Oct. 12, 2010
Wednesday, October 13, 7:00 p.m. PT
Cal State Northridge Matadors (2-7-2, 1-1-1 Big West) vs. Cal State Fullerton (3-6-2, 2-2 Big West)
Matador Soccer Field - Northridge, Calif.
GameTracker and live audio (CSUF Feed) available at GoMatadors.com
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - With the midway point of the conference schedule approaching, the Cal State Northridge Matadors will wrap up their season series at home against Cal State Fullerton this Wednesday, and at UC Davis this Saturday evening. Kick-off for both games is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.
FOLLOW THE MATADORS ONLINE THIS WEEKEND
Matador men's soccer fans can follow all the action of both games this week on GameTracker, and Wednesday's game on an internet radio broadcast feed that both schools will share with one another. Visit GoMatadors.com and click on the `GT' logo located on the calendar section of the main page, or on the men's soccer schedule link to find the latest in-game information against both the Cal State Fullerton Titans and UC Davis Aggies.
A CLOSER LOOK AT CAL STATE FULLERTON
Wednesday's match against Cal State Fullerton will end the 2010 season series between the teams as they faced one another in CSUN's conference-opener on October 2nd in Fullerton. Leaving Titan Stadium with a 3-0 win thanks to two goals by Gustavo Villalobos and another scored by Rene Anguiano, the Matadors won their first conference game of 2010.
Currently in third place in the Big West with six points, another victory over the Titans will propel CSUN into a possible tie for third place depending on how Cal Poly fares against UC Santa Barbara Tuesday evening. If history is any indication, the numbers favor Cal State Northridge as the Matadors have only lost one match in the last 12 games between the two, and only four out of the 19 match-ups that have taken place since Northridge joined the Big West in 2001. Having won 14 games against the Titans since their inaugural Big West match-up in `01, the fans at Matador Soccer Field this Wednesday hope to witness win #15 as both squads reach the half-way point of their respective Big West schedules.
Junior forward Nick Posthuma and junior midfielder Kevin Venegas lead the Titans in scoring with four and three goals respectively; Venegas has scored all but one of the game-winning goals for Fullerton this season.
A CLOSER LOOK AT UC DAVIS
In a unique scheduling quirk, the Matadors and UC Davis Aggies will face each other twice within an eight-day timespan and complete their respective season series this Saturday evening in Davis. Competing in the second-ever night match held at Aggie Stadium, a facility used primarily by the Aggie football and women's field hockey teams prior to this season, the Matadors will look for a split of their two games against Davis in 2010 as the Aggies left Matador Soccer Field with a 1-0 victory and three points last Saturday.
Looking for their first victory in Davis since the 2005 season, CSUN will look to change their fortunes in Northern California this weekend as a win will help them hold onto a spot within the top of the Big West standings as only the top four teams will advance to the Conference Postseason Tournament. After their match in Davis concludes, CSUN will have officially reached the half-way point of their conference schedule as three of their last five games will take place against the top two teams in the Big West (as of the posting of this release).
With goalkeeper Omar Zeenni earning two of the Aggies' three victories this season, including one against Northridge last weekend, CSUN can expect the true freshman to return to goal for the return match as well. In the three games Zeenni has appeared in, he has only allowed three goals, made nine saves, and currently sports a 0.92 goals against average.
HE GOT HIS KICKS WITH SIX
Against Cal Poly last Wednesday, junior midfielder Rafael Garcia not only scored the two CSUN goals to help them earn a point in the standings, but took a total of six shots that were all on goal. Since joining the Big West in 2001, no Matador had ever registered that many shots on goal in one game. On three occasions during his career at Northridge, Matador great Willie Sims recorded five shots on goal (September 10, 2004 vs. American, October 9, 2004 at UC Irvine, and September 17, 2005 vs. UNLV), as did current men's soccer assistant coach Yossi Raz in a home game against Denver on October 6, 2002. Prior to last Wednesday's game, both Sims and Raz help the team record for most shots on goal in one game before Garcia's eye-opening performance in San Luis Obispo took place.
HOME SWEET HOME
Having recently completed a portion of their schedule that included eight out of nine games on the road, the Cal State Northridge Matadors will now face a home-heavy schedule of games from now until the end of the season. Starting with their match against UC Davis last Saturday, the Matadors will play six of their last nine games at Matador Soccer Field.
