Aug. 26, 2009
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -
Matadors Return for Home Opener after San Diego Roadtrip Split
With the opening weekend of the 2009 season behind them, the Cal State Northridge women's soccer team hosts its two openings matches of the season this upcoming week. First up at Matador Soccer Field is a match with Loyola Marymount (1-0) on Thursday at 5 p.m. On Sunday, Aug. 30, CSUN faces Oregon State (0-1) at 1 p.m.
The Lions and Matadors are familiar foes. Last season, LMU escaped with a 1-0 victory in Los Angeles, scoring the game-winning goal in the match's final five minutes. LMU holds a 10-1 advantage in the all-time series with CSUN's only victory coming in a 1-0 double-overtime decision at Matador Soccer Field on Sept. 20, 2004.
Oregon State renews acquaintances with Northridge Sunday for the fourth time in the series' history. In their last meeting, the Beavers took a 2-0 decision in Corvallis on Sept. 1, 2007. CSUN's only victory in the series dates back to the 1998 campaign when Northridge took a 1-0, overtime victory.
We Interrupt This Jets-Raiders Game for the Following Announcement
The Matadors accomplished several firsts for 2009 in their 3-1 victory over San Diego State. Among them was sophomore Heidi Farran's first career goal. At just 1:03 of the first half, Farran used her left foot to deposit the ball into the Aztecs' goal to give CSUN an early 1-0 lead. She also had two shots on goal in the contest, which marked the just the second start of her career. The two points were also the first two of her career.
It was All a Dream
Another first from the SDSU game was senior Niki Connolly's first goal as a Matador. A transfer from UNLV, Connolly collected a cross from fellow senior Kelley Ross to score what eventually became the game-winning goal in CSUN's 3-1 victory. In her three seasons with the Rebels, Connolly made 61 appearances with 18 starts and totaled nine goals and seven assists.
The third Matador to register her first goal in Northridge uniform in the win at SDSU was junior Sonia Espitia. WIth the score at 2-1, Espitia took a pass from redshirt freshman Marie Hirsch and buried the ball for her first career goal. A constant in the CSUN midfield since her freshman season, Espitia has appeared in 36 matches with 27 career starts. She picked up the first two assists of her career during the 2008 campaign.
Elliott Steps into Goalkeeper Position with Success
Junior Leah Elliott started both games in net for Northridge, registering 12 saves and her ninth career victory. Although the season is young, Elliott's 12 saves have moved her into fourth in school history, giving her 125 in 21 matches, an average of six per match. Elliott set an early standard with her eight stops in the victory over the Aztecs. She recorded a career-high 14 saves, the second-most in school history, at Cal Poly on Oct. 12, 2008.
A Year Older and A Year Wiser
Several of the Matadors redshirt freshmen have already seen playing time in 2009, their first official action with Northridge. Katie Russ (D) has started both games on the backline for CSUN while Emily Geckle (D), Marie Hirsch (MF) and Stephanie Norton (D) all made their first appearances as subs against SDSU. Hirsch took it a step further in her first game, registering an assist on junior Sonia Espitia's goal in the 73rd minute.
Updating Matadors in Season Openers
The Matadors are now 8-6-1 in their 15 season-opening contests after the 3-0 loss to San Diego. The loss also dropped their all-time road opener record to a 7-7-1. With the LMU contest Thursday, CSUN currently stands at 6-6-2 all time in home openers.
Oh Captain, My Captain
Leading the Matadors on the pitch and practice field for the 2009 season will be the team's three captains: Kellie Drenner, Katie Fox and Jasmine Pratt. All three are juniors and have earned the respect of their teammates in receiving the distinction. Drenner returns to the squad after missing all of 2008 due to injury and will add depth and experience to CSUN's goalkeepers. Fox and Pratt are defenders who appeared in all 19 games for CSUN in 2008. Fox added a pair of goals to her haul in 2008, finding the net against Pac 10 powers Arizona State and USC.
Things will be Great When your Downtown-ley
A critical member to the team's success will be junior Farryn Townley. With four goals in 2008, three of which were game-winning tallies, Townley is the Matadors' top returning goal scorer. She stands at six tallies for her career, two goals shy of a tie for 10th place in school history.
Majoring in Socialization
The Matadors have jumped headfirst into the realm of social networking. The Cal State Northridge athletics department is now on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. All three sites will allow Matador fans greater access to information, scores and updates surrounding the 20 Division I programs hosted by the university. For more information on the sites, refer to www.gomatadors.com.
Matadors 5th IN Preseason Poll
A preseason survey of the Big West Conference women's soccer coaches predicted a fifth-place finish for the Matadors in 2009. In the poll, CSUN received 33 points, one more than sixth-place Cal State Fullerton. UC Santa Barbara received five first-place votes and 75 points to become the preseason favorite. Long Beach State was second with 67 points and Cal Poly was third with 65 points. As it turns out, the Matadors will host the top three teams during the 2009 season.