#15 UCLA, UC Riverside Visit Matador Soccer Field This Week

Oct. 26, 2010

Matador Men's Soccer Notes 

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Wednesday, October 27, 7:00 p.m. PT
Cal State Northridge Matadors (2-11-2, 1-5-1 Big West) vs. #15 UCLA Bruins (10-4-1, 5-2 Pac-10)
Matador Soccer Field - Northridge, Calif.
GameTracker available at GoMatadors.com

Saturday, October 30, 7:00 p.m. PT
Cal State Northridge Matadors (2-11-2, 1-5-1 Big West) vs. UC Riverside Highlanders (4-9-1, 1-5-0 Big West)
Meredith Field at Harder Stadium - Santa Barbara, Calif.
GameTracker available at GoMatadors.com



NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - The Cal State Northridge Matadors will remain on-campus for games scheduled to take place this week when they face #15 UCLA this Wednesday evening and UC Riverside on Saturday. Both games will kick-off at 7:00 p.m.



With the Matadors coming to the end of their schedule, fans can follow all the action of both games this week on GameTracker. 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 UCLA Bruins and UC Riverside Highlanders.


The Matadors take their final break from Big West Conference action in order to host the cross-town rival UCLA Bruins at Matador Soccer Field this Wednesday. The Matadors currently own a streak against the Bruins, picking up points in each of the last four matches between the two sides. CSUN picked up its first ever victory over UCLA on September 27, 2007 by a score of 3-0 at Matador Soccer Field.

Currently second in the Pac-10 Conference, sitting one point behind the leader, California. They have three wins over ranked opponents this season, Washington, San Diego State and Cal. Competing in their penultimate non-conference game of the season, the Bruins will travel to Northridge in an attempt to defeat the Matadors for the first time since  2004. UCLA is winless at Matador Soccer Field as their last road win over CSUN took place at North Campus Stadium in 1999.

UCLA has goals scored by seven different players this season. The leader in points (17) and goals (6), Kelyn Rowe, is a true freshman in the midfield. He also leads the team in assists (5) and is a threat anywhere on the pitch. Redshirt junior goalkeeper Brian Rowe has posted seven shutouts in his 10 victories this season. The Bruins are looking to bounce back from an overtime loss at home to #12 Cal, and have not scored more than one goal in a match since Oct. 3 vs. Oregon State.


Competing in their only match-up of the season, the Cal State Northridge Matadors will face the UC Riverside Highlanders this Saturday evening at Matador Soccer Field. With both teams still mathematically in the hunt for one of the four available spots in the Big West Men’s Soccer Postseason Tournament, the three available points will be desperately needed by both sides. Depending on the events of the other conference games taking place that night, whoever ends up on the wrong side of the score will most likely be eliminated from postseason contention.

Earning their first Big West victory last Wednesday at Cal State Fullerton, the Highlanders will face UC Irvine at UCR Soccer Stadium before traveling to the Valley this Saturday. With the exception of the second-ever game between the two, CSUN has earned at least one point in the last 22 games, and bring with them a 16 game winning streak, including the last five consecutive games against the Highlanders, to Matador Soccer Field.

CSUN has never lost to Riverside in any of the 12 games that have taken place in Northridge; their only loss against Riverside took place in that second-ever match-up between the teams tha took place on October 21, 1981 in Riverside.


Junior midfielder Rafael Garcia and sophomore goalkeeper Michael Abalos are each competing at a level that ranks them near the top of a number of categories with their peers. For Garcia, his team-high five assists are the 61st-highest overall total, helping him also craft a 0.36 assists per game average that ranks him 77th out of all Division-I soccer players nationwide. Abalos’ currently averages 4.21 saves per game, ranking him 70th of all D-I goalkeepers in the country. 


Against Cal Poly on Oct. 6, 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.


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 on Oct. 9, the Matadors play six of their last nine games at Matador Soccer Field. 


The 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 and with under two minutes to play at UC Davis, CSUN would have earned points in all of their overtime games in 2010. Since joining the Big West in 2001, CSUN has played in 47 overtime games, and have failed to earn a point in only seven 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 the Cal State Fullerton Titans.


Led by freshman Sam Ball with three, seven different Matadors have found the back of the net in 2010, a list of names that includes three freshman - Ball, Gustavo Villalobos, and Alberto Rosas. Combined, the freshmen trio are responsible for 68 shots, 24 of which are on goal. With his assist against UC Irvine last Wednesday, junior Rafael Garcia leads the team with nine points, five assists, and 20 shots on goal. His 38 shots rank second on the team behind Villalobos (40). In total, 19 of the 22 players who have competed in 2010 have registered at least one shot this season. 


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 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 tied for sixth in the conference with 38 shots taken, trailing teammate Gustavo Villalobos who has 40 shots to his credit, the fourth-highest total in the Big West.. The redshirt freshman midfielder also sits in sixth place tie in shots per game with 2.67, trailing Garcia and his 2.71 shots per game average which ranks him fifth. With his assist earned against UC Irvine, Garcia now leads the team with five and sits in a tie for fourth in the conference in that category. Freshman forward Sam Ball remained in the top ten in goals per game with an average of 0.30, with goalkeeper Michael Abalos tied for the second-highest number of saves with 59 and fourth highest save per game average at 4.21.


With two additional conference 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 98-62-32 overall record (.594 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.


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.


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 12 shots and has capitalized on three out of five shots taken on goal. 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 on Oct. 2. 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. 


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 76 games played on-campus, CSUN possesses an overwhelming 50-18-8 record at home for a .711 winning percentage on their home turf.


With their 4-0 win over Air Force in late September, and 3-0 win at Cal State Fullerton on Oct. 2, 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).


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) with 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.


Known for creating a tough schedule year after year, the Matador coaching staff has 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.


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