October 28, 2008

Matadors Look to Secure a Playoff Spot as they Host UC Riverside and Fullerton

Oct. 28, 2008

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -

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The Cal State Northridge women's soccer team (7-8-2, 2-3-1 BWC) remains in contention for a spot in the Big West Playoffs as it wraps up the regular season with a pair home matches at Matador Soccer Field. On Thursday, the Matadors host UC Riverside (6-10-2, 1-5-1 BWC) at 2:30 p.m. before facing Cal State Fullerton (7-10-1, 2-5 BWC) at 2 p.m. on Sunday, when the program recognizes its four graduating seniors before the match.

Due to its dominance at home, Northridge still holds thoughts on advancing to the Big West Playoffs. The Matadors enter Thursday's match with a perfect 5-0-1 record at Matador Soccer Field and will need to win both games for a chance to secure the fourth and final spot in the tournament. CSUN must get some luck, as UC Irvine, which is ahead of the Matadors with eight points in the standings, can take fourth with wins at UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly.

This weekend's matches represent the final home contests for four Matadors: seniors Nalena Betancourt, Tinamarie Lutizetti, Kristal Phillips and Tryna Tafoya. As a group, the quartet has wracked up 45 wins in their careers, including the program's 100th all-time victory, a 2-0 triumph over UC Davis on Oct. 17.

Phillips ranks among the school's all-time greats in career points, goals and assists, while Tafoya also checks in among the school's all-time top 10 in career assists and points. Lutizetti notched her first career goals earlier this season in wins over Southern Utah and Cal State Bakersfield, while Betancourt looks to culminate her career with 74 career appearances, all of which have been starts, the second-most in school history.

Last week, Northridge earned a 0-0 draw with Irvine before falling 5-0 at Long Beach State. Sophomore Leah Elliott upped her season save total to 104 over the weekend, bringing her to second in school history for a single season. The 104 stops ranks second in the league and her .812 save percentage checks in at third among all Big West keepers.

Freshman Nancy Avesyan continues to lead the squad with 11 points on the season, courtesy of four goals and three assists. Phillips' five assists lead the team and check in at fifth among all Big West players.

UC Riverside enters Thursday's match fresh off its first Big West Conference victory, a 3-2 triumph over Cal State Fullerton on Oct. 26. Tessa Lennala leads the league with nine goals and 23 points this season and teammate Heidi Garrett trails her closely with eight goals, three assists and 19 points.

Brittany Goetz has started all 18 games for the Highlanders in net, posting a 1.78 goals-against-average and a .797 save percentage. The Matadors own a 4-3 record in the all-time series between the schools, having won the last two meetings, including a 2-0 victory in Riverside on Oct. 19, 2007.

On Sunday, Northridge faces the Cal State Fullerton Titans for its regular season and home finale. The Titans were eliminated from postseason consideration following their 3-2 loss to UC Riverside. Stacey Fox leads Fullerton with five goals and 13 points on the season, while Jenae Gibbens has a conference-high six assists in 2008 to go along with her three goals and 12 points.

Shannon Simpson has seen the majority of time in net, posting a 6-6-1 record with a 1.45 goals-against-average and a .729 save percentage for Fullerton. The Titans own a 10-1 record in the all-time series between the schools, including a 3-0 victory over Northridge in Fullerton on Oct. 21, 2007.

Stay tuned to gomatadors.com for all the latest information and results on the Cal State Northridge women's soccer program.

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