January 28, 2013

CSUN Women's Soccer Celebrates Banner 2012 Season

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. --- 

The Cal State Northridge women's soccer team celebrated a banner 2012 campaign at its recent year-end banquet. The Matadors finished the season as the Big West Champions and earned their first berth in the NCAA Tournament in program history.

In all, CSUN ended the season with an 11-5-6 overall record and a 6-1-2 mark in Big West play. That gave the Matadors the second seed in the Big West Tournament and Northridge went on to defeat Cal Poly and Cal State Fullerton to claim its first Big West title and NCAA Tournament appearance.

Forming the core of this fantastic season was a group of nine seniors who had forged a bond over four and sometimes five seasons with the club.

"This event was about celebrating a fantastic season and a great group of seniors who led this program to new heights and achievements," CSUN head coach Keith West said. "This group of seniors, some of whom spent five seasons with the club, were a major reason for our success over the past four seasons and which culminated in a NCAA Tournament appearance and Big West Championship."

Senior goalkeeper Cynthia Jacobo was named Team MVP by her teammates, capping off a season that saw her set school records for career wins and shutouts. Jacobo also earned NSCAA All-West Region First Team honors, the first Matador in program history to achieve the feat, as well as repeating as Big West Conference Goalkeeper of the Year.

Senior midfielder Melissa Fernandez received Offensive Player of the Year honors after leading CSUN in goals, points and assists. She also received NSCAA All-West Region Second Team and All-Big West First Team awards and finished her career ranked among the school's all-time leaders in shots, points, assists and goals.

The squad's Defensive Player of the Year award went to senior Stephanie Norton. The right back started 21 matches and tied for the team lead with five assists in her final season with the squad. She also helped anchor a defense that posted a 0.64 goals-against average and 11 shutouts.

The fourth senior to earn an award at the evening was Marisa Miller, who received the Ryan Rossi Award. The award is named after the late Ryan Rossi, a former letterwinner on the CSUN Men's Soccer team, and is given to the student-athlete that best exemplifies leadership and character.

Miller appeared in all 22 matches and tied for the team lead with five assists. Ryan's father, Leo, who also spoke to the audience as an honored guest, presented Miller with her award.

The Coaches' Award went to junior Chloe McDaniel and sophomore Brittanie Sakajian. McDaniel earned Big West Conference Defensive Player of the Year and NSCAA All-West Region Third Team honors while anchoring the stout CSUN defense and adding two goals and five points as well.

Sakajian returned after missing all of the 2011 season to finish with one goal and five assists while appearing in 19 contests. She registered an assist in her first game back, a 1-1 draw with Fresno State.

The team's other seniors (Nicole Cruz, Stephanie Galarze, Haley Hawes, Katie Russ and Jessa Yukihiro) also delivered speeches in an emotional and fun evening.

Miller, Norton, McDaniel and junior Amanda Smith and Wendy Warner added Academic All-Big West Honors to their haul as well.

The 2012 season provided Northridge with plenty of memories. The Matadors defeated Arizona State in the season opener and then picked up a convincing 3-0 result at San Diego. The Matadors then captured a 1-0 victory over Michigan and picked up draws against USC and Tennessee.

In Big West play, the Matadors picked up wins over Hawai'I, UC Riverside, Pacific and UC Davis. The team recorded its first win at UC Santa Barbara since 1999 and added an overtime victory at Long Beach State that propelled the team into the Big West Tournament.

At the event, Fernandez scored the game-winning goals in a pair of 1-0 decisions, with the Championship game against Cal State Fullerton going to overtime live on FoxSports West Primeticket.

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