June 7, 2010
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -
The Cal State Northridge women's soccer team has put together a challenging 2010 schedule, head coach Keith West announced Monday. The Matadors will play a total of 20 matches, highlighted by an Aug. 22 match against Portland that will be the debut of lights at Matador Soccer Field.
A project nearly a decade in the making, the Aug. 22 meeting with the Pilots will reintroduce the San Fernando Valley to nighttime Division I soccer. CSUN's home opener, the match is slated to start at 7 p.m.
"Playing under the lights, in front of the home crowd and family, is going to create a great atmosphere and is a large reason why these student-athletes compete in intercollegiate athletics," West said. "I believe these lights will put us on a new level, giving us the opportunity to showcase to the fans, school and community what we're all about."
In fact, the Matadors will play a total of seven home matches starting at 5 p.m. PT or later: Sept. 3 vs. Pepperdine (5 p.m.) Sept. 17 vs. Pennsylvania (7 p.m.), Sept. 27 vs. San Diego (7 p.m.), Oct 1 vs. UC Davis (7 p.m.), Oct. 17 vs. UC Riverside (6 p.m.) and Oct. 28 vs. Cal State Fullerton (7 p.m.).
Among the other highlights of the 2010 schedule are a total of six matches against five squads that participated in the 2009 NCAA Tournament. The Matadors will travel down the Interstate 405 to face UCLA on Sept. 5 and will also make a trip to College Station, Texas, to face Texas A&M on Sept. 19.
Northridge will also take trip to Las Vegas to face Kansas (Sept. 10) and UNLV (Sept. 12) in a preseason tournament. Other non-conference home matches include an Aug. 29 date with St. Joseph's (1 p.m.), and the season finale, a contest with Seattle University on Oct. 31 (1 p.m.).
"I like the balance and challenge of our schedule," West added. "I believe it will prepare us for a competitive league and set us up for success. The challenges are why you get into coaching at the highest level."
As a whole, Northridge's non-conference schedule of teams finished 2009 with a combined 126-84-23 record (.580). That record includes a non-conference match with UC Santa Barbara that will pit the Gauchos and Matadors against each other on Aug. 20 in Santa Barbara at 7 p.m.
In the Big West, the Matadors will play host to UC Davis, Pacific (Oct. 3, 1 p.m.), UCR and Fullerton. Northridge will travel for matches at UC Santa Barbara (Oct. 8, 7 p.m.), Cal Poly (Oct. 10, 1 p.m.), UC Irvine (Oct. 15, 7 p.m.) and Long Beach State (Oct. 24, 1 p.m.).
"I believe our conference will be even stronger in 2010 based on what I saw this past spring," West said. "I think we surprised some teams last year and I think we'll be even better in the fall. I think the title race is going to be wide open."
Last year, Northridge finished 10-10 overall, but posted a 6-2 mark in the Big West Conference to finish second in the league standings. That enabled the Matadors to host their first playoff game in school history.
Although the Matadors lost that game 3-2 to UC Santa Barbara, the eventual Big West Champions, West and his staff return a bevy of players from 2009's squad that have expectations noticeably higher around CSUN for 2010.
Among that group is senior Farryn Townley, who tied a school record with nine goals in 2009 en route to All-Big West First Team honors. Junior Heidi Farran also returns after scoring four goals in 2009 and earning All-Big West Honorable Mention accolades.
The team also returns the talents of senior Sonia Espitia, who posted a career-high six points and two goals in 2009 to earn All-Big West Second Team honors. Finally, West and Northridge return sophomore Cynthia Jacobo between the pipes in 2010.
Jacobo posted five-straight shutouts over league opponents to begin her career. That start helped her earn Big West Freshman of the Year honors and a place on the All-Big West Second Team. Junior Brielle Slepicoff is the fourth Matador to return in 2010 after earning All-Big West honors in her sophomore season.
"With the schedule and the lights, it's an exciting time at Northridge," West added. "These students come to CSUN for the challenges and these are experiences and memories they will cherish for the rest of their lives."