Matadors Battle Titans, Anteaters with Playoff Implications
The Cal State Northridge women's soccer team (5-7-2, 3-1-1 Big West) splits its upcoming week with a match on the road at Cal State Fullerton on Oct. 20 at 6 p.m. before a home contest against No. 21 UC Irvine on Oct. 23 at 7 p.m. With three games remaining on the league schedule, the Matadors hope to keep pace with their league rivals to earn a berth in the Big West Tournament.
Last week, CSUN pulled out a 1-0 victory over Long Beach State on Oct. 14 at Matador Soccer Field. It took 89 minutes of action, but the Matadors got the game's only goal late to seal the victory over the 49ers. Sophomore Chloe McDaniel delivered a long throw in to the head of Katie Russ, who flicked it back toward the center of the goal mouth. Senior Heidi Farran then crashed through a group of players to put a left foot on the volley and slot it to the left post for her team-leading sixth goal of the season.
In net, junior Cynthia Jacobo made three saves as Northridge held a vaunted Long Beach State attack to a opponent season-low seven shots for the contest. For her efforts, Jacobo was named the Big West Conference Defensive Player of the Week on Oct. 17, the second time this season she has received the award.
This week, Northridge takes two very important steps towards a spot in the league tournament's final four. On Oct. 20, the Matadors make the trip to Orange County to face Cal State Fullerton. The Titans bring in a 7-7-2 overall record and a 1-3 mark in Big West action. The Titans boast an attack that has seen six different players record at least two goals on the season. Ann Marie Tangorra, a junior transfer, leads the squad with five goals, four assists, 14 points and 40 shots on the year. Rebecca Wilson, a freshman forward, has three goals and three assists, while Nikki McCants has four goals on the year.
In net, Lindsey Maricic has started and played all the minutes this season for Fullerton. She has a 1.05 goals-against-average, 64 saves and a .780 save percentage to go along with four shutouts. The Titans have played nine matches thus far that have gone to overtime, holding a 3-4-2 mark in those contests.
Sunday, the Matadors welcome in the Anteaters of No. 21 UC Irvine. The league leaders at 4-1-1 (13 points), the Anteaters have been in or near the national top 25 all season and have won four-straight matches. Natalia Ledezma leads the team with eight goals, six assists and 22 points. Lexi Kopf adds eight goals and 17 points while Cami Privett has five goals and 13 points on the year.
In net, Jennifer Randazzo has played all the minutes for UC Irvine this season. She sports a 1.02 GAA, 65 saves and a .793 save percentage to go along with five shutouts. There have been only two goals scored in the past four contests between CSUN and UCI. The Anteaters are tied with Oregon State for No. 21 in the latest Soccer Times Coaches Poll (October 17).
Jacobo & Myers -- Big West Defensive Player of the Week
Junior Cynthia Jacobo produced three saves to help lead CSUN to a 1-0 victory over Long Beach State on Oct. 14, earning Big West Conference Defensive Player of the Week honors. Jacobo also made five saves to post her second shutout of the season and help the Matadors to their first victory over UC Santa Barbara since 2007. Jacobo was also named Big West Conference Defensive Player of the Week on Oct. 3 as she helped lead the Matadors to four important road points to start league play. For her career, Jacobo ranks second in school history with 21 wins, second with 15 career shutouts and fourth with 157 career saves. She has earned All-Big West Second Team honors following each of the last two seasons and was Big West Freshman of the Year in 2009. Jacobo appears to save her best for the conference portion of the schedule, carrying a 13-4-1 (.750) record with 11 shutouts against league opposition in the regular season.
We Interrupt this Jets-Raiders Game...
Senior Heidi Farran knocked in the game's only goal as Northridge defeated Long Beach State, 1-0, on Oct. 14. The senior form San Pedro, Calif., collected a headed pass from Katie Russ and buried it to the left post to help lead CSUN to a victory over her hometown squad. Farran also scored twice over the Matadors' opening weekend of Big West Conference play and has three goals in the five conference contests. For the year, she leads the team in goals and points (14) and is tied for 10th in points and ninth in goals among all Big West players. The three goals have raised her career total to 11, tying her for the seventh-most in school history. In CSUN's victory over Princeton, Farran scored goals in the fifth and 21st minutes. The multi-goal performance was the first by a Northridge player since the 2006 season.
Russ to the Rescue
Junior Katie Russ picked up her first assist of the season in the Matadors' 1-0 victory over Long Beach State. She headed a long throw-in from Chloe McDaniel towards the goal mouth for Heidi Farran to clean up in the 89th minute. Russ scored her first goal of the season and second of her career in the Matadors' victory at LMU. She collected a loose ball off a Melissa Fernandez free kick and blasted it into the far post.
Old McDaniel Had a Farm
Sophomore Chloe McDaniel earned her first career assist in the Matadors' victory over Long Beach State on Oct. 14. She started the play with a long throw-in that Katie Russ was able to head toward the goal and which Heidi Farran cleaned up in the 89th minute to secure the victory. McDaniel also tallied her first career goal during the 2011 season, heading in a goal off a corner kick in CSUN's 2-2 at Purdue on Sept. 9.
