Tournament Rematch Highlights Debut of Conference Play
Men's Soccer Release No. 6
After clashing in the finals of the 2012 Big West Men's Soccer Tournament, Cal State Northridge and UC Davis stage their long-awaited rematch this Sunday at Aggie Soccer Field. The Matadors bring a No. 6 national ranking into the match.
AVR VAN RENTAL ROADTRIP OF THE WEEK
The AVR Van Rental Roadtrip of the Week is highlighted by Cal State Northridge, ranked as high as No. 6 nationally, heading up to northern California to face Sacramento State and UC Davis. The Matadors look to avenge a loss to the Hornets, one of just three league setbacks last year. The tilt with the Aggies is a rematch of last year's Big West Tournament final, won in a tight 1-0 battle by CSUN.
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BIG WEST AT A GLANCE
Impressive Start: Cal Poly finished its non-conference schedule with a 7-3 record after splitting a pair of matches last week. The seven wins represent the highest total for the program through 10 games since 2007. The 2007 squad was 8-1-1 in that same span.
What A Pace: Cal Poly’s 27 goals through 10 contests already eclipses last year’s total of 26 for the entire season. With the Big West 10-match schedule starting this weekend, the Mustangs are on pace to obliterate the single-season school record of 40 goals set in 1994.
Tip Of The Hat: Senior Mackenzie Pridham notched three goals in a 5-1 win at Air Force on Friday to post the eighth hat trick in Cal Poly history, and first since 2009 when both Junior Burgos and David Zamora accomplished the feat.
Onslaught In Openers: Cal Poly has won six straight Big West openers going into Friday’s match with UC Riverside. CP has outscored the opposition 9-0 in those six wins.
CAL STATE FULLERTON
Righting The Ship: Cal State Fullerton has won back-to-back games entering the start of conference play this weekend. The Titans scored three goals in each of their victories against Nebraska-Omaha and Grand Canyon. Those six goals matched the six that CSF accumulated in its first six contests.
Opening Statement: The Titans are 1-6 in their last seven Big West openers, with the one victory coming in 2010 against UC Santa Barbara. Coincidentally, CSF opens Big West play Friday at UCSB.
Ortiz Notches Game-Winner: Freshman defender Steven Ortiz made his first career goal all the more memorable as it accounted for the game-winner in the 3-2 triumph against Grand Canyon.
In A Groove: Senior midfielder Ian Ramos, after going scoreless in his first four matches, and has scored a goal in three of his last four outings. He finished against Grand Canyon and tallied a season-high five shots in the effort.
CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE
That’s A First: Cal State Northridge wrapped up the non-conference ledger with a 1-0 victory at Bradley on Saturday evening. It moved the Matadors to 8-1 on the year, and marked the first time in the school’s Division I history that they defeated eight non-conference opponents in the regular season. The 1998 team won 12 games but did not play a conference schedule.
Rare Defensive Struggle: The Matadors reeled off eight straight matches with multiple goals before seeing that streak end in Saturday’s game against Bradley. It marked just the second shutout victory as sophomore Adam Hobbs came up with four saves and lowered his goals against average to 1.16.
Impressive Streak: In the last 10 Big West openers, the Matadors are unbeaten with a 7-0-3 record. CSUN has won five straight league openers and has outscored the opposition by a healthy 12-1 margin. The Matadors have not tasted defeat in a conference debut since Oct. 16, 2002 against UC Irvine. CSUN is at Sacramento State on Friday.
Dramatic Win: Sacramento State closed out non-conference play with a dramatic 1-0 overtime road win against UNLV on Saturday. It snapped a six-game winless streak for the Hornets, which had gone 0-3-3 during that span. Junior Chimdum Mez has accounted for the game-winning goal in both Hornet victories. He beat the Rebel goalkeeper from close range at the 93:53 mark.
Overtime Magic Still In Effect: The victory against UNLV continues an impressive streak that is now over three-years-old. Sacramento State has played 25 overtime games without a loss, dating back to the 2010 season opener. The Hornets are 11-0-14 in those extra time contests.
