August 30, 2011

Matadors Face UNLV, #2 Akron in 2011 Labor Day Classic

Complete Release in PDF Format

Link to Cal State Northridge Labor Day Classic Tournament Central

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -

The Cal State Northridge Matadors host the 2011 Labor Day Classic at Matador Soccer Field on Thursday, Sept. 1 and Saturday, Sept. 3. Northridge will face UNLV on Thursday and will wrap up the invitational with a match against the No. 2 Akron Zips on Saturday night. All four matches in the Classic will be broadcast online via GameTracker, which can be accessed by clicking on the Tournament Central link on the men's soccer page at GoMatadors.com. Saturday's showdown with Akron will also include a radio broadcast, featuring a halftime interview with former Matador and current LA Galaxy defender Sean Franklin.

2011 Cal State Northridge Labor Day Classic

The Cal State Northridge Matadors will once again host an invitational tournament at Matador Soccer Field. The 2011 Cal State Northridge Labor Day Classic will take place across two days with matches on Thursday, Sept. 1 and Saturday, Sept. 3 and will feature three teams in addition to Northridge. Defending national champion Akron, Big West rival Cal State Fullerton and the UNLV Rebels will all take part in the weekend showcase with each team playing two games.

The Classic will kick off at 4:30 p.m. with Cal State Fullerton taking on Akron in the first game. After the conclusion of the match, the Matadors will host UNLV at approximately 7 p.m. after a scheduled break of 30 minutes. On Saturday, Sept. 3, Cal State Fullerton will play UNLV in the first game at 4:30 p.m. with the Matadors squaring off against the Akron Zips at approximately 7 p.m. The first 100 students into the game with their student ID will receive a free Red Rally shirt and a vuvuzela courtesy of the University Student Union. Although Northridge will not face the Fullerton Titans in the Labor Day Classic, the two sides will play each other twice in the conference season, in Northridge on Saturday, Oct. 1 and in Fullerton on Saturday, Nov. 5.

A Closer Look at UNLV

The UNLV Rebels continue their road trip against Big West teams when they face Cal State Northridge at Matador Soccer Field on Thursday night. The Rebels are currently 0-1-0 after suffering a 1-0 loss to Cal Poly on August 27.

Goalkeeper Ryan Harding was kept busy by the Mustangs, making five saves on the night, including three in the first half to keep the match scoreless. The deadlock was broken in the 75th minute after a short pass on a set piece. The resulting shot found its way through space and just inside the right post for the lone goal.

UNLV is coming off of a 6-11-2 record in 2010, including a 3-5-2 mark and a sixth place finish in the MPSF. Forward Salvador Bernal, midfielder Jonny Espinoza and reserve Joaquin Rivas each registered a shot for the Rebels at Cal Poly, with only one shot forcing the Mustang goalkeeper to make a save.

The Matadors are 9-6-0 all-time against UNLV and have taken five straight in the series. The last meeting between the two sides came on neutral ground as Northridge came away with a 2-0 victory over the Rebels at the Cal State Fullerton Invitational on Sept. 7, 2008.

Following the match with the Matadors, UNLV will face Cal State Fullerton on Saturday, Sept. 3 at 4:30 p.m. in game three of the 2011 Cal State Northridge Labor Day Classic.

A Closer Look at #2 Akron

The Akron Zips come to Matador Soccer Field for the first time in program history to take part in the 2011 Cal State Northridge Labor Day Classic this Thursday through Saturday. They currently hold a record of 1-0 after a 5-0 dismantling of Cleveland State on August 27 and are ranked No. 2 in the most recent NSCAA Coaches Poll (8/30).

In Akron's season opener, the Zips saw goals scored by four different players and a total of five assists. Daren Mattocks scored twiced and assisted on another for five points and the team lead in scoring. His goal in the 7th minute past the Cleveland State goalkeeper held up as the eventual game winner. Scott Caldwell netted a goal and had an assist as well.

In addition to the offensive attack by Akron, the defense was able to impose its will on the opposition. Of the four shots surrendered, only one was close enough to trouble the goalkeeper as David Meves needed just one save to complete his shutout.

In their only other meeting in history, then-No. 1 Akron defeated Cal State Northridge 3-0 in Ohio on Sept. 17, 2010. The Zips would go on to win the MAC with an overall record of 22-1-2 (6-0-0) and won some hard-fought battles on the pitch to capture the College Cup and the NCAA National Championship. Akron has played in the finals each of the last two seasons, finishing as runners-up in 2009.

Akron will face Cal State Fullerton in the opening match of the Labor Day Classic on Thursday, Sept. 1 at 4:30 p.m.

Results from Last Week

The Matadors hosted the Canisius Griffins at Matador Soccer Field in the 2011 season opener last Friday. Northridge, which had won just one home match last season, scored its first goal of the season in the 26th minute and added another for insurance in the 67th.

