September 28, 2011

Rafael Garcia's Two Penalty Kick Goals Seal 3-0 Northridge Victory

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -

The Cal State Northridge Matadors (4-4-1, 1-0-0) opened up the 2011 Big West Conference season with a 3-0 victory over the UC Davis Aggies (2-5-2, 0-1-0) on Wednesday afternoon at Aggie Soccer Field in Davis, Calif. The Matadors are now 20-7-4 in conference season openers, including a record of 8-1-2 in Big West opening matches and have not lost their first conference match of a season since dropping a 2-1 decision at home to UC Irvine in 2002.

"UC Davis is always prepared and balanced defensively," said head coach Terry Davila. "We got opportunities and we were able to put them in. They are a tough team to beat on the road and we are happy to come away with three points."

The Matadors charged out of the gates early in the match, scoring in the fourth minute of play. Rene Anguiano received the ball on the right side of the field and crossed it to Thomas Ramos, who put a shot into the back of the net from roughly six yards out for his third goal of the season.

Ramos, who had no goals last season, now has three in his last four matches. His goal was the first for Northridge against UC Davis since Oct. 22, 2008.

Ramos nearly doubled the lead in the 28th minute when he took a shot that hit the post and stayed out of the goal. Senior Rafael Garcia had taken a corner kick and had a shot blocked leading up to Ramos' try.

The Matadors kept up the pressure in the first half, ending the first 45 minutes with the advantage in shots (9-2), shots on goal (2-0) and corner kicks (8-2). Both UC Davis shots in the first half were blocked by defenders before ever troubling Northridge goalkeeper Michael Abalos.

The Aggies had a great chance to level the match shortly after halftime when Elliott Hord took a shot in the 47th minute. Hord's attempt hit the post as well and stayed out, allowing the Matadors to hold onto the one-goal lead.

Northridge extended the lead in the 68th minute on a penalty kick goal by Garcia. The Matadors were awarded the penalty, and Garcia calmly stepped to the spot to put in his fifth career goal.

Garcia added another penalty kick goal in the 77th minute to push the lead to 3-0 after UC Davis goalkeeper Omar Zeenni was shown a yellow card for fouling a Northridge player. Garcia's two-goal performance was the first for Northridge since teammate Gustavo Villalobos scored two goals against Cal State Fullerton on Oct. 2, 2010. 

The Matadors were able to keep up their stingy performance on defense as well, allowing just one shot over the final 20 minutes of play. Abalos needed just two saves on the afternoon to earn his 10th career shutout, moving him into fourth place all-time at CSUN.

With the victory, the Matadors ended a streak of eight matches against the Aggies without a win. Northridge had gone 0-6-2 during the stretch, with its last win in the series coming in 2005.

Northridge returns to action on Saturday, Oct. 1 at 7 p.m. when it takes on Cal State Fullerton in a Big West Conference match at Matador Soccer Field.

"There's no easy game in the Big West and Cal State Fullerton may be the hottest team in the country right now," Davila said. "We are looking forward to the opportunity to host them on Saturday."

All fans 17 and under wearing their youth soccer jersey on Saturday's match will receive $1 admission.

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