Stonewalled: Senior goalkeeper Cesar Castillo increased his saves total to a Big West-best 53 as he made a season-high tying 10 stops in the UNLV win. Castillo has been on fire lately, averaging nine saves over the past four matches.
Big West Reprise?: The Hornets started out Big West play last year at 4-0. That string included a win against eventual South Division champion Cal State Northridge, the opponent in this Friday’s conference opener.
Timber: UC Davis dispatched another ranked foe in an ever growing list of top-25 victims. The Aggies defeated No. 20/25 New Mexico, 2-1, on the road Friday to secure a victory against a ranked opponent for the third straight season. UCD has toppled No. 6 UCLA (2011), No. 7 UC Irvine (2011), No. 23 Tulsa (2012) and No. 8 UC Santa Barbara (2012) in addition to New Mexico over the last three seasons.
Zeenni Movin’ On Up: Senior goalkeeper Omar Zeenni has started 49 consecutive matches in net for the Aggies. He is tied for No. 8 in Big West history for career matches in goal (60), and is alone at No. 8 in goalie minutes (5,416).
The Defense Begins: UC Davis begins defense of its Big West North Division title against two nationally ranked teams in UC Irvine and Cal State Northridge. Both matches are at home. The Aggies are 6-2-1 in their last nine Big West regular season home matches.
Close Calls: Six of UCD’s nine contests have been decided by one goal, with the Aggies going 4-2.
Momentum Builder: UC Irvine closed out non-conference action strongly with a 3-0 victory at Cal State Bakersfield on Friday. It was UCI’s third road win and the fourth overall by shutout. The Anteaters look to take that momentum onto the road for their Big West opener against UC Davis. UCI seeks to end a two-game losing streak in league openers.
Top Trio: The strength behind much of UCI’s success in the early part of the 2013 season had to do with senior Enrique Cardenas, and juniors Cameron Iwasa and Lester Hayes III. The trio has combined for 10 of the team’s 13 goals, and 26 of its 37 points. Cardenas tops the squad with five goals, including three game-winners, and 13 points. He has scored at least one point in three straight matches.
More On Cardenas: With 13 points, Cardenas is nearing his career-high of 15 set in 2011 as a sophomore.
Breslin Gets Some Work: Sophomore netminder Michael Breslin benefitted from some stout defense in front of him, as he had to make only eight saves through eight games. He stopped a season-high five shots against Bakersfield.
Road Bumps: The Highlanders had their strong start to the season interrupted last week in a pair of losses. UC Riverside fell 3-0 to No. 12 UCLA and followed that up with a 2-0 loss to Incarnate Word. UCR entered the week with a 5-0-2 record, marking the second straight year the program had been unbeaten through seven games.
To The Central Coast They Go: UC Riverside begins the Big West portion of its schedule on the Central Coast, facing North Division stalwarts Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara this weekend. The Highlanders had success against the Mustangs last year, posting a 3-2 win in overtime at home.
Can’t Always Stop Them: The defense of the Highlanders had allowed a meager four goals in the opening seven games, but softened a bit last weekend as five goals were yielded in the two losses. Still, the nine goals UCR has allowed to this point is tied for the third-fewest among Big West clubs.
Opportunities: UCR has been consistent at creating opportunities, recording double-digit shots in all nine games.
UC SANTA BARBARA
Close Battles: Five of UC Santa Barbara’s last six games have been decided by one goal, with the Gauchos going 2-3. The Gauchos were on the right end of their last one-goal affair as they knocked off Loyola Marymount, 1-0, on Sunday, utilizing senior Goffin Boyoko’s team-leading fourth goal.
Slow Start On Offense: The UC Santa Barbara offense hasn’t quite clicked as much in past seasons. After all, the Gauchos have produced 11 goals through nine goals, the fewest in a nine-game start to a season since 2010. In addition, the 95 shots taken rank as the second-fewest in the league.
Big Crowd: UCSB’s appearance on the NSCAATV.com Game of the Week against Stanford drew a season-high 7,750 fans to Meredith Field at Harder Stadium, the highest attended game so far in the Big West this season.
Jome Gets Em Home: Freshman Ismaila Jome has produced an assist in three of the last five games, all resulting in UCSB victories.