A ball from Rene Anguiano found Chris Smith in the middle of the field looking for opportunities a little over midway through the first half. Smith squared to the goal and booted an attempt from 30 yards out that dipped over the head of the goalkeeper and under the bar for his first goal of his Matador career.

Freshman Christian Gonzalez Diaz netted the second goal after a corner kick from Gustavo Villalobos. The ground cross made its way to Gonzalez Diaz, whose low shot found its way through traffic into the lower right corner of the goal past a shielded and baffled goalkeeper. The Matadors were able to hold on for a 2-0 victory despite two promising chances for the Griffins. Goalkeeper Manabu Kaji, making his first start for Northridge, only saw six shots, two on goal, but made spectacular saves in defense of both to earn the clean sheet.

The win was the 100th victory for head coach Terry Davila as a member of the Big West Conference. Davila became the fifth coach all-time to accomplish the feat, and is also second behind UC Santa Barbara's Tim Vom Steeg for career Big West Conference wins with 51.

Welcome to the Century Club

With the 2-0 victory over Canisius on August 26, head coach Terry Davila became the sixth coach in Big West history to win 100 games as a member of the conference. Even though Davila entered the 2011 season with 113 career wins to his credit, the first 14 were earned as member of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. In 2001 the Matadors switched conference affiliation from the MPSF to the Big West, since then Davila's teams have compiled a 100-67-32 overall record (.583 pct.). With his victory over Cal State Fullerton on Oct. 2, 2010, Davila became just the third head coach to win 50 or more Big West Conference matches.

Bring the Noise

Have a drum, cow bell, or other noisemaker lying around at home? Now is the time to bring it out and explore the space of Matador Soccer Field! The Big West Conference office announced this past summer that all noisemakers, with the exceptions of airhorns and whistles, will now be allowed at all conference matches and all home venues. As such, fans are encouraged to get into the action in a whole new way by making noise for their team during each contest. Previously, no outside noisemakers were permitted at any game and violaters were subject to removal from the site. To welcome in the new rule, the Matadors will be handing out a free vuvuzela, the horn-like instrument made famous worldwide during the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, to the first 100 students with their CSUN ID at the home match on Saturday, Sept. 3 against defending NCAA national champion Akron at 7 p.m.

Captain Assist

In the exhibition match against Cal State Dominguez Hills on August 20, junior captain Joe Franco recorded three assists for the Matadors. He used his position as the right back to set up three different goal scorers on the night. His long throw-in in the 10th minute found Thomas Ramos in the box for a goal and a cross to Brian Behrad in the second half led to a score off the forward's head. Franco was also credited with an assist on Christian Gonzalez Diaz' goal as he sent a long through ball to Taylor Bowlin, who crossed it to Gonzalez Diaz for the score. While the stats from the exhibition are not official and will not be added to his career totals, the performance shown by Franco is promising as he assumes a role in the offense for Northridge. Prior to Saturday's friendly, Franco had scored one goal and one assist in his two seasons with the Matadors.

Scoring from All Positions

In the exhibition against Cal State Dominguez Hills, the Matador fans had a lot to cheer about as Northridge put five goals on the board. Five different players scored for CSUN and ten Matadors earned at least one point in the match. The goal scorers included three sophomores (Thomas Ramos, Chris Smith and Brian Behrad) and two newcomers to the program (Luis Gutierrez and Christian Gonzalez Diaz). Assists in the match included three from junior captain Joe Franco, senior Nicholas Hamilton, junior Taylor Bowlin, sophomore Yuval Barak, who redshirted the 2010 season, and freshman Yarden Azulay. In all, the Matadors showed that any player on the team has the capability to create opportunities and put the ball in the back of the net. 

The New-Look Matadors

The Cal State Northridge Matadors will see an influx in new talent this season as 12 players on the squad are new to the program. In addition to four transfer student-athletes, Northridge has added eight true freshmen and will also see the return of freshman Edwin Rivas and sophomore Yuval Barak, who both redshirted the 2010 season. The added depth and youth at all positions will give Coach Davila more options for his attacking and defensive strategies and will also set the program up for long-term health and success. In the season-opening win over Canisius, freshman Christian Gonzalez Diaz netted an insurance goal late in the match off of a corner kick to ensure the 2-0 victory.

You Cannot Spell Points Without the Letters `O' and `T'

Since joining the Big West in 2001, CSUN has played in 48 overtime games, and have failed to earn a point in only eight of those matches. The last time Northridge won a game in overtime took place in 2009 when CSUN scored the golden goal in overtime against the Cal State Fullerton Titans.

Top-Ten Talent

A number of Matadors earned a spot in the top-ten list within a variety of statistical categories amongst their Big West brethren in 2010. Midfielder Rafael Garcia finished tied for third in the conference with 49 shots taken, six assists, and a 0.35 assist per game average, and finished fourth in the conference averaging 2.88 shots per game. Gustavo Villalobos finished his impressive debut season tied for fifth with 47 shots per game and possessed the sixth-highest shots per game average with his 2.61 mark. Rounding out the list of Matadors is goalkeeper Michael Abalos, who finished third in saves with 74 and fourth in saves per game with his 4.11 average.

