August 9, 2010

2010 Matador Women's Soccer Preview

Aug. 9, 2010

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NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -

For the first time in a few seasons, seniority reigns supreme with the Cal State Northridge women's soccer program. On a squad that finished second and hosted its first-ever home playoff game a year ago, Matador head coach Keith West and 15 players entering at least their third season with the team know that their familiarity may lead to some unfamiliar and championship territory.

In addition to the comforts of having a roster full of experienced student-athletes, the other big news surrounding the Matador program is the addition of lights to Matador Soccer Field. The women's team will be the first to play under the stars, hosting perennial national power Portland on Aug. 22 at 7 p.m.

In fact, the Matadors will play a total of seven home matches starting at 5 p.m. PT or later: Sept. 3 vs. Pepperdine (7 p.m.) Sept. 17 vs. Pennsylvania (7 p.m.), Sept. 27 vs. San Diego (7 p.m.), Oct 1 vs. UC Davis (7 p.m.), Oct. 17 vs. UC Riverside (6 p.m.) and Oct. 28 vs. Cal State Fullerton (7 p.m.).

Tickets for all home women'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.

Forwards

At the top of the Matador attack is a pair of homonymous forwards whom will be counted upon to sustain their all-league form. In Farryn Townley and Heidi Farran, Northridge showcases a talented duo whose ardent chemistry resulted in 13 goals and 29 points in 2009.

Entering her senior season, Townley is poised to take hold of several Northridge records. She tied a school record in 2009 with nine goals, giving her 15 for her career and only five shy of setting a new school mark. Her 20-point season in 2009 was the third-best ever in single calendar year at Northridge, moving her to 33 points for her career and just 13 shy of setting a new mark as well.

Her partner in crime, Farran exploded for four goals and nine points in her sophomore season in 2009. The San Pedro, Calif., native recorded the game-winning goals against UC Irvine and Long Beach State to spur CSUN to it best conference finish in program history.

Waiting in reserve for West and the Matadors are several upcoming talents itching to net their first career goals. Melissa Fernandez and Marisa Miller enter their second full season with Matadors, having amassed 18 career appearances and one career assist in a Northridge uniform.

Midfield

The second level of the Matador 11, the midfield, carries a strong list of responsibilities for the success of Northridge in 2010. Led by a pair of seniors in Sonia Espitia and Erin Kelly, CSUN will also feature the exploits of several younger players looking to leave an imprint on the opposition.

On the wing, Espitia enters her final season at Northridge fresh off an All-Big West Second Team campaign in 2009. Her junior season saw her collect a career-high six points and her first two career goals. She provides the Matadors with unbridled speed and a prowess for the big play.

In the middle, Kelly looks to regain some of the form she displayed in 2009 after an injury-shortened 2010. An aggressive offensive player, Kelly carries in three career points to her senior season, having appeared in 42 contests.

Due to graduation, the other midfield positions will represent opportunities for several emerging talents on the Matadors. Of Alexis Barbará, Haley Chee, Marie Hirsch, Katie Coulas, Nicole Cruz and Stephanie Galarze, West has an array of unique talents to assail the opposition.

Defense

The strength of the Matadors in seasons past, 2010 looks to be no different along the defensive backline. Northridge returns a host of seasoned and successful talents who started a majority of contests in 2009. Seniors Jasmine Pratt and Desiree Cardenas join junior Brielle Slepicoff and sophomore Katie Russ to form a formidable unit in repelling offensive attacks.

Pratt and Cardenas enter their final season at Northridge with ample experience and a knack for timely contributions on the offensive end. Pratt recorded the first two assists of her career in 2009 and is on pace to finish her CSUN career with the most appearances in school history. Cardenas made an immediate impact after transferring before her junior season, collecting six points and two goals while playing position throughout the field.

On the wing, Slepicoff may be one of the league's fastest players and earned All-Big West Honorable Mention honors in 2009. She had two assists in her sophomore season to give her five career helpers and one goal in her two seasons with the Matadors.

Russ enters her second season with CSUN after proving to be one of West's most reliable fixtures. She started every game in 2009, recording an assist against Long Beach State, from her center back position. Russ also came through in a tight spot for Northridge in 2009, assuming goaltending responsibilities after the first two keepers left due to injury in the Matadors' victory over Cal Poly.

Because of the versatility of Cardenas and Pratt, who are capable of moving up to the midfield, West has a quality stable of younger players ready to assume defensive roles. Stephanie Norton, Jocelyn Coney and Emily Geckle all saw time on the outside in 2009 and bring in 15 career appearances.

Additionally, redshirt freshman Chloe McDaniel will be joined by a series of newcomers who expect to compete for playing time from their arrival on campus. 

Goalkeeper

The last line of defense, the Matadors return one the conference's top goalkeepers in Cynthia Jacobo. The Big West Conference Freshman of the Year and an All-Big West Second Team selection in 2009, Jacobo put together quite a show in 2009 that West believe will only get better in 2010.

After injuries decimated the position, stripping the team of two upperclassmen keepers, Jacobo took over the position in an overtime road shutout at UC Davis. That clean sheet would be just the start of an amazing streak that saw her produce five-straight Big West shutouts and amass a streak of nearly 550 minutes of scoreless goalkeeping.

Also returning between the pipes for CSUN is sophomore Haylee Hawes. In 2009, Hawes started a pair of Big West matches and brings ample experience to increase the competition level at the position. Incoming freshman Dominique Oro will inherit the third-string responsibilities and probably take a redshirt unless calamity strikes for a second-straight year. As 2009 proved, anything is possible.

The skeptic will tell you that catching lightning in a bottle twice is a task that is tough enough the first time around. Yet West does not share the belief that last year was some sort of aberration for the Matadors. In returning a large part of the success from 2009, Northridge is amped to create its own sparks through a team with formidable chemistry and a yearning to reach even greater heights in 2010.