40 goal attempts. Whiddon has a .800 save percentage and is averaging 4.44 saves per game. Forward Celso Alvarez currently leads the team in goals scored (4) and points (9), with senior Shay Spitz in a close second in each category (three goals and seven points). The Matadors swept the Titans in 2008, winning each of their contests by the same 3-2 final in two overtime games. Northridge has dominated Fullerton in the past few years, as they are unbeaten in their past nine meetings and is victorious in the last eight decisions. 

Series History: Northridge leads 14-12-2

Home Record: 7-5-1, Away Record: 7-7-1, Neutral Record: 0-0-0

Last Home Meeting: 10/18/08 - Matadors 3, Cal State Fullerton 2 (2ot)

Last Away Meeting: 11/5/08 - Matadors 3, Cal State Fullerton 2 (2ot)


Having lost both conference games last week at UC Santa Barbara (1-0 score) and in a double overtime thriller at home against UC Davis (2-1 score) the previously ranked Anteaters will travel to Northridge in search of their first Big West victory of the season. A third loss will make things that much more difficult for the reigning Big West champs to repeat their efforts in `09; having lost to the Anteaters in their final game of the season, a home contest that denied Northridge a spot in the Big West Postseason Tournament, the Matadors will not only look to avenge their loss but also keep Irvine towards the bottom of the  standings for another week. Junior forwards Amani Walker and Spencer Thompson lead the team with 10 points on four goals and two assists, and eight points on three goals and two assists respectively, with goalkeeper Andrew Fontein going into New Mexico, the `Eaters game prior to their match at Northridge with 26 saves, a 0.96 goals against average, an assist and four shutouts on the year.

Series History: Northridge leads 16-12-4

Home Record: 9-6-0, Away Record: 7-6-4, Neutral Record: 1-0-0

Last Home Meeting: 11/8/08 - Matadors 1, UC Irvine 2

Last Away Meeting: 10/15/08 - Matadors 0, UC Irvine 0, (2ot)


Northridge opened up conference action on the road against UC Riverside, and left the Inland Empire with a 3-1 victory, the 18th conference-opening victory in the program's history. This Saturday will be the inaugural Big West home game of the 2009 season; the Matadors have a 19-6-3 in Big West home-opening games, a mark the team would like to improve upon against UC Irvine, the defending Big West champions. 


Cal State Fullerton and UC Irvine, this week's opponents, are two programs that the Matadors have earned a high level of success against during the last few years. Even though CSUN holds a modest 14-12-2 record against the Titans, and 16-12-4 mark against the Anteaters, a majority of wins against each respective team has taken place during the last five years. When they travel to Titan Stadium on Wednesday, the Matadors will also bring with them both an eight-game win streak and nine-game unbeaten streak that began on November 6, 1994 with CSUN's 3-0 victory at Matador Field. Even though the Anteaters defeated Northridge in their previous meeting that took place last season it was only the second time in the last seven games that UCI emerged victorious, and only the third time in the last six years that CSUN was defeated by UCI as the Matadors have won nine of the last thirteen matches between the two, and a 9-2-2 mark against the `Eaters since 2002.


CSUN's inaugural home game of the 2009 season against Loyola Marymount on September 6 was the first of eight regular-season home games scheduled to take place. The game was the eleventh home-opener for the Matadors under the tutelage of head coach Terry Davila who increased his overall record to 8-3-0 in home openers with the 1-0 win over the Lions.


For the third consecutive week, the Matadors have received votes in three of the four major national soccer polls this week. Northridge received a top-25 ranking in three polls including College Soccer News, Soccer Times and the NSCAA poll two weeks ago on September 21 and received votes in the three this week. The last time the Matadors received votes in three or more polls was on August 29, 2006, when they were in the top-25 after week one in all four major national polls (CSN, ST, NSCAA and Soccer America). Northridge has not received votes this deep into the regular season since November 1, 2005, when they concluded the year in the top-25 in each poll.


Having produced numbers that have increased in his first three seasons at Northridge, midfielder Sunghyun Kim has amassed 42 points on 15 goals and 12 assists throughout the first three seasons of his collegiate career. The senior from Los Angeles, Calif. has started in 53 of the 57 games he has competed in prior to this season, and is the only senior in the entire conference who has earned All-Big West honors during his first three seasons as a student-athlete. In 2006 Kim was named to the Second Team as a freshman, received Honorable Mention honors his sophomore season, and followed that with a spot on the First Team last season. 


With two clutch goals during their two games played at the Prego Italian Express Tournament hosted by SMU, Dylan Riley was named Big West Conference Player of the Week, Most Valuable Player for the tournament and picked up a spot on the College Soccer News National Team of the Week. Riley's clutch goals helped the Matadors turn their trip to Dallas into a successful one as they finished as tournament champions once again.. His goal against Tulsa tied the score in the 75th minute and his score against SMU in the 69th minute proved to be the game-winner. On the season, the Matador senior is a perfect two for two on shot attempts, and his pair of goals is currently second-best on the team. With Riley grabbing all-conference player of the week honors, this marks the first time since 2005 when Willie Sims and Kevin Guppy earned player of the week honors, that two Matadors received Player of the Week accolades on back-to-back weeks. 


