Northridge Heads to Lone Star State for Contests with Big 12’s Baylor and Texas

Weekly Notes

Matadors Travel to Face Bears, Longhorns in Texas

The Cal State Northridge women's soccer team (0-1) takes its first road trip of the 2011 season this week when its heads to Texas to square off against a pair of opponents from the Big 12 Conference. On Aug. 26, Northridge faces Baylor for the second time in school history. Two days later, the Matadors make the journey to Texas' state capital to face the University of Texas.

In their first action of the season, the Matadors lost 2-0 to No. 9 UCLA in both teams' season opener. Freshman Leandra Walker had CSUN's best chance of the contest, forcing a Bruin save from within six yards midway through the first half. In goal, Cynthia Jacobo kept things respectable by making four saves.

In the Bears and Longhorns, the Matadors get another pair of challenging opponents. The Bears are 1-0-1 on the season, having picked up a win against Sam Houston State and tying Nebraska in Lincoln. Four different Baylor players have struck paydirt thus far and Courtney Seelhorst has played all 200 minutes in net with only one goal allowed.

Texas enters the week with a 1-1 record after defeating Houston on Aug. 22. The Longhorns dropped their season opener at home to Loyola Marymount and also face Georgia on Aug. 26 before hosting the Matadors in Austin. Three different UT players scored in the wins over the Cougars and Alexa Gaul has played all 180 minutes in goal.

Next week, CSUN returns home for a pair of non-conference contests sandwiched around a men's soccer tournament at CSUN. On Friday, Sept. 2, New Mexico comes to Matador Soccer Field for a 7 p.m. contest. Two days later, the Ivy League's Princeton comes to the San Fernando Valley for a 1 p.m. matinee.

Scheduling Story

CSUN faces a formidable schedule in the 2011 season, featuring several prominent fixtures at home throughout the course of the year. Among the non-conference slate, NCAA perennial powers UCLA, New Mexico, Portland and San Diego all come calling to Matador Soccer Field. On the road, the Matadors take a trip to the Lone Star State to face Baylor and Texas and then head to Indiana for a tournament at Purdue where they'll face the host Boilermakers and either Kansas or Dayton. In league action, CSUN will host four of the top five teams from the 2011 Big West Coaches' Poll, including 2010 NCAA Tournament participants UC Irvine and Long Beach State. Senior Day festivities will be focused around a match with CSU Bakersfield on Oct. 30.

Brie all that you can Brie

Senior Brielle Slepicoff enters her final season at CSUN hoping to duplicate the success she found in the 2010 season. Slepicoff, one of the team's fastest players, earned All-Big West First Team and NSCAA All-West Region Second Team honors for her work on the defensive back line in 2010. She was also recognized for her work in the classroom, receiving NSCAA Academic All-West Region First Team honors as a biology major. After compiling a goal and an assist in 2010, Slepicoff now has two goals, six assists and 10 points for her career.

Jacobo & Myers

Junior Cynthia Jacobo enters her third season with the Matadors in 2011. In her first two seasons, Jacobo has amassed a 16-10 record with 12 shutouts, 120 saves and a 0.89 goals-against-average. She has earned All-Big West Second Team honors following each of the last two seasons and was Big West Freshman of the Year in 2009. Jacobo appears to save her best for the conference portion of the schedule, carrying a 10-3 record with nine shutouts and a 0.38 goals-against-average against league opposition in the regular season. During the 2010 season, she finished 11-9 with a 1.07 GAA and 92 saves in 1,844 minutes of action. In school history, she ranks third in wins, tied for fifth in saves, second in shutouts and owns the best GAA.

Fernandez Finds Finishing Form

Junior Melissa Fernandez earned All-Big West Honorable Mention honors in 2010 after finishing the season with a goal and a team-high five assists. She recorded her first collegiate goal in dramatic fashion, collecting the game-winning goal in the Matadors' 2-1 victory over UC Davis. Orignally from Granada Hills, Calif., Fernandez corralled a cross from Amanda Smith and buried the ball past the Aggies' goalkeeper in the 65th minute. She finished the season with 33 shots, putting 19 on target, and has six career assists.

We Interrupt this Jets-Raiders Game...

Senior Heidi Farran is the team's top goal scorer, having tallied five strikes during her career at Northridge. She earned All-Big West Honorable Mention honors following a four-goal, nine-point season in 2010. Last year, she recorded just one goal, a measure in the Matadors' regular season loss at Long Beach State.

