Matadors Open 2009-10 Season at Ameriprise Financial Purple and Red Invitational

Sept. 25, 2009

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Cal State Northridge men's golf is set to open the 2009-2010 season as the Matadors travel to Layton, Utah to compete the the Ameriprise Financial Purple and Red Invitational at Valley View G.C. The two-day tournament, hosted by Weber State, gets underway with 36 holes on Monday, Sept. 28 and concludes with 18 holes on Tuesday, Sept. 29.

Junior Nick Delio, a two-time First Team All-Big West golfer, returns to lead the Matadors in 2009-10. Delio, who posted a team-best 72.4 stroke average last season, has a Northridge career-best stroke average of 72.19 heading into his third season. The junior from Valencia, Calif., had five top-10 finishes as a sophomore including a second-place finish at UC Riverside's Braveheart Classic in March, 2009. Delio finished a disappointing 16th at the 2009 Big West Championship but still qualified for the NCAA West Regional at Lake Merced G.C. where he placed 43rd.

Senior Casey Piper also returns after a junior season that saw him finish third on the squad with a 75.2 average. Piper, who had one top-10 finish and a pair of top-20 finishes, had an impressive Fall but struggled with injuries in the Spring. He posted a season-best finish at the Pacific Invitational in Stockton last November where he tied for second at (-3) 210.

Senior Jeff Freund (75.9), juniors Jason Rosenkranz (76.0) and Sebastien Dominigo (83.7) along sophomores Arthur Chung (80.7) and Shane Blanchard (81.0) also return to the team in 2009-10. Freund had a pair of top-20 finishes as a junior last season while Rosenkranz finished a season-best tied for 10th at the Anteater Invitational.

Head Coach Jim Bracken, who heads into his 24th season, has added five newcomers to the roster, two of which will be in the lineup Monday in Utah. Freshman Chris Russo (Westlake, Calif./Westlake HS) and junior Davis Kirkland (Woodland Hills, Calif./Crespi HS/College of the Canyons) will compete in their first tournament for the Matadors while juniors Ben Barrow (Thousand Oaks, Calif./Westlake HS/Moorpark College) and Matt Saporin (Tarzana, Calif./Milikan HS) along with freshman Michael Bassler (Agoura, Calif./Agoura HS) round out this season's newcomers.

"I think we have a lot of talent and depth on this year's team which will create a lot more competition within the team," said Bracken. "We have a lot more depth on the back end of the roster than we had last season."

Delio, Piper, Rosenkranz along with Russo and Kirkland will be the five competing in the season-opening tournament at Valley View G.C.

"We hope to get off to a good start," said Head Coach Jim Bracken. "It's the first Divsion I tournament for Chris (Russo) and Davis (Kirkland) but they both have large tournament backgrounds including several national tournaments to draw on."

Bracken will look to his returning upperclassmen for leadership as well as scoring but can also look to his other newcomers for contributions.

"I'm looking for strong play from Nick (Delio) and my two seniors, Casey (Piper) and Jeff (Freund)," said Bracken. "But we can be successful with any number different guys in the lineup. Matt (Saporin) won the LA City Match Play Championship and posted one of the best scoring averages in his junior college conference las season."

- GO MATADORS -