October 3, 2012

Matadors Travel to Cal Poly, No. 4 UC Santa Barbara in Big West Play

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NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -

The Cal State Northridge Matadors will complete their matches against the Big West North Division this week when the team travels to the Central Coast for a pair of matches. Northridge will take on the Cal Poly Mustangs at Spanos Stadium on Friday, Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. before heading to No. 4 UC Santa Barbara to face the Gauchos on Sunday afternoon. The Matadors are currently tied for the lead in the South Division with three points after the first week of conference matches and look to improve their record against two tough opponents.

Both matches this week will feature live stats coverage and CSUN's contest against the Mustangs will also include an Internet-only audio braodcast courtesy of the Cal Poly athletics department. Sunday's match at UC Santa Barbara will be streamed live on BigWest.TV for free. Fans can access all links for both matches by going to the men's soccer schedule page at GoMatadors.com.

Match #12:
Matadors (7-4-0, 1-1-0 Big West) at Cal Poly Mustangs (6-4-0, 1-1-0 Big West)

Friday, Oct. 5 - 7 p.m.
Alex G. Spanos Stadium (11,075) - San Luis Obispo, Calif.

Live Stats/Audio: Links Available at GoMatadors.com

Match #13:
Matadors at No. 4 UC Santa Barbara Gauchos (7-0-3, 1-0-1 Big West)

Sunday, Oct. 7 - 5 p.m.
Meredith Field at Harder Stadium (17,000) - Santa Barbara, Calif.

Live Stats: Link Available at GoMatadors.com
Audio/Video: BigWest.TV (Free), Link Available at GoMatadors.com

Follow Your Matadors Online
All home matches this season will include live stats coverage and selected matches will also feature a free audio broadcast on GoMatadors.com. For road contests related links to the game, inlcuding for any live stats, audio and video, will be posted before the match on the schedule page of GoMatadors.com. Fans are also encouraged to check the Cal State Northridge Athetics Department's official Twitter feed (@GoMatadors) for updates of matches in progress and news and notes throughout the week.

A Closer Look at Cal Poly
The Matadors start their brief road trip at Cal Poly this week as they play their first road match since winning 5-0 at San Diego on Sept. 20. The Mustangs enter the week with a record of 6-4-0 and are 1-1-0 in the Big West after winning at Cal State Fullerton and losing in overtime to UC Riverside. The Matadors lead the all-time series with Cal Poly 25-15-9 and went 1-0-1 against the Mustangs in 2011, winning 2-0 at Spanos Stadium.

Mackenzie Pridham leads the Mustangs offensively with five goals and 10 points thus far. He also leads the team with 24 shots taken and 10 shots on goal through 10 matches. Chris Bernardi has scored three goals and has one assist for seven points this season while both George Malki and Chris Gaschen have scored twice and have three assists. As a team, Cal Poly has scored 15 goals and a total of 15 assists while their opponents have tallied 10 goals on the year.

The Mustangs have split the duties in net between Chase Hauser and Wade Hamilton this season. Both have a 1.00 goals against average but Hauser has a 5-1 record with 18 saves and two shutouts while Hamilton has gone 1-3. Hauser has started both Big West matches for Cal Poly.

Following the match with the Matadors, the Mustangs will host UC Irvine to close out the week.

A Closer Look at No. 4 UC Santa Barbara
Following the match at Cal Poly, the Matadors will travel to Santa Barbara for a Sunday afternoon match against the No. 4 UCSB Gauchos. UC Santa Barbara is 7-0-3 on the year and 1-0-1 in the Big West after defeating UC Riverside and tying Cal State Fullerton last week. The Gauchos have only failed to win on three occasions, earning draws against Oregon State and UCLA as well. UCSB hosts UC Irvine on Friday to start the week.

UC Santa Barbara is 2-0-1 at Meredith Field at Harder Stadium this season. In addition to tying UCLA, the Gauchos won a pair of one-goal games against Valparaiso and Harvard. Achille Campion leads the team with five goals and an assist for 11 points this year. Nic Ryan has four goals and an assist and Dom Sarle leads the Gauchos with four helpers.

The Gauchos have outscored opponents 23-8 this season and have allowed the fewest goals in the Big West. The defense has allowed just 93 shots through 10 matches.
Goalkeeper Austin Mansker has recorded four shutouts this season in goal and has a record of 7-0-3. Mansker has appeared in all 10 matches for the Gauchos and has made 20 saves while allowing seven goals. His goals against average of 0.69 is the best in the Big West this year. Andre Grandt started the match against Valparaiso and allowed a goal before being lifted at halftime. It was his only action so far this season.

Results from Last Week
The Cal State Northridge Matadors split their first two Big West Conference matches at home last week against UC Davis and Sacramento State. Northridge opened the conference portion of the schedule with a 2-0 win on Friday, Sept. 28 before dropping a tough 1-0 decision to the Hornets on Sunday afternoon in double overtime. On Friday, David Turcios scored the first goal of his Northridge career in the seventh minute of play. He received a pass from Joe Franco and took a shot that was deflected by the UC Davis goalkeeper before he collected the rebound and scored.