Head Coach Keith West

Keith West starts his sixth year as the head coach of the Northridge women's soccer team in 2011. Building on the momentum generated in 2009, the 2010 season represented a successful campaign for West and the Matadors. The team tied a school record with 12 victories and posted a 5-3 mark in league play to qualify for the Big West Tournament for the second-straight year. The squad also posted an 8-2 mark at home as Matador Soccer Field debuted its new lighting system in an Aug. 22 match against Portland. Following the season, six Matadors were named to the All-Big West Team and Brielle Slepicoff (Second Team) and Farryn Townley (Third Team) earned NSCAA All-West Region honors. Townley also left school as the program's all-time leader in goals (22), points (48) and matches played (80).

The 2009 season represented one of the most accomplished seasons in Matador history. With West at the helm, the Matadors posted a 10-10 overall record and a 6-2 mark in the Big West. By finishing second in the league standings, Northridge hosted its first playoff game in school history, a 2-1 loss to UC Santa Barbara on Nov. 5. Individually, West saw five Matadors honored by the league coaches, including First Team honors for Farryn Townley and Big West Freshman of the Year honors for Cynthia Jacobo. For his work in the historic season, West was named the 2009 Big West Coach of the Year.

The Matadors finished 8-9-2 in the 2008 season, including a 3-4-1 record against Big West opponents. Northridge started the campaign with a school-record four-straight victories. CSUN also recorded the 100th victory in the program's history with a 2-0 defeat of UC Davis on Oct. 17. In all, 11 different players scored goals for CSUN during the year and seniors Tryna Tafoya and Nalena Betancourt received All-Big West honors following the season.

In 2007, West's Matadors finished 5-10-3 overall, but 3-1-2 over their last six games and 2-4-2 against Big West Conference opponents, including a 1-0 victory over UC Santa Barbara. The victory over the Gauchos was CSUN's first since 2001. Following the season, seniors Susie Mischenko and Kristy Krohn earned All-Big West honors, with Mischenko receiving All-Big West First Team recognition for the second-consecutive season.

In his first season as the head coach, West guided the Matadors to a 10-9-0 overall record and a fifth-place finish in the Big West Conference in 2006. West had two players receive All-Big West honors, as Susie Mischenko earned first team accolades and Sara Davis was named honorable mention.

West was named head coach on Mar. 14, 2006, becoming the fifth head coach in the history of the program. West previously worked with the women's team for two years as an assistant under Terry Davila and helped guide the Matadors to a pair of double-digit win totals. In 2004, Northridge equaled school records in wins (12) and conference victories (6) in earning its first trip to the Big West Tournament. In 2005, the Matadors posted an 11-8-0 record, setting a school mark with a nine-match win streak in tying for fourth in one of the toughest conference's in the nation. West has been a part of the Cal State Northridge soccer coaching staff since 1999 when he was an assistant on the men's team. His coaching days began in 1996 when he served as a graduated assistant on coach Marwan Ass'ad's staff.

As the men's defensive coach for seven seasons, West helped the Matadors to four straight trips (2002-05) to the NCAA Division I Tournament thanks to a defense that has been ranked as one of the nation's toughest over the last four seasons. Northridge finished with a goals against average of 0.88 last season and posted 11 shutouts. Three Matador defenders earned All-Big West Conference honors, with Sean Franklin earning first-team honors, Matt Tracy receiving second-team accolades and Derek Hanks being named to the honorable mention team. A total of 10 Northridge defenders were named all-conference from 2002-05, including back-to-back Big West Defensive Player of the Year Edwin Miranda.

West spent seven years as the assistant coach of Harvard-Westlake High School's varsity girls' soccer team. In addition, he served as the head coach of the boys' Valley United Soccer Club for four years and the girls' Valley United Soccer Club for one season. West coached the West Valley Samba squad that won the Dallas Cup tournament in 2002.

Much of West's success as a coach comes from lessons learned on the field as a three-year letterman with the Matadors from 1993-95. He led the western region and finished third in the nation in scoring as a senior after collecting an amazing 20 goals and 49 total points. In addition to his Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Player of the Year award, West garnered second team All-Far West Region honors in 1995. Recently, West was named to the MPSF 15th Anniversary Team.

As a high school athlete at Kennedy High School, West accumulated many accolades, including his selection as City Player of the Year after his junior season.

West, who graduated from CSUN in the spring of 2003 with a bachelor's degree in Finance/Real Estate, was born on Feb. 5, 1973 and currently resides in Granada Hills. He and his wife, Eva, have a son, Cameron Anders, and welcomed their daughter, Kylee Elle, into the world on May 14, 2011.

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