Northridge, Calif. – The task ahead won't be easy but #17 Cal State Northridge is looking forward to the challenge.
The Matadors open Big West Conference play on Saturday (3/31/12) at Noon at Campus Pool against nationally-ranked UC Irvine. In the past several years, the Anteaters have become one of the top teams in the nation. This year is no exception. The Anteaters are currently ranked sixth in the country, have chalked up a 17-5 record and have won 13 straight Big West matches (regular season & tournament) over the past couple years.
UCI holds a sizable 16-4 advantage over the Matadors. But wait. The last time UC Irvine visited CSUN's Campus Pool, the Matadors recorded an 11-9 double overtime victory on April 2, 2010. In that game, the Matadors raced to a 5-3 half time lead, but UC Irvine outscored CSUN, 3-1, in the third period to tie the game at 6-6. Both teams each scored twice in the fourth quarter to send the game into overtime at 8-8. Cal State Northridge scored three times in the first overtime and held on for the 11-9 victory. Kristin McLaughlin led Cal State Northridge with three goals. Jillian Stapf collected 12 saves in goal.
UC Irvine has already beaten Cal State Northridge twice this year in non-league competition. On Jan. 29 at the UCSB Invitational, the Anteaters recorded a 9-4 decision. Leah Janke collected two goals to lead the CSUN attack. Freshman Kiernan Davis had a career-high 16 saves as goaltender. Then on Feb. 26, 2012, UCI collected a 10-5 victory over Cal State Northridge. Jenny Jamison led CSUN with two goals. Dana Harvey was CSUN's goaltender with nine saves.
Jessy Cardey and Hannah Croghan lead the high-octane attack for UC Irvine. Cardey, a junior, has scored 53 goals to lead UCI while Croghan has chipped in with 38 goals, second-best on the team. Cardey has scored five goals in UCI's two wins over Cal State Northridge this year. Croghan has scored three goals in the two games against CSUN.
Other top scorers for UC Irvine include Kelsey Klatt (26 goals), Danielle Warde (25), Katie Croghan (23 goals), Michaela Pierandozzi (19 goals) and Annika Bergeson (15 goals).
Cal State Northridge is no slouch when scoring goals. The Matadors have scored 274 goals this year, fifth-best for a single season in school history.
Of the 19 players on the Cal State Northridge roster, 15 are either freshmen or sophomores. The other four players are either seniors or juniors. Two-hundred-35 of the team's 274 goals have been scored by either freshmen or sophomores. That is 86 percent of the team's scoring load in 2012.
The team's top five scorers are ALL underclassmen. Last year, then freshman Jenny Jamison had a ho-hum season with only eight goals, one steal and no assists. In 2012, Jamison, now a sophomore, has become one of the top players in the Big West Conference with a team-leading 52 goals, 26 assists and 15 steals. Last weekend against Brown University, Jamison scored a career-high five goals. In four games this year, Jamison has scored four goals.
Jamison is only one goal short of the Matador single season Top-10 list. Chari Christopher (2003), Pam Barba (2004) and Sydney Sonoda (2011) each scored 53 goals during their respective seasons to rank in ninth place. Young has scored at least two goals in 16 of the team's 28 games. Young has tallied at least one goal in 21 of the team's 28 games. That includes five goals against #16 Hartwick, four goals each against Fresno Pacific, Occidental and Bucknell, and three goals each against eighth-ranked San Diego State, #14 UC Santa Barbara and a second game against Hartwick.
As a team, Cal State Northridge is shooting .407. The team's top five scorers (Jenny Jamison, Marisa Young, Lindsy Nelson, Melissa Doll, Molly Henehan) are shooting a combined .443 (182-for-410).
Ferreira is the team leader in steals (53, #10 for a single season in school history).
Dana Harvey, a senior, has enjoyed an excellent season in 2012. Harvey has collected 192 saves (#9 for a single season in school history) in 26 games this year. Harvey is averaging 9.23 saves per game. The team's backup goalkeeper is a freshman. Kiernan Davis has seen playing time in 15 games with 82 saves for an average of 11.40 saves per game.
For season statistics and updated career information on this year's Matador team, go to gomatadors.com.