NORTHRIDGE, Calif. ---
The CSUN women's soccer team was picked to finish seventh in the 2014 Big West Coaches Preseason Poll, the league office announced on August 13. After a rocky 2013 season, the Matadors are determined to to make 2014 more successful and the results of the poll certainly add fuel to their fire.
"Obviously, the coaches in our league either think we are not a solid team or we are just going to fold up and play like we did last year," CSUN head coach Keith West said on the team's seventh place projection in the Big West Conference. "Not having a player in the preseason top 11 is understandable given last year's finish, but the only way the conference will truly know who the best 11 are is through their body of work on the field."
The Matadors return 18 letterwinners and seven starters from the 2012 squad. CSUN returns its top two leading point scorers from a year ago in senior Brittanie Sakajian and Breanna McCallum. Both had three goals and an assist in 2013.
Sakajian is one of four Matador seniors on the squad, joined by Hannah Wissler, Leandra Walker and Melissa Lopez. The team also has seven redshirt freshmen and a host of true rookies and transfers to fill out the roster along with returning sophomores and juniors.
The Matadors open the season on the road in 2014, heading to the Midwest for a pair of match ups on opening weekend. The 2014 campaign officially kicks off on Aug. 22 with a match at No. 7 Michigan. The only time the Matadors and Wolverines previously met in women's soccer, CSUN scored a 1-0 victory during the 2012 season.
Two days after Michigan, CSUN faces Toledo for the first time in program history. After an Aug. 31 match at Utah, CSUN hosts Gonzaga in its home opener on Sept. 5 at 7 p.m.