Matadors Head to Long Beach for Big West Semifinal Meeting with 49ers
Northridge Meets Long Beach State in Rematch of 2010 Semifinals
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. --- The Cal State Northridge women's soccer team (7-9-2) travels to Long Beach State in the semifinals of the Big West Tournament on Thursday, Nov. 3 at George Allen Field. Kickoff between the Matadors and 49ers is slated for 2 p.m. with both live stats and live audio available on GoMatadors.com.
Last week, CSUN fell 3-1 to UC Riverside before securing a 3-0 victory over CSU Bakersfield on senior day. Against the Highlanders, Melissa Fernandez opened the game's scoring in the eighth minute, but UCR countered with two goals in the next four minutes to take the lead for good. On senior day against the Roadrunners, Marisa Miller, Haley Chee and Jessa Yukihiro scored in the opening hour of competition and Haley Hawes made four saves in net for her first career shutout victory.
Northridge arrives in the league's postseason for the third-straight year and as the third seed for the second-straight season. That has set up a rematch with Long Beach State, who eliminated the Matadors in last year's semifinal, 2-1, also at George Allen Field. In their previous meeting this year, Northridge scored a 1-0 victory over LBSU on a goal in the 89th minute by senior Heidi Farran.
Long Beach State brings in a potent offensive attack into Thursday's contest, having scored 43 goals in its 19 matches. The 49ers' loss to CSUN was one of just three times that LBSU was shutout this season and they ended the year with a 2-0 win over UC Davis and a 4-2 result against Pacific. Nadia Link leads Long Beach State and the Big West Conference with 14 goals, 10 assists and 38 points. Joining her in the attack is Shawna Gordon, who has seven goals and nine assists, and Nicole Hubbard, who has eight goals and three assists.
On defense, Kaitlyn Gustaves has played every minute in net for Long Beach State in 2011. She owns a 0.93 goals-against-average, 55 saves and a .753 save percentage with seven shutouts.
Thus far in 2011, LBSU is 9-1 on their home turf with just a loss to California as the only blemish. Northridge's last victory in Long Beach came during the 2004 season, a 2-1 result. Last year, the Matadors played twice at George Allen Field, suffering 2-1 setbacks in both contests.
It's Miller Time
Junior Marisa Miller scored the first goal of her collegiate career in the Matadors' 3-0 victory over CSU Bakersfield. After Hannah Wissler made a long run up the left side of the field, she fed a cross into the penalty area that Miller one-timed into the near post. Miller nearly doubled her career total later in the match, but rang one off the post. For the season, Miller has appeared in 13 matches while recording seven shots with one assist.
Sophomore Haley Chee scored the first goal of her collegiate career in the Matadors' 3-0 victory over CSU Bakersfield. With roughly six minutes left before halftime, Chee took a pass from Amanda Smith and sent a floating shot into the upper netting. For the season, Chee has appeared in 12 matches and has two shots to go along with the goal.
We Need a Yuki-Hiro
Junior Jessa Yukihiro picked up her second goal of the season in the Matadors' victory over CSU Bakersfield. After she drew a foul that resulted in a yellow card for a Roadrunner, Yukihiro found herself with an empty net after Shannon Ward's free kick was mishandled by the CSUB keeper. She tallied 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 and earned 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 six shots on goal.
Sophomore Amanda Smith recorded her fourth assist in the Matadors' victory over CSU Bakersfield, picking up the helper on Haley Chee's goal late in the first half. Smith earned 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 six assists. Her sister is No. 23 Amilee Smith, a freshman midfielder.
Fernandez Finds Finishing Form
Junior Melissa Fernandez scored her fourth goal of the season in the Matadors' loss at UC Riverside on Oct. 27. She added her team-leading fourth assist of the season in the Matadors' victory at Cal State Fullerton. She now has 10 career assists, tied with three former Matadors for fifth in school history. For the season, Fernandez has a career-high 12 points and she leads the team with 48 shots, a total that ranks sixth in the Big West Conference. In school history, the 48 shots are the third-most in a single season at CSUN. Fernandez also added a goal and an assist in the Matadors' 3-0 victory at LMU, her first career three-point performance.
We Interrupt this Jets-Raiders Game...
Senior Heidi Farran picked up her team-leading seventh goal of the season in the Matadors' victory at Cal State Fullerton. She also produced the game's only goal as Northridge defeated Long Beach State, 1-0, on Oct. 14. Farran also scored twice over the Matadors' opening weekend of Big West Conference play and has four goals in the eight conference contests. For the year, she leads the team in goals and points (16) and is tied for eighth in points and sixth in goals among all Big West players. The seven goals have raised her career total to 12, tying her for the sixth-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.
Brie All That You Can Brie
Senior Brielle Slepicoff recorded her third assist of the season on Heidi Farran's goal in the Matadors' victory over Cal State Fullerton on Oct. 20. Slepicoff also had a goal and an assist in the Matadors' victory over Princeton. For her career, Slepicoff has three goals, nine assists and 15 points. 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.
Jacobo & Myers
Junior Cynthia Jacobo made a spectacular save to help lead the Matadors to a 1-0 victory at Cal State Fullerton on Oct. 20. She also 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 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 22 wins, second with 16 career shutouts and fourth with 164 career saves. Jacobo appears to save her best for the conference portion of the schedule, carrying a 14-6-1 (.690) record with 12 shutouts against league opposition in the regular 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.
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. In the regular season finale against CSU Bakersfield, sophomore Shannon Ward and freshman Hannah Wissler each recorded their first career assists.
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 22-1-1 mark in those contests since the start of the 2008 season. That record includes the Matadors' 3-0 victory over CSU Bakersfield, CSUN's 3-1 victory at UC Davis and a 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 15-0 when they score at least three goals in a match. CSUN's last loss when scoring at least three goals came at UC Davis on October 16, 2005.
Live By the Sword, Die by the Sword
Since the start of the 2009 season, Northridge has played in 35 matches, out of a total of 57 (61%), that were decided by one goal, owning a 19-16 (.543) mark in those contests. In fact, 25 (44% of all games played since 2009) have been 1-0 affairs in which CSUN owns a 15-10 (.600) mark. Among Big West schools, the 25 1-0 contests are five more than the next squad, UC Riverside, while UC Irvine has played in a league-low 12 such results.
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.