Aug. 27, 2008
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - The Cal State Northridge Men's Soccer team begins its 2008 season with two non-conference games at Matador Field this weekend as they face the Georgetown on Friday at 4:30pm, and Alabama A&M on Sunday at 2:30.
This will be the first time that Northridge has competed against Georgetown, with the Matadors also looking to extend their streak of nine season-opening games without a loss under Head Coach Terry Davila.
Georgetown makes the cross-country trip to the West coast following a 7-11-1 2007 campaign. The Hoyas were 5-5-1 against Big East opponents during the year.
Sophomore Chandler Diggs led the Hoyas in scoring his freshman season, finishing the year with three goals and three assists for nine points. Senior Sean Bellomy was right behind Diggs, ending his junior campaign with three goals, two assists and eight points.
Also making their second trip to Northridge are the Bulldogs of Alabama A&M, a team the Matadors faced four years ago and defeated 3-1.
Like Northridge, they play their inaugural games of the season in this tournament and look build upon last season's 8-8-1 record, and increase their number of victories for the third straight season.
Senior Rogers Atugonza (5 goals) will spearhead the Alabama A&M offense as Head Coach Salah Yousif looks to fill the void left by graduating seniors Mosito Ranko and MfanaFuthi Bhembi, the team's top two scorers who were responsible for 13 of the team's 25 goals scored last season.
Coming off a 1-0 win against California in an exhibition match that took place last Saturday in Berkeley, the Matadors are looking to continue their winning ways throughout the 2008 season - a campaign that includes challenging Big West conference match-ups against No. 9 UC Santa Barbara, an emerging No. 24 Cal Poly, No. 30 ranked UC Davis, and a key non-conference game against perennial powerhouse UCLA who will be looking to avenge their 3-0 loss that took place at Matador Field last season.
Northridge went just 7-7-6 overall, and 3-5-4 in conference play, posting its lowest overall win total and the most ties in team history last season.
Aiding the Matadors in their quest to claim the Big West crown is an experienced squad comprised of nine returning starters and 16 letterwinners, making this team one of the more experienced groups in the Big West.
Leading the returnees in Sunghyun Kim (4 goals, 3 assists), sophomore Camilo Rojas (4 goals, 1 assist), and second team All-Big West selection sophomore Rafael Garcia (2 goals, 2, assists). Returning for his final season is senior Kevin Guppy, a fixture in the net for the Matadors who has played in 60 of the 61 matches in his career.
Already the school record holder in career wins (29) and shutouts (21.5), Guppy has a realistic chance of passing Christian Perez for the all-time leader in career saves.
Looking to end their senior season on a successful note are forward Devin Deldo, midfielder Ben Cox, and defenseman Bo Miller. All three athletes played in every game but one for the Matadors last season, with Deldo looking to improve on his four-goal performance last season.
Up front, forwards Matthias Bonvehi, Adrian Lopez, Moy Gomez, and Milan Radovic are an aggressive offensive unit that was responsible for almost 1/5 of the total shots taken by the Matadors last season.
In midfield, juniors Dylan Riley and Luis Smith look to equal, if not better their performance on the field last year. Riley started in every game, and collected three assists, while his teammate Smith started in 11 of the 17 games he played in and earned an assist in the process.
CSUN also welcomes back defenders Chad Borak, Nicholas Hamilton, Jeremy Hohn, and Robart Pate. Borak is looking to rebound from an ankle injury that allowed him to only play in two matches last he was granted a medical redshirt last season. Hamilton and Hohn played in 18 and 16 games respectively last season, with Pate starting in 17 of the 19 games that he played in last season. All three will be counted upon to make key contributions on the field this season whether off the bench, or as a member of the starting 11.
Making their Matador debuts are are transfer student-athletes Nicolas Christou, Cameron Sims, Christopher Leiva, Pradeep Naina, Michael Barbieto, and Ruben Rodriguez. Four true freshmen also made the roster this season, with goalie Jake Wright, and defenders Joe Franco, Matthew Chavez, and Daniel Crandall ready to compete and contribute this season for Coach Davila.
Looking Ahead - Next week the Matadors travel to Fullerton to participate in the second of three tournaments this season. On Friday, Sept. 5 the Matadors are scheduled to Cal State Bakersfield at 2:30pm, and then face UNLV on Sunday, Sept. 7 at 4:30pm.