NORTHRIDGE, Calif. ---
The Cal State Northridge women's soccer program, led by seventh-year head coach Keith West, has released its schedule for the upcoming 2012 season. Beginning in early August, the Matadors will take on a challenging slate of non-conference contests before starting another year of Big West Conference competition.
In all, CSUN will play eight games and face seven opponents who participated in the 2011 NCAA Tournament. The Matadors have a favorable start to their season, playing six of their first seven matches at Matador Soccer Field. Last season, the Matadors had one of the top home attendance averages in the country and ultimately play 12 of their 19 regular season contests at home.
"We are very excited to have so many home matches this season and look forward to seeing the community come out to see some great soccer," West said. "We wanted to challenge ourselves in the non-conference and believe we have a schedule that will prepare us for Big West play."
Northridge opens the season at home with a match against Arizona State on Aug. 17 at 7:30 p.m. Two days later, CSUN hits the road for a contest against San Diego, its first of two contests with the Toreros.
From there, CSUN plays five-straight home games. Baylor (Aug. 24, 7 p.m.), Fresno State (Aug. 26, 1 p.m.), Michigan (Aug. 30, 7 p.m.), Tennessee (Sept. 7, 7 p.m.) and USC (Sept. 9, 6:30 p.m.) all come calling to Matador Soccer Field during the extended homestand. The Bears and Lady Volunteers both participated in the NCAA Tournament in 2011 while USC, Fresno State and Michigan have reached the postseason in past seasons.
Northridge takes a break from home for a Sept. 21 contest at Santa Clara. Following the Broncos match, CSUN returns home for a Sept. 23 contest with San Diego. CSUN continues its tour of the West Coast Conference with a road contest at Portland on Sept. 27. The Pilots led the nation in home average attendance while Santa Clara ranked near the top as well. All three WCC clubs made the 2011 NCAA Tournament.
After the trip to the Pacific Northwest, the Matadors open league play by hosting newcomer Hawai'i in a Sept. 30 contest at 6 p.m. at Matador Soccer Field.
Northridge remains at home for its next two league contests: against Cal State Fullerton on Oct. 5 at 7 p.m., followed by an Oct. 7 contest with UC Riverside at 5 p.m. All CSUN students receive free admission to all home contests.
From there, CSUN hits the road for the California central coast, facing Cal Poly (Oct. 12) and UC Santa Barbara (Oct. 14). The Matadors return home from that trip to close out their home portion of the schedule, hosting Pacific on Oct. 19 at 7 p.m., followed by an Oct. 21 meeting with UC Davis at 1 p.m. Before the game with the Aggies, CSUN will honor its senior class.
The Matadors close out the 2012 regular season with a pair of road contests, having to face UC Irvine on Oct. 26 and Long Beach State on Oct. 28. Both the Anteaters and 49ers represented the league in the NCAA Tournament last year.
CSUN, who finished third in the Big West for the second-straight season, has a strong group of returning players looking to clinch the program's first ever NCAA postseason berth. The squad returns 19 letterwinners, highlighted by 2012 All-Big West honorees Cynthia Jacobo, Melissa Fernandez and Katie Russ.
"We have a great group of returning players who know what it takes to compete in the Big West and at the highest level of Division I," West added. "I also expect our incoming players to come in and challenge the returning group, which should make for an intense and exciting training camp."