In for Six

Against Cal Poly on Oct. 6, 2010, midfielder Rafael Garcia not only scored the two CSUN goals to help them earn a point in the standings, but took a total of six shots that were all on goal. Since joining the Big West in 2001, no Matador had ever registered that many shots on goal in one game. On three occasions during his career at Northridge, Matador great Willie Sims recorded five shots on goal (September 10, 2004 vs. American, October 9, 2004 at UC Irvine, and September 17, 2005 vs. UNLV), as did current men's soccer associate head coach Yossi Raz in a home game against Denver on October 6, 2002. Both Sims and Raz held the team record for most shots on goal in one game before Garcia's eye-opening performance in San Luis Obispo took place.

The Friendly Confines

Of the 19 matches on the schedule this year, the Cal State Northridge Matadors will play just over half of their contests at Matador Soccer Field. Northridge will host ten games in 2011, including the Cal State Northridge Labor Day Classic, squaring off against such programs as UNLV, SMU, UC Santa Barbara and defending national champion Akron. Since relocating from North Campus Stadium to their current facility before the start of the 2002 season, Matador Soccer Field has presented a strong advantage for the Matadors. In the 77 games played on-campus, CSUN possesses an overwhelming 50-19-8 record at home for a .701 winning percentage on their home turf.

Strength of Schedule

Known for assembling a tough non-conference schedule, the Cal State Northridge Matadors will once again take on a number of teams ranked in national polls throughout the season. As ranked in the preseason national poll by the NSCAA, the Matadors will face five squads in the top 25. Northridge will play host to No. 2 Akron on Sept. 3, No. 5 SMU on Sept. 23, No. 24 UC Irvine on Oct. 26 and No. 14 UC Santa Barbara on Nov. 1. The Matadors will also travel to cross-town rival No. 6 UCLA on Oct. 22.

Nifty at Fifty

With his victory over Cal State Fullerton on October 2nd, 2010, CSUN head coach Terry Davila became just the third head coach to win 50 or more Big West Conference matches. UC Santa Barbara's Tim Vom Steeg is the only other coach with 50 or more Big West victories to his credit.

Keep Your Heads on a Swivel

Last year, the Matador set their season team-highs in shots taken and shots on goal against the UC Riverside Highlanders. In the 2009 conference-opening match in Riverside, CSUN fired 30 shots at the Highlander goalkeeper, 15 of which were on goal. In 2010, the Matadors nearly matched that mark as they blasted 28 shots at the Highlander net, including ten on goal in their only contest of the season, which took place in Northridge.

Quick Out of the Gates

The Matadors are 19-7-4 in conference season openers, and have only been defeated once in a Big West opener. CSUN has not lost a conference opener since 2002, when they were on the wrong side of a 2-1 decision against UC Irvine at home. The last time the Matadors tied a conference opening match was in 2007 at Cal State Fullerton, the same squad they defeated to open the Big West season in 2010. The longest streak for conference opening wins in Matador history is 10 seasons, accomplished from 1978-87 under the direction of head coaches Zvi Friedman, Ric Fonseca and Marwan Ass'ad.

Rewriting the Record Books

One indication of the success goalkeeper Michael Abalos has earned so far in his career can be seen in the Matador record books as the San Juan Capistrano native earned a spot on four different lists with his numbers earned during his first two seasons at Northridge. Abalos now owns eighth place with his 10 career victories, is eighth all-time with his 1.44 career goals against average, and is tied for seventh all-time with Mike Caputo (1985-87) with his seven career shutouts. His five clean sheets earned in 2009 is also the seventh-highest number of shutouts earned in a season, tying him with Joe Barton (2001) and Mike Littman (1989) and their respective single-season performances.

Survey Says....

The 2011 Cal State Northridge men's soccer team received 20 points and was picked to finish fifth in the 2011 Big West Men's Soccer Preseason Coaches poll as announced by the league office in mid-August. Northridge was beat out by UC Irvine as the Anteaters earned 30 points to claim fourth place in the voting. Finishing in third place with 32 total points was Cal State Fullerton, with Cal Poly earning 40 points and a first-place vote to grab second place. UC Santa Barbara lead the way for the second year in a row with 48 points and six first place votes. UC Davis and UC Riverside rounding out the poll in sixth and seventh place respectively with 14 and 12 points.

Ticket Information

Tickets for all home men's matches are available through the CSUN Associated Students Ticket Office. Adults are $5, while youth 17 and under and seniors 60 and older are $3. There is also a $3 discounted rate ticket for CSUN Faculty/Staff, Military Service Personnel and CSUN Alumni Association Members with their respective identification cards. CSUN students receive free admission to all home games with their CSUN I.D. Groups of 10 or more people may purchase $3 tickets, but tickets must be purchased a minimum of 24 hours in advance. For more information, call the A.S. Ticket Office at 818-677-2488. 

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