Matadors Control Postseason Destiny in Final Games of the Season
Nov. 3, 2009
Wednesday, November 4: Matadors vs. Cal State Fullerton, 2:00 P.M. (Matador Field) - GameTracker
Saturday, November 7: Matadors at UC Irvine, 7:00 P.M. (Anteater Stadium) - GameTracker
LAST WEEK'S ACTION
Wednesday, October 28 at UC Santa Barbara, L, 0-2
Saturday, October 31 vs. UC Riverside, W, 4-1
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - The Cal State Northridge Matadors (8-7-2, 3-4-1 BWC) will fight for a spot in the Big West Tournament starting Wednesday when they take on the Cal State Fullerton Titans at Matador Field, followed by a match-up at the UC Irvine Anteaters in the final game of the regular season on Saturday. Prior to the final home match of the season, ten Matador seniors will be honored for their contributions they have brought to the men's soccer team.
THANK YOU SENIORS!
Wednesday's game against the Cal State Fullerton will be the final time that the 2009 Senior Class will compete at Matador Field in a regular season home game. Before kick-off, all ten seniors will be accompanied by their closest friends and family members when they are all honored for their accomplishments during their time on-campus. The ten individuals who will be recognized for their achievements are Chad Borak, Devin Deldo, Moy Gomez, Sunghuyn Kim,. Robert Pate, Milan Radovic, Dylan Riley, Ruben Rodriguez, Cameron Sims, and Luis Smith. Thank you very much seniors for all of your hard work, dedication, and discipline during your respective collegiate careers as you all have represented both the program, Athletic Department, and university in a first-class manner during your time on campus!
RESULTS FROM LAST WEEK
With the race for one of four available spots in the Big West Postseason Tournament heating up, the Cal State Northridge Matadors began last week on the road as they traveled to Harder Stadium to face the #4-ranked UC Santa Barbara Gauchos Wednesday evening. Having defeated the Gauchos earlier in the season, CSUN was looking for the season sweep against their rivals while strengthening their position within the upper-half of the conference standings. Even though the gauchos scored early in the game, CSUN continued to press the action and force the pace of play on their terms. Down 1-0 at the half, the Matadors came out firing throughout the second 45 minute session, outshooting the Gauchos 7-6. Unfortunately for CSUN, one of the six Gaucho shots found the back of the net to cement the victory for UCSB.
Knowing that anything less that three additional points in the standings were unacceptable, the Matadors returned home to face the UC Riverside Highlanders in the first game of CSUN's final homestand of the 2009 season. Robert Pate began the Matador scoring barrage when he scored his first goal of the game in the 22nd minute to give his team an early 1-0 lead. with just a few minutes remaining in the first half, the Highlanders lit up the scoreboard to tie the match at one going into the locker room at the half. That tie would be broken on Chad Borak's first goal of the season as he received a pin-point cross from Mattias Bonvehi to give the Matadors the lead once again. Daniel Yoon provided an insurance goal, his first of the season, only four minutes later before Cameron Sims capped off the CSUN scoring spree in the 67th minute to score his team-leading sixth goal of the year. Sunghyun Kim earned his team-high sixth assist on the play that led to Sims' goal as Mattias Bonvehi picked up an assist on the other three Matador goals to become the first player this decade to earn three assists in one game.
A CLOSER LOOK AT CAL STATE FULLERTON
With Cal State Fullerton, UC Davis, and the Matadors locked in a three-way tie for fourth place going into Wednesday's schedule of games, the Matadors will be competing in a de facto elimination game against the Cal State Fullerton Titans Wednesday afternoon. The winner of this contest will have the inside track in securing one of the four available spots in the Second Annual Big West Men's Soccer Postseason Tournament, while the losing team will have the playoff hopes severely damaged, if not completely eradicated based upon the end results fo the three conference games taking place during the day. Having been defeated by the Titans earlier in the season by a score of 2-1 in overtime, CSUN will not only be looking for revenge in their game against Fullerton, but look to knock their opponents out of the playoff picture as well. Looking to prevent this from taking place, and leading the way for Fullerton are junior forward Celso Alvarez and his team-high five goals and sophomore goalkeeper Trevor Whiddon (1.35 GAA, 63 saves). The Matador backline will face a solid challenge Wednesday afternoon as eleven different Titans have scored a goal this season for Head Coach Bob Ammann. Prior to their loss earlier this season the Matadors possessed an eight-game win streak against the Titans, a successful string of games that Northridge would like to replicate once again.