Edwin Rivas doubled the CSUN lead in the 16th minute with his sixth goal of the season. Carlos Benavides passed the ball to Rene Anguiano, who chipped it to Rivas behind the defense. Rivas then deked to his left to get by the goalkeeper before scoring into the empty net.

Michael Abalos made two saves in the match to record the shutout. Northridge's defense allowed just three shots in the first half and the Matadors were able to hold off the charge even after a UC Davis player was sent off for a challenge in the 47th minute of play. The win was the fifth straight for Northridge and improved CSUN to 9-1-2 all-time in Big West openers.

The Matadors had their streak snapped on Sunday in double overtime against Sacramento State. The teams played a scoreless match for 102 minutes before a counter attack for the Hornets led to the game's only goal. The Matadors are now 1-0-1 in Big West play and are tied with UC Riverside at the top of the Big West South Division.

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. The San Juan Capistrano, Calif. native earned a spot on four different lists with his numbers earned during his first three-plus seasons at Northridge. Abalos is now in fourth place with his 22 career victories, is eighth all-time with his 1.35 career goals against average and is second all-time with his 17 career shutouts. His seven clean sheets earned in 2011 are also the third-highest number of shutouts earned in a season, tying him with Jeff Blumkin (1988) and Mike Caputo (1986) and their respective single-season performances. His 62 matches in goal place him third on the all-time list. This season, Abalos has a 6-4 record with three shutouts and a 0.89 goals against average.

Strike Force
Redshirt sophomore Edwin Rivas is picking up right where he left off at the end of last season. At the end of the non-conference slate, Rivas has six goals, an assist and 13 points. Rivas scored a goal and had an assist in Northridge's 4-0 win over Portland and scored the tying goal against American University in a 2-1 win. For his work over the first weekend, he was named the 2012 Wilson Titan Classic Offensive MVP and earned Big West Conference Offensive Player of the Week honors as well. He scored the game-winning goal over Temple in a 2-1 win on September 16 and added an insurance goal against UC Davis on September 28 in a 2-0 win. For his career, Rivas now has 11 goals, one assist and 23 points.

Everybody Needs a Little Lev-Ari
Sophomore forward Sagi Lev-Ari made a statement in his first match in a Northridge uniform. In the Matadors' 4-0 victory over the Portland Pilots on August 24, Lev-Ari scored the first and last goals of the match to secure his first four points of the season. He became the first Matador with a multiple-goal match since Rafael Garcia put in two penalty kicks at UC Davis on September 28, 2011. On September 2 at Loyola University Maryland, Lev-Ari scored his third goal of the campaign off of a free kick. Jose Luis Garcia touched a short ball to Lev-Ari who fired in a lined shot from about 22 yards out. Lev-Ari also scored the lone CSUN goal at UNLV and had two in wins over Army and San Diego. Lev-Ari currently leads the Big West and is tied for third in the country with nine goals scored. He also leads the conference with four game-winning goals.

Mr. Assist
Junior midfielder Carlos Benavides continues to help the Matadors find ways to score goals. After tying for the Big West Conference lead with eight assists and leading in assists per game (0.47), he is well on his way to taking home the top spot in those categories again this season. At the Wilson Titan Classic hosted by Cal State Fullerton Benavides picked up two assists, one in each of the Matadors' victories over Portland (4-0) and American (2-1). He also notched a pair of assists in CSUN's 5-0 win over Army on September 14. Benavides currently leads the Big West with six assists and has a 0.55 assists per game average through 11 matches.

One Plus One is Three Or Four
Sophomore forward Edwin Rivas was the first Matador to put up a goal and an assist in the same match this season when he accomplished the feat against Portland on August 24. Sophomore forward Sagi Lev-Ari had two goals of his own in that match to record four points as each put up performances that are hard to come by. Lev-Ari followed up his display with another two-goal outing in a 5-0 win over Army (9/14) in Northridge's home opener and a pair of goals at San Diego (9/20). The forward scored the eventual game-winning goal in the sixth minute and added another in the 55th against Army and scored twice in the opening 10:27 against the Toreros to lead the Matadors to their largest margins of victory since a 6-1 win over Detroit on Aug. 31, 2007.

Matadors in the Big West Top Ten
With the league schedule getting underway now underway, a number of Matadors have jumped into the individual rankings for the Big West Conference. Edwin Rivas leads the conference in shots taken (47). He ranks among the leaders in points (T-2nd - 13), points per game (3rd - 1.18), goals (T-2nd - 6) and goals per game (3rd - 0.55). He also leads the league with 4.27 shots per game. Sagi Lev-Ari is ranked second with 1.64 points per game and is tied for second in the Big West with 40 shots taken. Lev-Ari is the league leader in points (18) and goals (9) and ranks second in goals per game (0.82).

