Matadors Within Striking Distance Of First Place

Oct. 21, 2008

Matador Men's Soccer Notes Get Acrobat Reader

UPCOMING GAMES

Wednesday, October 22 at UC Davis, 3:00 p.m. (Aggie Stadium)

Saturday, October 29 vs. Cal Poly, 2:30 p.m. (Matador Field)

RESULTS FROM LAST WEEK

Wednesday, October 15 at #19 UC Irvine, T, 1-1 (2OT)

Saturday. October 22 vs. Cal State Fullerton, W, 3-2 (2OT)

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Fresh from their come-from-behind victory against the Cal State Fullerton Titans this past Saturday, the Matadors (6-4-3, 2-0-2 BWC) hit the road for their first game of the week as they head north to face the #10-ranked UC Davis Aggies (11-2-2, 3-1-2 BWC).

"Whenever we play ranked teams, it is always an honor to go to their house. Playing a solid game, against a solid team, shows that we have what it takes to compete with anyone. I think this will be a great opportunity to go to their place (Davis) and battle for first place in the Big West," stated Matadors defenseman Nicholas Hamilton.

With three wins and 11 points, the Aggies sit atop the Big West standings only three points ahead of the fourth-place Matadors.

Soccer purists will witness two of the best goalkeepers in the nation face one another, as Aggie netminder Ryan McCowan will face Matadors senior Kevin Guppy for the third time in their respective careers.

Both players reside in the upper eschelon of a variety of goalkeeper-specific statistics; Guppy leads the conference with his .812 save percentage, and possesses the second-lowest goals against average and second-highest number of shutouts earned this season trailing only McCowan in each of those categories. With Guppy collecting nine more saves than McCowan so far this season, other Big West goaltenders need to consistently perform at a near-flawless level to earn individual accolades of their own.

Both teams have performed phenomenally on the defensive half of the field, and have allowed their opponents to only score 12 goals against them this season.

Fresh from his two-goal performance in his previous game against Cal State Fullerton, Matador forward Camilo Rojas, and midfielder Sunghyun Kim (3g, 4a) will both look to to mix it up with the Aggie defenders and test McCowan whenever possible.

Matador defensemen Robert Pate (4 a) and Dylan Riley (3 a) will also play key roles on both sides of the field on Wednesday as their aggressive style of play is well-suited to transform mistakes made by their opposition into scoring opportunities for their teammates.

For the Matadors to leave Aggie Field with a victory, they will need to neutralize the scoring prowess of Aggie forward Quincy Amarikwa. His 13 goals scored so far this season are the most of any player in the Big West, and nearly matches the offensive production of the rest of his teammates combined.

"Davis is one of the top-ranked teams in the nation, it will be no easy task taking them on in front of their own home crowd," echoed Hamilton.

Having already faced a number of first-rate players from such nationally ranked programs as Creighton, UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbara, and UCLA, the Matador defense is well prepared and ready to face their latest challenge.

"Games against UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbara, and UCLA were great in preparing us for what we are going to face up in Davis," said Hamilton. "Playing games away from home is tough, but I think we have played pretty well on the road so far this season."

Matador fans can go visit gomatadors.com to follow all of the action tomorrow on Gametracker once the game kicks-off at 3:00 p.m.

Northridge returns to Matador Field this Saturday, October 25th in search of their fifth straight home victory against the Cal Poly Mustangs. Kick-off will take place at 2:30 p.m.