Big West Competition Begins Wednesday Night at UC Riverside

Sept. 29, 2009

Matador Men's Soccer Notes Get Acrobat Reader


Wednesday, September 30: Matadors at UC Riverside, 7:00 P.M. PT (UCR Soccer Complex)      

Saturday, October 3: Matadors at New Mexico, 6:00 P.M. PT (UNM Soccer/Track Complex) - GameTracker


Friday, September 25 vs. Denver, T, 0-0

Sunday, September 27 vs. Coastal Carolina, L, 2-1

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - The Cal State Northridge Matadors (5-2-1) continue their seven-game road trip with stops in Riverside and Albuquerque, New Mexico this week as they begin conference play against the Highlanders and close out their non-conference schedule with a match against the University of New Mexico Lobos.


The Matadors carried a five-game win streak to the campus of Cal State Fullerton as one of four participants in the 2009 Big West Challenge. Looking to repeat as tournament champions as the Matadors claimed the tournament title in 2008, CSUN faced the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation's preseason #1-ranked team in the Denver Pioneers. Even though CSUN possessed the ball for a majority of the game in the Pioneer's defensive third fo the pitch, neither team was able to score a goal on one another, and finished with a scoreless tie after two overtime periods. Northridge dominated the stat sheet as they outshot their opponents 28-12, took more shots on goal by a 10-6 margin, allowed Denver only one shot in the entire first half, with Matador goalkeeper Michael Abalos securing all six saves in the second half. Ten different Matadors took a shot during the game, led by midfielder Sunghyun Kim with eight. Following their scoreless tie, CSUN returned to Fullerton to face the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers last Sunday. Even though the Matadors dominated the game in every way, both on the pitch and in the scoresheet, the Chanticleers built a 2-0 lead before senior forward Milan Radovic scored in the 62nd minute to put the Matadors on the board. Northridge fired a barrage of shots during the last minutes of the game in an effort to net the equalizing goal, but was unable to do so giving Coastal Carolina a 2-1 victory.


The UC Riverside Highlanders (1-6-0) dropped both of their match-ups last week and have lost three straight overall. On September 20th, the Highlanders lost a 3-0 decision to Illinois-Chicago on the campus of UNLV and fell to host Loyola Marymount 1-0 last Thursday on a late goal in the 87th minute. A total of five different Highlanders have reached the back of the net this season. Senior Robert Cate leads the team with six shots on goal this season to go along with a goal and nine total shots. UC Riverside newcomer, goalkeeper Cody Suppe has been productive in his first season in front of the net, saving 18 shots, which puts him in a tie with Matador goalkeeper Brandon Ibarra for sixth in the Big West Conference. The Matadors have had their fair share of success against UC Riverside historically as they are unbeaten in their last 20 meetings with the Highlanders, including winning the last fourteen decisions. Northridge defeated UCR twice last season, winning a narrow 1-0 game at Matador Field and taking a 3-1 decision at UCR Stadium late last season. 

Series History: Northridge leads 15-1-6

Home Record: 8-0-3, Away Record: 7-1-3, Neutral Record: 0-0-0

Last Home Meeting: 8/5/08 - Matadors 1, UC Riverside 0

Last Away Meeting: 11/1/08 - Matadors 3, UC Riverside 1


No strangers to one another, the Cal State Northridge Matadors will travel to Albuquerque, N.M. to face the Lobos in CSUN's final non-conference game of 2009. Having lost the last four straight games against New Mexico, the Matadors will not only look to snap their losing streak, but also earn their first won on Lobo soil as CSUN is 0-5 in games played at the UNM Soccer and Track Complex. Adding fuel to the fire are the results of their 2005 NCAA Postseason match-up, a game that New Mexico won in overtime by a score of 1-0 to eliminate the Matadors in the Round of 16. This year's Lobo team is currently 5-3 having won four of their last five games played. Senior forward Justin Davis leads the team with four goals, and is one of eight Lobos who have found the back of the net this season. Junior goalkeeper Justin Fite will most likely start in-between the pipes for New Mexico; with one shutout under his belt Fite has made 29 saves and currently has a 1.28 goals against average.