Junior Nicole Cruz scored the match's only goal in Northridge's 1-0 victory over UC Santa Barbara for her second goal of the season and of her career. So far in 2011, Cruz has made a triumphant return to the pitch. After sitting out the 2010 season, Cruz had not appeared in any matches until being called upon as a substitute in the first half against LMU. She found the back of the net by sliding home a loose ball off a corner kick to give Northridge a 2-0 lead at the time.
Sophomore Amanda Smith recorded her third assist of the season in the Matadors' victory over UC Santa Barbara. From her right midfield position, Smith cut to her left foot and delivered a cross that Nicole Cruz slotted into the far post. Smith is now tied for the team lead in assists with Melissa Fernandez and also had helpers in wins against Princeton and UC Davis. For her career, Smith now has five assists. Her sister is No. 23 Amilee Smith, a freshman midfielder.
Fernandez Finds Finishing Form
Junior Melissa Fernandez picked up her career-high third goal of the season in the Matadors' victory at UC Davis. In the 13th minute of action, she headed home a cross from Amanda Smith. For the season, Fernandez has a career-high nine points on the three goals and three assists. She now has nine career assists, tied with four former Matadors for eighth in school history. She leads the team with 38 shots, a total that ranks fifth in the Big West Conference. Fernandez added a goal and an assist in the Matadors' 3-0 victory at LMU, her first career three-point performance.
We Need a Yuki-Hiro
Junior Jessa Yukihiro scored her first goal as a Matador in CSUN's 3-1 victory at UC Davis. After picking up the ball on a breakaway, Yukihiro was tackled from behind, resulting in two red cards for the Aggies and a free kick from roughly 20 yards clear of the frame. She then ripped the ball into the upper left corner of the net. For the year, Yukihiro has four shots on goal.
Brie All That You Can Brie
Senior Brielle Slepicoff had a goal and an assist in the Matadors' victory over Princeton. She provided the game-winning assist on Heidi Farran's goal in the 21st minute and then worked a nifty give-and-go with Amanda Smith in the second half to record her third career goal. One of the team's fastest players, Slepicoff earned All-Big West First Team and NSCAA All-West Region Second Team honors for her work on the defensive back line in 2010. She was also recognized for her work in the classroom, receiving NSCAA Academic All-West Region First Team honors as a biology major.
Lending a Helping Hand
Junior Stephanie Norton picked up her second assist of the season on Nicole Cruz's goal in the victory at LMU and had her first career assist at Texas. Senior Alexis Barbara also has two assists in 2011, picking up a helper on Melissa Fernandez's goal at LMU and adding the second of her career in the Matadors' draw with Purdue. Against Princeton, junior Marisa Miller recorded her second career helper on Heidi Farran's first goal.
Finally, a Tie (or Two)
The Matadors' 2-2 draw with Purdue on Sept. 9 was CSUN's first double-overtime tie with an opponent since a scoreless affair at UC Irvine on Oct. 23, 2008, a span of 49 matches. Now, CSUN has two draws in the 2011 season after a 1-1 tie at Pacific in both team's conference opener. In fact, the Matadors have only reached overtime on five occasions since the start of the 2009 campaign and are 1-2-2 in those games. The Matadors went the entire 2009 and 2010 seasons without a draw. That is fewest draws among all Big West teams since the start of the 2009 season.
Good Things Come in Twos and Threes
The Matadors have put together quite a record when they score two goals, posting a 21-1-1 mark in those contests since the start of the 2008 season. That record includes CSUN's 3-1 victory at UC Davis and 3-0 victory at LMU on Sept. 23, the program's first-ever victory at the home of the Lions. The only blemishes on the record are a 3-2 loss to UC Santa Barbara on Oct. 4, 2009 and a 2-2 draw with Purdue at the Boilermaker Challenge during the 2011 campaign. In fact, under Coach West, the Matadors are a perfect 14-0 when they score at least three goals in a match. Northridge's cumulative score in those 14 contests is 51-13. CSUN's last loss when scoring at least three goals came at UC Davis on October 16, 2005, when current Northridge men's soccer head coach Terry Davila was in charge of both programs.
Live By the Sword, Die by the Sword
Since the start of the 2009 season, Northridge has played in 34 matches, out of a total of 53 (64%), that were decided by one goal, owning a 18-16 (.529) mark in those contests. In fact, 24 (45% of all games played since 2009) have been 1-0 affairs in which CSUN owns a 14-10 (.583) mark. Among Big West schools, the 24 1-0 contests are four more than the next squad, UC Riverside, while UC Irvine has played in a league-low 12 such results.
CSUN Shines in Shootout
The Matadors got to participate in an exhibition shootout in their time at the Boilermaker Challenge. After managing a 2-2 draw with Purdue, the nature of the tournament stipulated that a winner be decided to see whom would advance to the championship match of the competition. In the event, Shannon Ward, Heidi Farran and Katie Russ all found the back of the net and Cynthia Jacobo made two saves to send the Matadors through, where they eventually lost 1-0 to Dayton. NCAA soccer does not start using shootouts to break ties until postseason tournaments and even then, if a game were to be decided by a penalty kick shootout, the game is still scored as a draw for both sides.
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.