CSUN Hosts Cal State Fullerton, UC Riverside in Pivotal Big West Contests

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Titans, Highlanders Next Up for Matadors in League Campaign

The Cal State Northridge women's soccer team (4-3-4, 1-0 Big West) hosts a pair of Big West Conference matches this weekend at Matador Soccer Field. On Friday, Oct. 5, the Matadors face the Cal State Fullerton Titans. Two days later, CSUN hosts UC Riverside at 5 p.m. Both contests will feature live stats and an Internet-only radio broadcast available at GoMatadors.com. 

CSUN split its two matches last week, earning a 1-1 draw at nationally ranked Portland before downing Hawai'i 2-0 in it's Big West Conference opener. Against the Pilots, the Matadors pressed throughout the contest and finished with 13 shots. Portland was credited for both goals, scoring on CSUN in 65th and then putting one in its own net in the 67th to conclude the game's scoring. 

Against Hawai'i, Northridge wasted little time acclimating itself to Big West play by scoring roughly 90 seconds into the match. Melissa Fernandez recovered a loose ball in the 18-yard box and fired a shot on goal. The rebound spilled to Nicole Cruz who buried the ball into the netting for her first goal of the season. Fernandez added her second goal of the season in the second half, cleaning up the rebound of a shot from Brittanie Sakajian. Fernandez now leads the team with eight points (2 goals, 4 assists) and has set the school record for career shots. 

This week brings a pair of challenges to Matador Soccer Field in the form on Cal State Fullerton and UC Riverside. The Titans are coming off a 2-1 home upset over Long Beach State and carry a 4-7 record into the contest. Stacey Fox, a senior from Simi Valley, Calif., whose older sister Katie played at CSUN, leads the squad with 10 points. She is tied with Ann Marie Tangorra and Christina Burkenroad for the team lead with four goals. In net, Lindsey Maricic has seen the majority of minutes and she started both league contests last week. For the year, Maricic is 3-3 with a 1.33 goals-against-average, 21 saves, a .724 save percentage and two shutouts. 

On Sunday evening, UC Riverside comes calling to Northridge with a 5-6-2 overall record and a 0-2 mark in Big West play. Celina Valencia leads the team with eight points and is tied for the team lead in goals with three with Crystal Lopez. Four other Highlanders have scored two goals and three others have a score on the season. In net, Jessica White has seen the majority of minutes and is 5-6-2 on the season. She carries a 1.62 GAA and a .744 save percentage into the weekend. UCR will first play at Hawai'i before coming to the San Fernando Valley. 

Jacobo & Myers  

Senior Cynthia Jacobo is one of 30 candidates for the Senior CLASS Award, one of the most prestigious honors in NCAA Division I athletics. She is believed to be the first nominee in school history to make the initial list of candidates. She earned her third Big West Defensive Player of the Week award in 2012 after helping lead CSUN to a draw at Portland and a 2-0 victory over Hawai'i in the Big West opener. The shutout over UH was the 21st of Jacobo's career, moving her into the Big West's Career Top 10. She received her second weekly award after posting 26 saves in draws with Tennessee and USC. She topped an 11-save performance against the Lady Vols by finishing with 15 saves, one off the school record, in a 1-1 draw with USC. Jacobo also earned Big West Conference Defensive Player of the Week honors after helping lead CSUN to a pair of shutout victories in the 2012 season's opening weekend. Through 11 matches in 2012, she is 4-3-4 with a 0.58 goals-against-average, 67 saves and a .905 save percentage. For her career, Jacobo ranks second in school history with 26 wins, second with 21 career shutouts and third with 243 career saves. Jacobo appears to save her best for the conference portion of the schedule, carrying a 15-6-1 (.705) record with 13 shutouts against league opposition in the regular season.

Fernandez Finds Finishing Form

Senior Melissa Fernandez had a goal and an assist in the Matadors' 2-0 victory over Hawai'i, the team's first 3-point performance of the season. She now stands in second place in school history with the 14 career helpers. Fernandez picked up her third assist of the season and 13th of her career in the Matadors' 1-1 draw with USC. She scored the Matadors' goal in its 1-1 draw with Fresno State, the sixth goal of her career and picked up a pair of assists in the Matadors' first two contests of 2012. Among Big West players in 2012, Fernandez ranks in the Top 10 in shots, assists and points. For her career, Fernandez has seven goals, 14 assists and 28 points, which ties her for eighth in school history. She also has 135 career shots, the most in school history. 

Sakajian's Saga

Sophomore Brittanie Sakajian picked up her second assist of the season in the Matadors' victory over Hawai'i. She recorded her first goal of the season in the 1-1 draw with USC, breaking a scoreless tie in the 71st minute. She headed home a cross from senior Stephanie Norton for her fifth career goal. Sakajian made a spirited return to the pitch in the Matadors' 1-1 draw with Fresno State, her first action with the squad in over a year. Against the Bulldogs, Sakajian not only earned the starting nod but picked up an assist on Melissa Fernandez's goal in the 52nd minute. Sakajian returns to the squad after missing all of the 2011 season with a knee injury. In her freshman season (2010), Sakajian recorded four goals, two assists and 10 points. 

Cruz Control

Senior Nicole Cruz scored her first goal of the season in the Matadors' 2-0 victory over Hawai'i. After Melissa Fernandez's shot was saved, Cruz buried the rebound into the open net for her third career strike. In 2011, Cruz tallied her the first two goals of her career, scoring at LMU and recording the game winner against UC Santa Barbara. 

