Matadors Face Sun Devils, Toreros to Open New Campaign
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. ---
The Cal State Northridge women's soccer team opens its 2012 season with a pair of non-conference matches. The season officially starts on Friday, August 17 with a 7:30 p.m. match against Arizona State at Matador Soccer Field. Two days later, CSUN hits the road for the first time when it takes on the USD Toreros in San Diego on Sunday, August 19 at 1 p.m. Both games will feature live stats and the contest with Sun Devils will feature a live internet-only broadcast, provided by Stretch Internet, on GoMatadors.com.
The Matadors enter 2012 looking to build on its recent success by earning the program's first-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament. The team returns 18 letterwinners and eight starters from last season's squad that finished 7-10-2 overall and 4-3-1 in the Big West Conference. Northridge qualified for its third-straight Big West Tournament, earning the No. 3 seed, but fell 2-0 to eventual tournament champion Long Beach State in the quarterfinals.
Leading the charge for CSUN is a group of nine seniors who have helped lift the program to new heights. Cynthia Jacobo (GK) and Katie Russ (D) both were named to the 2012 All-Big West Preseason Team and anchor a perennially stringent Matador defense.
On offense, Melissa Fernandez begins her final season at CSUN with five career goals, 10 career assists and 20 career points, all top marks among current players. Fellow seniors Nicole Cruz, Jessa Yukihiro and Marisa Miller all found the back of the net in 2011.
Arizona State enters the 2012 season picked to finish sixth in the highly competitive Pac 12 after finishing 2011 with an 8-11 overall record and a 4-7 league mark. Devin Marshall is the team's top returning scorer after she totaled 4 goals and two assists in 2011. The Sun Devils have won the previous two meetings with CSUN.
San Diego received votes in the NSCAA Preseason Poll and were picked to finish third in the highly competitive West Coast Conference after finishing 2011 with a 12-8-2 overall record and a 7-1 mark in the WCC. Sophomore Maria Butera is the Torero's top returning scorer, having amassed five goals and an assist in 2011. USD owns a 6-1 all-time mark against CSUN, though the Matadors won the last meeting in the series. CSUN will host USD at Matador Soccer Field on Sept. 23 at 6 p.m.
Next week, the Matadors play a pair of home matches against Baylor (Aug. 24 at 7 p.m.) and Fresno State (Aug. 26 at 1 p.m.) as they open a stretch of five-straight contests at Matador Soccer Field. All CSUN students receive free admission to all home soccer matches with their school I.D.
Jacobo & Myers
Senior Cynthia Jacobo was named to the Preseason All-Big West Team by the league's coaches prior to the start of the 2012 season. In 2011, Jacobo received Big West Goalkeeper of the Year and All-Big West First Team honors after posting another spectacular season for the Matadors. In her junior season, Jacobo posted a 6-10-2 overall record, 60 saves, four shutouts and a 1.47 goals-against-average. In Big West play, she went 4-3-1 with one shutout, 32 saves and a 1.41 GAA. Jacobo earned two Big West Defensive Player of the Week awards in and received All-Big West honors for the third-straight year. For her career, Jacobo ranks second in school history with 22 wins, second with 16 career shutouts and fourth with 176 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
Senior Katie Russ was named to the Preseason All-Big West Team by the league's coaches prior to the start of the 2012 season. In 2011, Russ earned All-Big West Second Team honors after anchoring the Matadors' defensive line for the third-straight season. Russ picked up her first assist of the season in the Matadors' 1-0 victory over Long Beach State. Russ then scored her first goal of the season and second of her career in the Matadors' victory at LMU.
Fernandez Finds Finishing Form
Senior Melissa Fernandez earned All-Big West Conference Second Team honors in 2011 after finishing with a career-high four goals and 12 points. She has 10 career assists, tied with three others for fifth in school history. In her junior season, Fernandez had a career-high 12 points and she led the team with 53 shots, a total that ranked third in school history for a single season. She enters her senior season with 104 career shots, the seventh-most in school history.
It's Miller Time
Senior Marisa Miller found the back of the net in CSUN's exhibition at LMU when she buried a cross from Amanda Smith. A team captain in 2012, MIller scored the first goal of her collegiate career in the Matadors' 3-0 victory over CSU Bakersfield near the end of the 2011 campaign. In her junior season, Miller appeared in 14 matches while recording seven shots and one assist. The assist, the second helper of her career, came in the Matadors' victory over Princeton.
Senior Nicole Cruz made a triumphant return to the pitch in 2011. 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. Against the Lions, she tallied her first career goal and then followed it up with the game-winning strike in CSUN's 1-0 victory over UCSB. Cruz finished the season with 11 shots, putting five on goal.
We Need a Yuki-Hiro
Senior Jessa Yukihiro had two goals in her junior season at CSUN. She tallied her second goal of the 2011 season in the Matadors' victory over CSU Bakersfield. She 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 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 finished with six shots on goal.
Junior Amanda Smith tied for the team lead with four assists in the 2011 season. She added her fourth 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. For her career, Smith now has six assists. Her sister is No. 23 Amilee Smith, a sophomore midfielder.
Old McDaniel Had a Farm
Junior Chloe McDaniel will be counted upon once again to play a prominent role for the Matadors. In 2011, McDaniel posted her first career goal and assist as she appeared in all 19 matches for the Matadors. Her first career goal came in a 2-2 draw at Purdue and her assist helped CSUN topple Long Beach State.
Junior 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 appeared in 13 matches and had two shots to go along with the 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. In fact, CSUN had two draws in the 2011 season after a 1-1 tie at Pacific in both team's conference opener. 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 58 (60%), that were decided by one goal, owning a 19-16 (.543) mark in those contests. In fact, 25 (43% 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 UCI and UCSB have played in a league-low 14 such results.
Tickets for all home men's matches are available through the CSUN Associated Students Ticket Office. Adults are $8, 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.