The Matadors crafted a five-game win streak before tying Denver at the Big West Challenge last week. This was the longest winning streak for CSUN since 2005, when the Matadors won six straight games. The longest winning streak in school history stands at eight games, a mark that was set 22 years ago during the 1987 season (October 21-December 5).


With their 2-1 victories over Tulsa and SMU at the Prego Italian Express Invitational, the Matadors claimed back-to-back tournament championships for the third time in the program's history (the team won the Matador Invitational on the weekend of September 11-13). Other teams who have claimed this feat are the 2005 team, they emerged as tournament champions in the Matador Soccer Invitational and adidas/Cal Legacy Classic (Berkeley, Calif). and the 2003 team who won both the Lobo Invitational (Albuquerque, N.M.) and UNLV/FILA Classic (Las Vegas, Nev.).


A goal scored by Cameron Sims in the eighth minute of their game against SMU  marked the first occasion this season that a Matador scored a goal in the first half as the other nine goals scored by the team took place after the 45 minute mark. 


Going into the season, the big question mark surrounding the team involved whomever was going to replace their previous record-setting goalkeeper. After ten games the Matadors have found their answer with a pair of talented young athletes that have combined to allow only ten goals, and currently sport a cumulative 1.00 goals against average. Sophomore goalkeeper Brandon Ibarra currently leads the league with a 0.75 GAA, while teammate Michael Abalos ranks #6 amongst conference `keepers with a 1.12 GAA.


Thanks to a 5-1-0 start to the 2009 season, the Matadors were ranked 24th in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) National Men's Soccer Rankings during the week of September 21-27. This was the first time the Matadors have been ranked in the NSCAA National Poll during the regular season since November 2005, when they finished the season ranked 14th in the nation. CSUN began the 2006 season ranked 19th in the NSCAA Preseason Poll, but did not return to the top-25 until that respective poll.


Last season, seniors Devin Deldo, Moy Gomez, and sophomore Rafael Garcia all missed a number of games due to injury. After each underwent grueling rehabilitation sessions throughout the off-season, all three student-athletes were directly involved on every goal scored by CSUN this season during their first three games (one exhibition, two regular season) played in 2009. In the Matadors' exhibition game against UNLV, Deldo ended up heading in the equalizing goal, while teammate Garcia netted the game-winning shot with just a few minutes left in regulation. Even though their goals will not count since they took place in an exhibition contest, the goal scored by Gomez in the Matadors' regular-season home-opener will go down in the record books as the first one scored by a Northridge player in 2009. 


In 2008, goalkeeper Brandon Ibarra served as a backup to the Big West Co-Goalkeeper of the Year. This season, Ibarra earned the starting spot as the Matadors' keeper, and in his second game as a member of the starting 11, the redshirt-sophomore picked up the first shutout of his career in front of his home fans in CSUN's 1-0 victory over Loyola Marymount. After waiting an entire season to earn his first shutout of his career, Ibarra had to only wait five more days to pick up his second as he helped the Matadors earn their second won of the season in a 2-0 effort over Fairleigh-Dickinson. Michael Abalos earned his first career shutout against Denver on September 25 at the Big West Challenge in a scoreless draw for the team's third shutout earned during their non-conference portion of the schedule.


In 2008, defenseman Matthew Chavez was the only true freshman to start a game for Coach Davila. Chavez played in 15 of the 17 matches, and was named to the starting line-up on ten of those 15 occasions. This season, freshman midfielder Rene Anguiano became the inaugural first-year player to earn a spot in the starting lineup against San Diego on the road and at home against both LMU and Fairleigh-Dickinson. Yuval Barak added his name to this exclusive list with his start in the Matadors' game against Milwaukee last Sunday. Although he redshirted the 2008 season, freshman Joe Franco has started in all eight games this season for Northridge in what will be his debut season on the field.


College Soccer News recently released their annual top-100 freshman to watch in 2009, with five Big West freshman receiving accolades from the publication. Out of the five, CSUN's own Luis Gil was amongst some of the most talented freshmen in the nation to watch. The native from Fillmore, Calif. will play midfield this season, and made his unofficial Matador debut against San Diego in the Matadors' season-opening game on September 1st.


Through ten games this season, the Matadors have outshot and drawn a higher amount of corner kicks than their opponents. So far in 2009, Northridge holds a 185-118 advantage in shots, and 13 more corner kicks than their opponents combined (58-45). Last season, the Matadors possessed  8-2-0 record whenever they took more shots than their opponents, and a 5-3-0 record when they drew more corner kicks. So far this season, the Matadors are 5-3-1 when outshooting their opponents and 4-2-0 when possessing the advantage in corner kicks.


Matador soccer fans can sign-up to receive the latest thoughts, opinions, and information from head coach Terry Davila via Twitter throughout the season at Cal State Northridge is also the only member of the Big West Conference, and one of the few across the nation that provide live post-game interviews for free on the Athletic Department's YouTube page. Fans can watch interviews with their favorite players and coaches at throughout the season.




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