2008 Northridge Women's Soccer Year in Review

Dec. 3, 2008

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -

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2008 CSUN Women's Soccer Picture Gallery

On its way to an 8-9-2 overall record, the 2008 Cal State Northridge women's soccer team showed that bigger and better things are right around the corner. Led by a talented mixture of senior leadership and youthful exuberance, the Matadors set several program milestones, including the team's 100th all-time victory, and witnessed outstanding individual performances.

The Matadors and head coach Keith West jumped out the gate quickly in 2008, winning their first four matches of the season to set a new program record. In the season-opener, senior Nalena Betancourt headed home the game-winning goal in double overtime to lift the Matadors over San Diego State, 2-1.

Following a 5-2 victory over Southern Utah in which five different Matadors found paydirt, Northridge registered its first shutout of the season with a 2-0 victory at Bakersfield. CSUN then got the better of UNLV in a 2-1 victory at Matador Soccer Field. Sophomore Farryn Townley had the game-winning strike against both the Runners and Rebels.

The following weekend, the Matadors took nationally ranked California to overtime before losing 1-0 and then rallied to defeat tournament host Saint Mary's, 2-1. Townley recorded her third game-winning goal of the season against Saint Mary's, scoring in the 81st minute.

Growing pains ensued for the Matadors following the victory over the Gaels, as the team went 0-6-1 over its next seven matches, dropping several contests either at the end of regulation or in overtime.

After sitting at 99 all-time program victories for seven matches, the Matadors finally broke through for their 100th victory with a 2-0 win against UC Davis at Matador Soccer Field. Freshmen Nancy Avesyan and Brielle Slepicoff recorded the goals for the Matadors against the Aggies, offering a glimpse into the future of Nothridge women's soccer.

In the next match, the Matadors then recorded their first conference weekend sweep since 2004 with a 2-1 victory over Pacific. Avesyan had her second game-winning goal against the Tigers, finding the back of the net in the 88th minute.

Northridge then earned a tie at UC Irvine, 0-0, before losing to Long Beach State and UC Riverside. Still, the team remained in contetion for a spot in the Big West playoffs till the final game, a contest the Matadors won decisively against Cal State Fullerton, 3-1. Avesyan had the game winner against the Titans, scoring neatly off the second-half kickoff.

The Matadors finished 3-4-1 in the Big West Conference, good for a fifth-place finish. They were 6-1-1 at Matador Soccer Field for the season.

One of the biggest stories surrounding the Matadors in 2008 was the play of sophomore goalkeeper Leah Elliott. Notified only four days before the start of the season that she would be playing in net, Elliott responded by playing the second-most minutes in school history at the position. She helped lead the team to a 4-0 record to start the season, the best mark in the school's history, and finished second all-time for a single season in school history with 113 saves.

In addition, to her eight victories, she recorded three shutouts during the season for Northridge. Her eight wins were the fourth-most in school history for a single season. Among Big West Conference goalkeepers, she finished second in saves, third in save percentage at .813 and seventh in goals-against-average at 1.34.

On offense, Northridge saw 11 different Matadors record goals during the season. Avesyan led the squad with five goals and also had a team-best 14 points in her rookie season. Townley's four goals, three of which were game winners, checked in at second, while senior Kristal Phhilips had three goals to finish third on the team.

In all, Northridge scored seven more goals in 2008 then they did in 2007 and the following players all scored their first career tallies for Coach West and Northridge: Katie Fox, Tinamarie Lutizetti, Brielle Slepicoff, Erin Kelly, Michelle Moore and Kaite Coulas. Sophomore Sonia Espitia also recorded her first career points, finishing the year with a pair of assists.

The team's four seniors, Tryna Tafoya, Phillips, Lutizetti and Betancourt, all played a crucial part in the team's success in 2008. Tafoya scored two goals, distributed three assists and finished with seven points en route to All-Big West Second Team honors. Betancourt, who concluded her career with 74 appearances, the second-most in school history, earned All-Big West Honorable Mention honors.

Phillips and Tafoya also left their mark in the school's record book. Phillips concluded her career with nine goals (T-8th), 12 assists (T-2nd) and 30 points (T-6th), all of which rank in the school's top 10 all-time. Tafoya finished with 12 career assists to tie with Phillips for second all-time and had 28 career points, the eighth-most in school history.

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