Playoff Spot at Stake Against UC Irvine This Saturday

Nov. 7, 2008

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Looking to continue building on the momentum created from their come-from-behind 3-2 victory in double-overtime at Cal State Fullerton on Wednesday, the Matadors (5-6-4, 4-2-3 BWC) will face the visiting UC Irvine Anteaters (12-3-3, 4-2-3 BWC) in what amounts to an elimination match at Matador Field this Saturday. Kick-off will take place at 2:30 p.m.

With Northridge, Irvine, and UC Davis all fighting for two available positions in the inaugural Big West Men's Soccer Postseason Tournament, Saturday's contest carries an enhanced level of importance as the winner is guaranteed a spot in next week's playoff.

Saturday's match-up will also be the final match for three Matador seniors - defenders Bo Miller, Ben Cox, and goalkeeper Kevin Guppy.

All three were key participants in last season's 3-0 victory against the #10-ranked UCLA Bruins, with Cox and Guppy being the last two members of the 2005 squad that advanced to the Third Round of the NCAA Tournament.

All three will be recognized in a pre-game ceremony involving their family members, close friends, Matador coaching staff, and teammates.

Once the festivities conclude, the three will join the rest of their team on the field, and look to repeat their efforts from two years ago.

During the 2006 season, the same two teams met one another in their respective season-finale, with Irvine needing a victory to clinch the Big West crown and a guaranteed spot in the NCAA Men's Soccer Tournament.

The Matadors ended up victorious that afternoon, denying the Anteaters their shot at postseason glory; an occasion Northridge would like to duplicate on Saturday.

With the Matadors being the only team this season to hold the Anteaters scoreless, both teams know that nothing less than a superb effort on both sides of the ball will be needed in order to leave the pitch with a victory.

Fresh from his two-goal performance against Cal State Fullerton on Wednesday, forward Cameron Sims will take the field against Irvine for the first time this season. In their previous match-up on October 15th, Sims was unable to participate as he was recovering from a minor medical procedure.

A fixture in net for the Matadors this season, Guppy will bring his 1.08 goals against average and .779 save percentage to the field in hopes of concluding his regular-season career on a winning note. Kicking-off at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday will be UC Santa Barbara at UC Davis; a game of great importance to Matador soccer fans because if UC Santa Barbara wins that match-up, all the Matadors need to do is tie OR win their game Saturday afternoon. If UC Davis wins that game, then the Matadors must win their game in order to advance.

In addition to clinching a playoff berth, a win over Irvine will also give the Matadors an opportunity to host one of the Big West Tournament Semi-Final games next week. If both UC Santa Barbara and Northridge win their respective games, OR if UC Davis and Northridge end up victorious on Saturday, then the Cal Poly Mustangs will end up traveling to Matador Field next Wednesday.

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