Series History: Northridge trails 3-7-1

Home Record: 2-2-1, Away Record: 0-5-0, Neutral Record: 1-0-0

Last Home Meeting: 9/28/03 - Matadors 4, New Mexico 0

Last Away Meeting: 11/1/08 - Matadors 0, New Mexico 1

Last Neutral Meeting: 9/20/07 - Matadors 0, New Mexico 4


Northridge will open conference action on the road against UC Riverside looking for their first victory against a Big West opponent in 2009, and their 18th conference-opening victory in the program's history. The Matadors hold a 17-7-4 record in conference openers, and sport an impressive 19-6-3 mark in home, conference-opening games.


With two clutch goals during their two games played at the Prego Italian Express Tournament hosted by SMU, Dylan Riley was named Big West Conference Player of the Week, Most Valuable Player for the tournament and picked up a spot on the College Soccer News National Team of the Week. Riley's clutch goals helped the Matadors turn their trip to Dallas into a successful one as they finished as tournament champions once again.. His goal against Tulsa tied the score in the 75th minute and his score against SMU in the 69th minute proved to be the game-winner. On the season, the Matador senior is a perfect two for two on shot attempts, and his pair of goals is currently second-best on the team. With Riley grabbing all-conference player of the week honors, this marks the first time since 2005 when Willie Sims and Kevin Guppy earned player of the week honors, that two Matadors received Player of the Week accolades on back-to-back weeks. 


Thanks to a 5-1-0 start to the 2009 season, the Matadors were ranked 24th in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) National Men's Soccer Rankings during the week of September 21-27. This was the first time the Matadors have been ranked in the NSCAA National Poll during the regular season since November 2005, when they finished the season ranked 14th in the nation. CSUN began the 2006 season ranked 19th in the NSCAA Preseason Poll, but did not return to the top-25 until recently.


The Cal State Northridge Matadors also find themselves amongst the top teams in the NCAA in a variety of categories. CSUN's 5-2-1 (.688 PCT.) record is the 44th best in the nation, with their .833 save percentage currently standing as the 31st highest percentage in the nation.


The Matadors crafted a five-game win streak before tying Denver at the Big West Challenge last week. This was the longest winning streak for CSUN since 2005, when the Matadors won six straight games. The longest winning streak in school history stands at eight games, a mark that was set 22 years ago during the 1987 season (October 21-December 5).


Going into their games against Denver and Coastal Carolina at the Big West Challenge, the Cal State Northridge Matadors brought with them a five-game winning streak. This is not the first time that a Davila-led squad possessed a lengthy winning streak  as his 2003 and 2004 teams also crafted a five game streak of their own with the 2005 group reeling off six straight victories before their respective streak was snapped.


Out of the eight games played this season by the Matador men, five games have been decided by one goal, including four of the last five games played. 


With their 2-1 victories over Tulsa and SMU at the Prego Italian Express Invitational, the Matadors claimed back-to-back tournament championships for the third time in the program's history (the team won the Matador Invitational on the weekend of September 11-13). Other teams who have claimed this feat are the 2005 team, they emerged as tournament champions in the Matador Soccer Invitational and adidas/Cal Legacy Classic (Berkeley, Calif). and the 2003 team who won both the Lobo Invitational (Albuquerque, N.M.) and UNLV/FILA Classic (Las Vegas, Nev.).


A goal scored by Cameron Sims in the eighth minute of their game against SMU  marked the first occasion this season that a Matador scored a goal in the first half as the other nine goals scored by the team took place after the 45 minute mark. 


Going into the season, the big question mark surrounding the team involved whomever was going to replace their previous record-setting goalkeeper. After six games the Matadors have found their answer with a pair of talented young athletes that have combined to allow only five goals, and currently sport a cumulative 0.85 goals against average. Sophomore goalkeeper Brandon Ibarra currently leads the league with a 0.75 GAA, while teammate Michael Abalos ranks #2 amongst conference `keepers with a 0.95 GAA.


