October 1, 2008

Northridge Heads to Los Angeles to Face Loyola Marymount and USC

Oct. 1, 2008

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -

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The Cal State Northridge women's soccer team takes one final non-conference roadtrip this weekend, heading to Los Angeles this weekend to face Loyola Marymount and defending NCAA champion USC. The Matadors currently stand at 5-3-1, one victory shy of the program's 100th all-time win.

Last week, CSUN and San Francisco played to a 1-1 draw. In the match, freshman Nancy Avesyan scored her second goal of the season off an assist from sophomore Sonia Espitia, the first of her career. Avesyan now stands tied for second on the team with seven points with seniors Kristal Philips and Tryna Tafoya.

"Our freshman have been excellent this season," added head coach Keith West. "They are all good soccer players who care about this team and want to do well."

Sophomore Leah Elliott continues to perform well in net for the Matadors, ranking third in the Big West Conference in both goals-against-average (1.14), save percentage (.788) and total saves (41). She has started all nine games for CSUN in net and picked up her first career shutout against Cal State Bakersfield.

So far this season the offense has produced nine different goal scorers and 16 goals through nine games, one goal shy of the team's total throughout the entire 2007 season. Sophomore Farryn Townley's four tallies lead the team and is tied for fourth in the Big West Conference.

The offense has also been bolstered by the return of Phillips, who missed the entire 2007 season. She now stands at ninth in school history in career goals (8), fourth in career assists (10) and eighth in career points (26).

Along with Phillips and Avesyan, freshman Brielle Slepicoff leads the team and is tied for second in the league with her three assists.

As a team, CSUN has outscored its opponents, 16-11, including an 8-4 advantage in the first half of its nine games. In games where it has more shots than its opponents, Northridge is 4-0 and is 3-1-1 when scoring the first goal of the match. The team registered a season-high 20 shots against San Francisco.

For the second time in as many games, the Matadors will face a member of the West Coast Conference. The Lions of Loyola Marymount enter Friday's match with a record of 4-4-2 and a 2-0-2 mark at home. In their last match, the Lions fell to CSUN's other opponent this weekend, USC, 3-0.

Lauren Shanklin leads LMU with four goals and eight points, while Julie Gallaudet has three goals and an assist for seven points. Allyssa Clark has seen the majority of time in net, posting a 1.38 GAA and an .800 save percentage. The Lions lead the all-time series between the schools, 9-1, and won the last decision, 2-0, on Oct. 27, 2005 in Los Angeles.

On Sunday, the Matadors face defending national champion, sixth-ranked USC. The Trojans enter the week with an 8-1-0 record, though they have not faced a Big West Conference opponent thus far. As a team, USC is outscoring its opponents 26-7, an average of 3.1 per game, and has fired 188 shots on goal, an average of 20 per contest.

Marihelen Torner leads the team with 12 points and is tied with Alyssa Davila, Carly Butcher and Nini Loucks with a team-high four goals. Kristin Olson has seen the majority of playing time in net, recording a 7-10 record to along with a 0.64 goals-against-average and a .818 save percentage. USC owns a 2-0 record in the all-time series, though the teams have not met since Oct. 1, 1997.

"We're looking forward to some good competition this weekend," said sophomore Jasmine Pratt. "Our team defense is really strong and hard working. We are excited to play USC and I know we will give them a good game."

Next week, the Matadors open the 2008 Big West Conference season with another pair of games on the road. On Oct. 10, the squad battles preseason favorite UC Santa Barbara at 7 p.m., and two days later on Oct. 12, faces Cal Poly at 1 p.m.

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