One of these Days Norton ... 

Senior Stephanie Norton recorded her team-leading fourth assist of the season in the Matadors' 1-1 draw with USC. She added her third assist of the season, setting up Cori Deason's goal in the Matadors' 1-0 victory over Michigan. With four helpers in 2012, Norton has already set a single-season career high and is tied for third in the conference. She picked up a pair of assists in the Matadors' two victories during the opening weekend of the 2012 season, earning College Sports Madness Big West Conference Player of the Week honors. She was also named one of the CollegeSoccer360.com Week-1 Primetime Players for her efforts. Both helpers came in Northridge's first-ever victory at San Diego. She now has six career assists after picking up two helpers in the 2011 season. 

Tis The Deason

Redshirt freshman Cori Deason recorded her first career goal in dramatic fashion by helping lift CSUN to a 1-0 victory over Michigan. In the 79th minute of the contest, Deason collected a lob from Stephanie Norton and one-timed the ball past the Wolverine goalkeeper into the cage. Thus far in 2012, she has appeared in nine matches and has two shots. 

Stephanie's Senior Season Celebration 

Senior Stephanie Galarze earned Big West Conference Offensive Player of the Week honors after scoring a pair of goals in CSUN's two victories during the opening weekend of the 2012 season. In the season-opener against Arizona State, Galarze chipped a ball past the Sun Devil goalkeeper for her second career goal and second career game-winning strike. Two days later, Galarze capped off a 3-0 victory at San Diego with the game's third goal. She is tied for second on the team with four points on the season.  

Old McDaniel Had a Farm 

Junior Chloe McDaniel will be counted upon once again to play a prominent role for the Matadors. In 2011, McDaniel posted her first career goal and assist as she appeared in all 19 matches for the Matadors. Her first career goal came in a 2-2 draw at Purdue and her assist helped CSUN topple Long Beach State. 

Sister Act

Junior Amanda Smith scored her first career goal, which stood as the game winner, in the Matadors' 3-0 victory at San Diego. Off a feed from Stephanie Norton, Smith chipped the ball over the Torero goalkeeper in the 18th minute. Smith has fired off 12 shots through seven matches in 2012 and has put six of those attempts on frame. In 2011, she tied for the team lead with four assists. For her career, Smith now has a goal, six assists and eight points. Her sister is No. 23 Amilee Smith, a sophomore midfielder.

It's Miller Time

Senior Marisa Miller added her first assist of the season on Melissa Fernandez's goal in CSUN's 1-1 draw with Fresno State. She now has three career assists, all of which have come in the last two seasons. Miller found the back of the net in CSUN's exhibition at LMU when she buried a cross from Amanda Smith. A team captain in 2012, Miller scored the first goal of her collegiate career in the Matadors' 3-0 victory over CSU Bakersfield near the end of the 2011 campaign. In her junior season, Miller appeared in 14 matches while recording seven shots and one assist. The assist, the second helper of her career, came in the Matadors' victory over Princeton. 

Russ to the Rescue

Senior Katie Russ was named to the Preseason All-Big West Team by the league's coaches prior to the start of the 2012 season. In 2011, Russ earned All-Big West Second Team honors after anchoring the Matadors' defensive line for the third-straight season. Russ picked up her first assist of the season in the Matadors' 1-0 victory over Long Beach State. Russ then scored her first goal of the season and second of her career in the Matadors' victory at LMU. 

Back to the Draw-ing Board

The Matadors' 1-1 draw at Portland on Sept. 27 was the 10th overtime match CSUN has played in since the start of the 2009 season. In those 10 overtime contests, CSUN holds a 1-3-6 record. During the 2011 campaign, the Matadors recorded two draws (at Purdue and at Pacific) and the result with the Boilermakers was Northridge's first tie in 49 contests. The overtime losses were to Portland and UC Irvine while the Matadors' last overtime victory came in a 1-0 decision over Kansas in Las Vegas, Nev. on Sept. 10, 2010. 

Good Things come in Twos and Threes

The Matadors have put together quite a record when they score two goals, posting a 24-1-1 mark in those contests since the start of the 2008 season. That record includes the Matadors' 3-0 victory at San Diego and 2-0 victory over Hawai'i. The only blemishes on the record are a 3-2 loss to UC Santa Barbara on Oct. 4, 2009 and a 2-2 draw with Purdue at the Boilermaker Challenge during the 2011 campaign. In fact, under Coach West, the Matadors are a perfect 16-0 when they score at least three goals in a match. CSUN's last loss when scoring at least three goals came at UC Davis on October 16, 2005.

Live by the Sword, Die by the Sword

Since the start of the 2009 season, Northridge has played in 40 matches, out of a total of 68 (59%), that were decided by one goal, owning a 21-19 (.525) mark in those contests. In fact, 29 (43% of all games played since 2009) have been 1-0 affairs in which CSUN owns a 17-12 (.586) mark. Among Big West schools, the 29 1-0 contests are six more than the next squad, UC Riverside, while Big West newcomer Hawai'i has played only 11 such contests since 2009. 

Follow Your Matadors Online

All home matches this season will include live stats coverage and selected matches will also feature a free audio broadcast on GoMatadors.com. For road contests related links to the game, including for any live stats, audio and video, will be posted before the match on the schedule page of GoMatadors.com. Fans are also encouraged to check the Cal State Northridge Athletics Department's official Twitter feed (@GoMatadors) for updates of matches in progress and news and notes throughout the week.