Matador Minute with Keith West

What are your thoughts on the season as it quickly approaches?

I think we will be a very strong team this year. We have a great blend of experienced players and newcomers, giving us our best team balance in several years.

How does it help the team to have two accomplished captains in seniors Nalena Betancourt and Tryna Tafoya?

It is an incredible luxury that the two hardest working players on our team are also our team captains. Both Tryna and Nalena serve as great examples for their teammates and impact the team in a positive way through their work ethic and dedication.

What are your thoughts on the team's 2008 schedule?

I think it is a great schedule with tremendous balance. We are playing teams from several different leagues, including four Pac 10 schools and three WCC members. We are especially looking forward to taking the pitch against the defending NCAA champions, USC. Plus, the Big West Conference continues to be a very tough, competitive league.

How did the team's 3-1-2 finish in 2007 spur the team during spring play and for the 2008 season?

I am very optimistic that we will be able to pick up in 2008 right where we left off in 2007. We have a talented blend of newcomers and returning experience and I am excited to see the team gel as it moves towards accomplishing its goals.

How will the team's goaltending look in 2008?

I think we have a lot of talent and depth at the position, more so than we have had in past seasons. Sophomore Ivette Esqueda is a tremendous team player who the team rallied around at the end of 2007 and she responded by making plays and helping us win several games, including the 1-0 victory over UC Santa Barbara. I also expect incoming freshmen Christina Herrera and Hayley Hawes to challenge for time in net and give us quality depth.

How reassuring is it to return three starters to the backline in 2008?

We are excited, because Nalena, junior Sydney Vermillion and sophomore Jasmine Pratt all bring tremendous ability and experience to the position. All three played in all 18 matches in 2007, and that, coupled with the continued development of sophomore Katie Fox and the arrival of freshmen Nicole Cruz, Brielle Slepicoff, Katie Russ, Marie Hirsch and Emily Geckle give us quality depth in defense and make it a strength of this team.

Moving along, what can fans expect out of the play in midfield?

These players showed incredible improvement and dedication in the spring and are ready to carry it over to the 2008 season. Tryna and sophomore Sonia Espitia bring speed and skill to the outside of our attack. Tryna already has nine career assists, demonstrating her ability to get others involved. Senior Tina Lutizetti, junior Kelley Ross and sophomores Katie Coulas and Michelle Moore will all challenge for playing time in the midfield and freshmen Sinead Vaughan and Marissa Miller add to the depth of the squad.

What are your thoughts on CSUN's strikers in 2008?

Getting senior Kristal Phillips and sophomore Farryn Townley back is a huge lift to this team. Despite missing the 2007 season due to injuries, both played well in the spring campaign and are itching to get back out on the pitch. Junior Adrienne Dickerson and freshmen Alexis Barbara give us the ability to find the right combinations to make the team successful.

What would you tell fans about the 2008 Cal State Northridge women's soccer team?

I would tell them that we are going to deliver a promising, attacking soccer team that will be fun to watch and support. We have a great facility that has just been improved substantially with the addition of a new scoreboard. We hope that our style of soccer and the level of competition traveling to Northridge will draw fans out to Matador Soccer Field.

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