YOU CANNOT SPELL POINTS WITHOUT THE LETTERS 'O' AND 'T'
Last Wednesday's overtime match at Cal Poly was the third time this season that CSUN needed extra time to secure a decision this season. Like their game against Washington earlier in the season, the Matador-Mustangs match ended in a tie. Were it not for an unlucky goal scored with only 88 seconds left in the second overtime in their game at San Francisco, CSUN would have earned points in all of their overtime games in 2010. Since joining the Big West in 2001, CSUN has played in 46 overtime games, and have failed to earn a point in only six of those matches. The last time Northridge won a game in overtime took place in 2009 when CSUN scored the golden goal in overtime against this Wednesday's opponent, the Cal State Fullerton Titans.
RED AND BLACK ATTACK
Led by freshman Sam Ball with three, seven different Matadors have found the back of the net in 2010, list of names that includes three freshman - Ball, Gustavo Villalobos, and Alberto Rosas. Combined, the freshmen trio are responsible for 44 shots, 16 of which are on goal. Buoyed by his two-goal effort at Cal Poly last Wednesday, junior Rafael Garcia leads the team with seven points, three assists, 31 shots, and 18 shots on goal. In total, 18 of the 22 players who have competed in 2010 have registered at least one shot this season.
A THREE POINTER IN SOCCER?
With his two goals and an assist earned in CSUN's Big West opener at Cal State Fullerton, Gustavo Villalobos became just the second Matador in the last four seasons to score a goal and earn an assist in the same match. Prior to his five point effort against the Titans (two goals, one assist) former All-Big West midfielder Sunghyun Kim was the last Matador to accomplish the feat in CSUN's 3-0 season finale (and playoff clinching win) at UC Irvine last season.
Despite being held to only three goals scored during their first seven games of the season, the Northridge offense is starting to click and its timing could not have been better. Prior to their game against UC Davis, the Matadors scored a total of nine goals in a three-game stretch, tripling their offensive output of a majority of their non-conference schedule. That nine-goal scoring spree was the highest number of goals scored within a three game period since the 2006 season when CSUN scored the same amount of goals in a three-game stretch against UC Santa Barbara, UC Davis, and Cal State Fullerton.
Despite some tough outcomes early in the season, a number of Matadors are continuing to make their mark within the Big West and have found themselves ranked in the top ten in various statistical categories. Senior midfielder Rafael Garcia, who serves as a captain on the squad, is currently fourth in the conference for shots taken with 31. Redshirt freshman midfielder Gustavo Villalobos sits ninth in shots per game with 2.27. With his assist earned at Fullerton, Garcia now leads the team with three and sits in a tie for eighth in the conference in that category. Freshman forward Sam Ball remained in the top ten in points per game with an average of 0.86. After scoring against Air Force, Ball leaped to a tie for seventh in the conference in goals scored with three. Shutouts against Washington and Air Force have goalkeeper Michael Abalos tied for fourth with two, the sophomore `keeper leads a trio of Matador netminders who have carved a 1.46 goals against average, the third lowest total in the conference behind UC Irvine and UC Santa Barbara who have only allowed four and seven goals respectively to their opponents this season.
WELCOME TO THE CENTURY CLUB
With two additional victories, head coach Terry Davila will become the fifth coach in Big West history to win 100 games 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 98-60-32 overall record (.600 pct.). With his victory over Cal State Fullerton on October 2nd, Davila became just the third head coach to win 50 or more Big West Conference matches.
AND THEY'RE OFF...
The Matadors are now 19-7-4 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 defeated to open the Big West season 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 taken only 11 shots and has capitalized on three out of five shots taken on goal. Ball is currently fourth in the conference with an average of 0.44 goals per game, the only freshman in the entire conference who ranks within the top five in that category. Gustavo Villalobos is also making a name for himself amongst the Matador faithful as the redshirt freshman had a career day with two goals and an assist en route to a five point performance at Cal State Fullerton last weekend. His five points were the most recorded in a game for the Matadors since Willie Sims tallied six with three goals against UNLV on September 17, 2005.. He is also the first freshman to score multiple goals in a game since teammate Camilo Rojas did it against Detroit (August 31, 2007) three seasons ago.
CSUN'S HOUSE OF HORRORS (FOR OPPONENTS)
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 74 games played on-campus, CSUN possesses an overwhelming 50-16-8 record at home for a .730 winning percentage on their home turf.
LIGHT UP THE SCOREBOARD
With their 4-0 win over Air Force in late September, and 3-0 win at Cal State Fullerton last Saturday, the Cal State Northridge Matadors scored three or more goals in consecutive games for the first time since the 2008 season when Northridge put three in the back of the net in consecutive road games at UC Riverside (11/1/08) and Cal State Fullerton (11/5/08)
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 eighth place with Zoltan Nagy (1995) and Mike Littman (1989) with his nine career victories, is fifth all-time with his 1.17 career goals against average, and is now tied for seventh all-time with Mike Caputo (1985-87) and his seven 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.
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).
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.