Series History: Northridge leads 14-13-2
Home: 7-5-1 Away: 7-8-1 Neutral: 0-0-0
Last Home Meeting: 10/18/08 - Matadors 3, Cal State Fullerton 2 (2OT)
Last Away Meeting: 10/7/09 - Matadors 1, Cal State Fullerton 2 (OT)
A CLOSER LOOK AT UC IRVINE
The Matadors will end the 2009 season on the road against the UC Irvine Anteaters this Saturday evening in a game with playoff ramifications at stake. Entering the final week of the season, Irvine occupied third place in the conference standings, having already clinched their spot in the Big West Tournament. Depending on the outcome of Wednesday's game against the Cal State Fullerton Titans, the Matadors may be ina position to secure at least one point, if not three to punch their ticket into the postseason.
The two teams faced one another earlier in the season at Matador Field, with the Anteaters emerging with a 3-0 victory. With a team-high nine goals, junior forward Amani Walker is one of eight different players who have scored for Irvine this season. With nearly twice as many shots taken (63) than any of his teammates, look for Walker to test Matador goalkeeper Michael Abalos or Brandon Ibarra early and often. Last season it was the Anteaters who prevented CSUN from making the Big West Tournament on the Matadors' home pitch, on Irvine's Senior Day this Saturday evening it is the Matadors who are looking to be the team to dampen the night's festivities on their opponent's home turf.
Series History: Northridge leads 16-13-4
Home: 9-7-0, Away: 7-6-4, Neutral: 0-0-0
Last Home Meeting: 10/10/09 - Matadors 0, UC Irvine 3
Last Away Meeting: 10/15/08 - Matadors 0, UC Irvine 0 (2OT)
THE FINAL FOUR
With the Second Annual Big West Men's Soccer Postseason Tournament beginning next Wednesday, November 11, the field is almost set as UC Santa Barbara, Cal Poly and UC Irvine have secured spots in the second edition of the annual tourney. Cal State Fullerton, Cal State Northridge and UC Davis all have shots at the fourth position and Wednesday's matchups will go a long way toward determining who the fourth participant will be. The three teams that have clinched all made the inaugural tournament a year ago, while the fourth slot was occupied by UCD.
Opposing teams have to account for a multitude of stars in the Big West, but none sprays the goal with shots as regularly as Cameron Sims. He leads the conference in shots with 68, 35 of which have come in the Matadors' eight conference games. With 4-5 possible games to go in the '09 season, Sims has a good chance to crack the top five in single-season shots in Big West history, and has already set a single-season career high with his six goals scored already this season.
In the Matadors' previous game against UC Riverside, sophomore forward Mattias Bonvehi earned one of the rarest feats in soccer as he earned a hat trick of assists, including the game-winning assist. Going into last Saturday's game against the Highlanders Bonvehi had only one assist in his first season as a Matador, now he is the only player this decade to earn three assists in a game, and earned the most assists in one game since Federico Arroyo earned four assists against Vanguard on September 1, 1999.
Used to determine a team's strength of schedule and taken into consideration when determining at-large bids for the College Cup tournament. Last week, the Matadors ranked 70th in the nation out of 204 Division-I Men's Soccer Teams and third amongst Big West Conference teams. Ahead of Northridge are UC Irvine (38) and UC Santa Barbara (48), trailing CSUN are Cal State Fullerton (84), Cal Poly (89), UC Davis (100) and UC Riverside (171).
READY FOR ACTION
Last season current sophomore Matthew Chavez was the lone freshman to participate in every game for the Matadors. This season redshirt-freshman defender Joe Franco and freshman midfielder Rene Anguiano are the lone pair of newcomers to have seen action in all 15 games so far this season.
This season, the Matadors have two solid goalkeeping options to choose from in Brandon Ibarra and Michael Abalos. Abalos currently has three shutouts under his belt, while his teammate Ibarra has two of his own. Combined they would have the third-highest number of shutouts amongst their conference peers, individually Abalos is tied for the third-highest mark while Ibarra has the sixth-highest number of clean sheets this season.
ONE OF KIND ... LITERALLY
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.
MAKING THE MOST OF A FIRST IMPRESSION
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.
NO PLACE LIKE HOME
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.
DID YOU MISS US?
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.
THE INSIDE SCOOP
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 http://twitter.com/CSUNMensSoccer. 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 http://www.youtube.com/northridgeathletics throughout the season.