Matadors Storm to 3-0 Victory at LMU

The Cal State Northridge women's soccer team (2-5-1) defeated LMU, 3-0, in a non-conference match Friday afternoon at Sullivan Field. Melissa Fernandez had a goal and an assist and Nicole Cruz and Katie Russ added goals as the Matadors won for the first time in school history at the home of the Lions.

The Matadors were the clear aggressors all afternoon in their victory. They finished with 13 shots in the match, putting five on goal. Conversley, the team limited LMU's attempts all afternoon, holding the Lions to just 10 shots and two attempts on goal.

Fernandez opened the scoring with some nifty footwork after entering the game as a substitute. In the 27th minute, she took a through ball from Heidi Farran and one-timed it into the far corner of the netting. The goal was her second of the season and Alexis Barbara also picked up an assist on the play.

"Heidi gave me a great split pass on a diagonal ball. I had an idea where the goalie was going to be so I tried to aim it to the far post," Fernandez said.

Northridge doubled its lead in the 39th minute off a corner kick. Stephanie Norton launched the ball into a scrum in front of the Lions' net and it fell to the feet of Cruz. The junior kept the ball along the ground and found the netting for her first career goal. 

"It is an amazing feeling to get my first goal in my first game back," Cruz said. "I just tried to keep moving all game and did a good job of running forward and getting involved in the play."

In the second half, the Matadors kept up the pressure and found their third goal in the 64th minute. Fernandez lined up a free kick and blasted the ball towards a group of players. After a deflection, it fell to Russ and she deposited it for her first goal of the season and her second career tally.

The three-point performance was the first of Fernandez's career and the assist was the ninth of her career, tying her for eighth in school history.

In net, Cynthia Jacobo made two saves to post her first shutout of the season and 13th of her career. The win was the 18th of her career, moving her into a tie with April Cline for second in school history.

For Northridge head coach Keith West, the win was a product of aggression and character.

"The girls had great attitudes today and really brought a lot of character to the match," he added. "We need to be more consistent in our efforts, but if we start doing that, I think we'll be a very tough team for the league campaign."

The Matadors hope to keep the momentum rolling when they host No. 25 Portland on Sept. 25 at 2 p.m. The game is part of a CSUN soccer doubleheader as the men's soccer team takes on Seattle at 11 a.m.

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