Beto Velasquez checks in at ninth in the conference with 21 shots. He ties for fourth with 11 points and five goals. Carlos Benavides lead the Big West with six assists and is first with 0.55 assists per game while teammates Yuval Barak, Chris Smith and David Turcios check in tied for fourth with three helpers. Goalkeeper Michael Abalos ranks second in the conference in goals against average (0.89), is fourth in save percentage (.763) and seventh in saves per game (2.90). He ties for fifth with 0.30 shutouts per game and also ranks tied for third with three shutouts. His 29 saves are sixth among all Big West goalkeepers.

Manufacturing Points
The Cal State Northridge Matadors have seen production out of every position on the field early in the season. In the team's matches to this point, seven different players have scored a goal and 13 total Matadors have recorded at least one point. The team has put up 72 points thus far to rank second in the Big West Conference in that category. Each of the four goals against the Portland Pilots in the season-opening 4-0 win had an assist by a different player. Among the point scorers for Northridge are six forwards, four midfielders and three defenders led by forward Sagi Lev-Ari with 18. Edwin Rivas (13), Beto Velasquez (11), Jose Luis Garcia (3), Brian Behrad (3), Joe Franco (3) and David Turcios (5) have scored goals while Carlos Benavides (6), Yuval Barak (3), Carlos Gonzalez (1), Christian Gonzalez Diaz (2), Chris Smith (3) and Rene Anguiano (1) have earned assists. Lev-Ari has scored a goal in six matches this year and leads the team with nine goals.

You Can't Score if You Don't Shoot
At the end of the non-conference portion of the schedule, the Matadors lead the Big West Conference in shots taken (206) and goals scored (24), are second in points (72) and rank third in goals per game (2.18). Over Northridge's two matches against Army and Temple, the team took a combined 49 shots and scored seven goals. Their opposition took just 15 shots and scored once. The next match, Northridge erupted for five more goals at San Diego (9/20). Eighteen different Matadors have recorded a shot this season and just under 40 percent of the shots taken have been on goal. At the same time, opponents have recorded 120 total shots and 40 shots on goal, scoring nine times.

Road Warriors
Of the 19 matches on the schedule this year, the Cal State Northridge Matadors will play just eight at Matador Soccer Field, including three non-conference matches in September. That may bode well for the Matadors, as the team had a record of 5-3-1 in road contests last season. This year, Northridge is 1-3-0 in road matches and 2-0-0 in neutral-site contests at the end of the non-conference slate. The Matadors have been solid at home, winning four matches and outscoring opponents 11-2 at Matador Soccer Field. Northridge will travel to face Cal Poly, UC Santa Barbara, Cal State Fullerton, UC Irvine and UC Riverside in Big West Conference play this season.

Getting the Job Done
Nearly halfway through the season, the Matadors have already put up a few exciting performances. Following a 4-0 result against Portland, Northridge found itself down a goal early in the second half against American. It was then that the Matadors rattled off two goals in a span of three minutes to take the lead for good and pick up their second win of the year. Northridge has also been impressive offensively in a pair of 5-0 victories at home against Army (9/14) and at San Diego (9/20). Prior to this season, the Matadors hadn't scored five goals in a match and hadn't won by a five-goal margin since winning 6-1 over Detroit in the team's home opener on August 31, 2007.

Quick Out of the Gates
Northridge is 22-11-2 all-time in season openers, including wins in the past two. Northridge cruised by Portland University 4-0 at the 2012 Wilson Titan Classic and defeated Canisius at Matador Soccer Field 2-0 in 2011. In addition, Cal State Northridge opened the schedule at a neutral site for the first time since the 2002 season when the Matadors competed in the LMU Tournament in Los Angeles. Northridge went on to play in the NCAA Tournament that season. Northridge started the year 2-0 for the first time since the 2005 campaign. That team reached the third round of the NCAA Tournament. The Matadors are 26-9 in home openers after a 5-0 win over Army on September 14. They are 21-7-4 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 Matadors are now 9-1-2 all-time in Big West Conference openers after defeating the UC Davis Aggies 2-0 on Sept. 28, 2012. 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.

Bring the Noise
Have a drum, cowbell, or other noisemaker lying around at home? Now is the time to bring it out and explore the space of Matador Soccer Field! In 2011, the Big West Conference office announced that all noisemakers, with the exceptions of airhorns and whistles, will be allowed at all conference matches and all home venues. Please note that noisemakers have been approved for use at men's and women's soccer matches only and will be confiscated in the Matadome or at any other Northridge Athletics venue.

Ticket Information
Tickets for all home men's matches are available through the CSUN Associated Students Ticket Office. Adults are $8, while youth 17 and under and seniors 60 and older are $5. 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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