Cal State Northridge, UC Santa Barbara Enter National Rankings
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This Week in the Big West - September 2-8, 2013
Men's Soccer Release No. 2
Early season successes propelled the Cal State Northridge and UC Santa Barbara programs into the men's soccer national rankings. The Gauchos are as high as No. 16 in the NSCAA poll while the Matadors entered the rankings at No. 22 in Soccer America.
BIG WEST AT A GLANCE
Tale Of Two Games: The Mustangs had mixed results on the opening weekend of the 2013 season. In the opener, Cal Poly downed Drake by a 4-2 score. The four goals were the most in an opener for Cal Poly since a 4-1 win against Illinois-Chicago on Aug. 31, 2001. However, the Mustangs fell 3-0 at then-No. 6 Creighton to close out the trip.
Not Getting Any Easier: Cal Poly faces its second top-10 opponent in five days when traveling to No. 6 UCLA on Thursday. The Mustangs then commence a five-game home stand on Sunday against Gonzaga. They have defeated at least one ranked opponent in each of the last three years, including then-No. 16 UC Santa Barbara on Oct. 19, 2012.
Pridham Lives Up To Billing: Senior Mackenzie Pridham, one of 34 players on the Hermann Trophy Watch List to honor the nation’s top player, registered two goals and the game-winning assist in the win over Drake. Pridham, who scored 11 goals last year en route to Offensive Player of the Year honors, now has three career two-goal games.
CAL STATE FULLERTON
Gold Win: Cal State Fullerton’s 2-1 triumph versus Albany at the Ryan Rossi Memorial Tournament wasn’t just the first win of the year for the program. It was also the 50th career victory for eighth-year Titan head coach Bob Ammann.
Recognition: Freshman Zach Bryan and junior Fermin Villalba were named to the Ryan Rossi Memorial Tournament All-Tournament Team for their performances. Bryan notched his first collegiate goal with a header in the fourth minute against Albany.
Take A Picture: The Titans play their home opener this Friday against Loyola Marymount. After that match, six of their next seven games are on the road. The only other home match until the second week of October is a Sept. 28 encounter against Grand Canyon.
Gonzalez With The Winner: Senior Ritchie Gonzalez collected the game-winning goal against Albany for his first score since the 2011 season.
CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE
Goal Machine: Cal State Northridge pounded the nets last season with a Big West-leading 41 goals. The team started out 2013 with the same degree of potency as CSUN outscored Albany (NY) and Memphis by a combined 7-1 margin in a pair of wins last weekend. Most impressively, the Matadors scored all seven of those goals in the second half.
Rankings Redux: Cal State Northridge spent a significant amount of time in the national polls in 2012, finishing the regular season ranked No. 25 by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. That ended a three-year drought of poll appearances. No such drought exists in 2013. After its 2-0 start, CSUN hopped right back into the national rankings, appearing at No. 22 in Soccer America and No. 25 in the NSCAA/Continental Tire poll.
Sagi Times Three: Junior Sagi Lev-Ari reeled off three goalss against Memphis in a 21-minute span of the second half for the first hat trick by a CSUN player since Willie Sims in 2005.
Dramatic Flair: Sacramento State ushered in the 2013 season in great fashion with a goal at the 102:25 mark of the second overtime, giving the Hornets a dramatic 1-0 shutout victory over San Jose State on Friday. The hero was junior Chimdum Mez, who deposited a lob pass from Ivan Ramirez for his second career goal.
Bring On Overtime: The victory against the Spartans continued a string of overtime success for the Hornets. It marked the 21st consecutive overtime game in which the Hornets emerged with either a win or a tie. Sacramento State is 10-0-11 in those games. The last time the program lost in extra time was the 2010 season opener against North Carolina State – 4-3 in double overtime.
Castillo Spins Shutout: Senior goalkeeper Cesar Castillo, who played in just one game in 2012, made a triumphant return in net for the Hornets with three saves in the win against San Jose State. He also registered his 11th career shutout in the process, moving into sole possession of third place in the Hornet career record book.
The Goals Will Come: It was not the start UC Davis wanted to the season, but the Aggies created plenty of chances in road losses to Portland (1-0) and Oregon State (2-0) last weekend. In fact, they outplayed the two Northwest schools in terms of total shots (37-25) and shots on goal (14-11).
Finding That Balance: Defense keyed a successful 2012 season as the Aggies earned a 10-7-4 record with just 21 goals allowed in the 21 matches. But the bugaboo that plagued Davis was lack of goals. Consider that the Aggies were shutout in eight matches last year, and have been blanked twice in the first two contests of 2013.
Welcome Home: UC Davis relishes the chance to play soccer on the home turf this week with Seattle and Cal State Bakersfield making visits. The Aggies posted a 6-4-0 record at home in 2012.
Keep Shooting: Senior Alex Aguiar appeared to be one of the more dangerous Aggies in last week’s matches as led the team in shots with nine.
Sparkling In Openers: UC Irvine had a successful opening week with a 1-0 win against Marist and a 2-2 tie versus Iona. The win over the Red Foxes kept UCI’s unbeaten streak in season openers intact – now at 13 straight. UCI is now 11-0-2 in its last 13 season debuts.
Enrique’s Renaissance: Enrique Cardenas notched six goals in 2011, but saw his production decline in 2012 with just two on his stat line. He matched his entire 2012 output in two matches last week, scoring a goal against both Marist and Iona. The strike against the Red Foxes proved to be the game-winner as he scored in the 77th minute for the game’s only goal.
Buckle Up: The Anteaters prepare to embark on a tortuous four-game roadtrip that begins on Saturday at San Diego State. The following week UCI heads east for three matches in a six-day span. After opening the trip against Xavier, the Anteaters face a pair of top-10 programs in Louisville and Indiana. UCI’s first home match upon return from the trip is a Sept. 19 encounter with No. 6 UCLA.
Deja Vú: For the second straight year, UC Riverside began 2-0 with the season-opening victims Iona and Marist. The Highlanders did the deed on the road last year, and welcomed the Gaels and Red Foxes to the Inland Empire for 2013. UCR pitched a pair of shutouts in Tim Cupello’s debut as interim head coach.
Super Romario: What a start to the collegiate career of freshman midfielder Romario Lomeli. The Panorama City product played a role in all three Highlander goals last week as he recorded two goals and an assist. Lomeli’s first career strike came at the 73:42 mark for the game-winner versus Iona on Friday.
Off To Vegas: UC Riverside looks to keep the momentum rolling with an appearance at the UNLV Nike Invitational this week. The Highlanders take on Georgia State and Bradley in the tournament in what begins a four-match road trip. UCR squares off against San Diego and Cal State Bakersfield the following week.
UC SANTA BARBARA
Taking Notice: UC Santa Barbara took just 13 shots total in season-opening road victories against No. 19 Northwestern and Illinois-Chicago. But they sure made those shots count, as four of them found the back of the net. The Gauchos pinned three goals on the nationally ranked Wildcats in a 3-1 win, then had an early first half goal hold up in a 1-0 shutout of the Flames.
French Connection: French countrymen Goffin Boyoko and Achille Campion played instrumental roles in UCSB’s win against Northwestern. Boyoko notched the first two goals, with the second one accounting for the game-winner. Fittingly, Campion picked up the game-winning assist as he dished on Boyoko’s second goal. And to polish things off, Campion provided the insurance score with UCSB’s third goal of the first half.
McNeely Earns Shutout In Debut: Freshman goalkeeper Josh McNeely got his first career start against Illinois-Chicago and promptly recorded a shutout with two saves.