Having produced numbers that have increased in his first three season at Northridge, midfielder Sunghyun Kim has amassed 42 points on 15 goals and 12 assists throughout the first three seasons of his collegiate career. The senior from Los Angeles, Calif. has started in 53 of the 57 games he has competed in prior to this season, and is the only senior in the entire conference who has earned All-Big West honors during his first three seasons as a student-athlete. In 2006 Kim was named to the Second Team as a freshman, received Honorable Mention honors his sophomore season, and followed that with a spot on the First Team last season. 


CSUN's inaugural home game of the 2009 season against Loyola Marymount on September 6 was the first of eight regular-season home games scheduled to take place. The game was the eleventh home-opener for the Matadors under the tutelage of head coach Terry Davila who increased his overall record to 8-3-0 in home openers with the 1-0 win over the Lions.


Last season, seniors Devin Deldo, Moy Gomez, and sophomore Rafael Garcia all missed a number of games due to injury. After each underwent grueling rehabilitation sessions throughout the off-season, all three student-athletes were directly involved on every goal scored by CSUN this season during their first three games (one exhibition, two regular season) played in 2009. In the Matadors' exhibition game against UNLV, Deldo ended up heading in the equalizing goal, while teammate Garcia netted the game-winning shot with just a few minutes left in regulation. Even though their goals will not count since they took place in an exhibition contest, the goal scored by Gomez in the Matadors' regular-season home-opener will go down in the record books as the first one scored by a Northridge player in 2009. 


In 2008, goalkeeper Brandon Ibarra served as a backup to the Big West Co-Goalkeeper of the Year. This season, Ibarra earned the starting spot as the Matadors' keeper, and in his second game as a member of the starting 11, the redshirt-sophomore picked up the first shutout of his career in front of his home fans in CSUN's 1-0 victory over Loyola Marymount. After waiting an entire season to earn his first shutout of his career, Ibarra had to only wait five more days to pick up his second as he helped the Matadors earn their second won of the season in a 2-0 effort over Fairleigh-Dickinson. Michael Abalos earned his first career shutout against Denver on September 25 at the Big West Challenge in a scoreless draw for the team's third shutout earned during their non-conference portion of the schedule.


In 2008, defenseman Matthew Chavez was the only true freshman to start a game for Coach Davila. Chavez played in 15 of the 17 matches, and was named to the starting line-up on ten of those 15 occasions. This season, freshman midfielder Rene Anguiano became the inaugural first-year player to earn a spot in the starting lineup against San Diego on the road and at home against both LMU and Fairleigh-Dickinson. Yuval Barak added his name to this exclusive list with his start in the Matadors' game against Milwaukee last Sunday. Although he redshirted the 2008 season, freshman Joe Franco has started in all eight games this season for Northridge in what will be his debut season on the field.


College Soccer News recently released their annual top-100 freshman to watch in 2009, with five Big West freshman receiving accolades from the publication. Out of the five, CSUN's own Luis Gil was amongst some of the most talented freshmen in the nation to watch. The native from Fillmore, Calif. will play midfield this season, and made his unofficial Matador debut against San Diego in the Matadors' season-opening game on September 1st.


Even though the season is only four games deep, the Matadors have outshot and drawn a higher amount of corner kicks than their opponents. So far in 2009, Northridge holds a 141-94 advantage in shots, and eleven more corner kicks than their opponents combined (49-38). Last season, the Matadors possessed  8-2-0 record whenever they took more shots than their opponents, and a 5-3-0 record when they drew more corner kicks. So far this season, the Matadors are 4-2-1 when outshooting their opponents and 3-2-0 when possessing the advantage in corner kicks. 


Matador soccer fans can sign-up to receive the latest thoughts, opinions, and information from head coach Terry Davila via Twitter throughout the season at Cal State Northridge is also the only member of the Big West Conference, and one of the few across the nation that provide live post-game interviews for free on the Athletic Department's YouTube page. Fans can watch interviews with their favorite players and coaches at throughout the season.