Showdown Between Conference Unbeatens Highlights Men's Soccer Schedule
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This Week in the Big West - October 7-13, 2013
Men's Soccer Release No. 7
Cal State Northridge hosts UC Santa Barbara in a battle of 2-0 Big West unbeatens on Friday. The Matadors are just the third Big West team since 2001 with 10 wins in the first 11 games.
AVR VAN RENTAL ROADTRIP OF THE WEEK
The AVR Van Rental Roadtrip of the Week features Central Coast powers Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara looking to inflict damage on South Division counterparts UC Irvine and Cal State Northridge. All four teams are contenders to win in their division, and key points in the race for Big West Tournament seeding are at stake. The Matadors, ranked No. 4 nationally in the NSCAA/Continental Tire poll, are one of only three programs in the country with 10 victories.
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BIG WEST AT A GLANCE
Nation’s Leader: Cal Poly leads the nation in total goals with 32 through 12 games. The 2.67 goals per game average ranks third nationally. With a 5-1 win against UC Riverside last week, the Mustangs recorded their sixth match with at least three goals.
What A Pace: Cal Poly’s 32 goals obliterates the 26 the team accumulated for the entire 2012 season. Barring a complete offensive collapse, the Mustangs are on pace to shatter the single-season school record of 40 goals set in 1994.
Outstanding In Openers: The Mustangs won their seventh consecutive Big West opener with Friday’s triumph over UC Riverside.
Fantastic Freshmen: A trio of freshmen have contributed greatly to the overall success of Cal Poly. Ari Lassiter, John Chronopoulos and Justin Dhillon have combined for eight of the team’s 32 goals and 11 of the 30 assists. Lassiter’s five goals tied him for fourth in the Big West while Dhillon’s five assists are tied for third-best.
CAL STATE FULLERTON
Hitting Stride: The Titans have won three of their last four contests heading into a three-game homestand that begins this week against UC Davis and Sacramento State. The team plays four of its next five games at the friendly confines of Titan Stadium.
Streak Buster: Cal State Fullerton picked up a big road win as a penalty kick goal in the 11th minute by Jaime Cano held up in a 1-0 triumph at Cal Poly. It was the Titans’ first win in San Luis Obispo since Nov. 12, 2004 and snapped a six-game losing streak at Alex G. Spanos Stadium. In addition, the Titans shutout the Mustangs for just the third time all season in limiting the nation’s top-ranked offense.
Escalante With Stellar Effort: Senior goalie Bryan Escalante corraled his first shutout of the season as he made six saves in the win over Cal Poly.
Getting The Lead: The Titans have scored first in seven of their 10 matches this season and own a 4-3 record in those games.
CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE
In Select Company: Cal State Northridge won road tilts against Sacramento State and UC Davis last week to improve to 10-1 on the season. In doing so, the Matadors became just the third Big West team since 2001 to post 10 wins through 11 games. UC Santa Barbara accounted for the other two – the 2004 club went 10-0-1 and the 2002 edition was 10-1.
Goals Galore: Five more goals in two wins last week upped CSUN’s total to 28 for the year. The 28 goals ties the Matadors for second-most in the country with Dayton.
Shutout City: After recording just one shutout in its first eight contests, the Matadors have reeled off three straight shutout wins – Bradley, Sacramento State and UC Davis. Since giving up a season-high four goals against UCLA on Sept. 22, CSUN’s defense has stiffened and has not yielded a goal in the last 275:02.
Going For A First: CSUN seeks its first 3-0 Big West start in school history when it hosts UC Santa Barbara on Friday.
Just Short: The Hornets nearly pulled off the upset of No. 18 UC Irvine, striking first in the 17th minute on senior Almog Strikowski’s first goal since 2011. The lead held up until the 62nd minute when UCI evened the scoreline and the Anteaters clinched the 2-1 victory as another goal came with 1:36 to play.
Road Runners: Sacramento State plays five of its next six league games on the road, starting with UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton this week.
Two Ends Of The Spectrum: Big West saves leader Cesar Castillo made a season-low one save in a 3-0 loss to Cal State Northridge, but rebounded with eight stops in the UCI match. It marked the fourth time this season he recorded eight or more saves. Castillo’s 62 saves leads all other conference goalies by a sizable margin.
Stingers Removed: The Hornets have scored a league-low six goals through 10 games and have not scored multiple goals in a single match this year. Sacramento State last had multiple goals on Oct. 27, 2012, in a 3-1 win at Cal Poly.
Back-To-Back: The Aggies toppled their second straight-top-25 opponent when they defeated No. 18/25 UC Irvine 2-0 on Friday. UC Davis had downed No. 20/25 New Mexico, 2-1, on the road in its previous match. The two wins also represented the first two times this season that UCD had scored multiple goals.
Zeenni On Shutout Cusp: Senior goalkeeper Omar Zeenni posted four saves in the UCI victory to cement his fourth clean sheet of the season and 17th of his career. The 17 shutouts put him one shy of the Big West career top 10 – Fresno State’s Chato Elgorriaga sits in the No. 10 spot with 18.
Wiesenfarth Big In Big Games: Junior Matt Wiesenfarth scored in back-to-back contests against nationally ranked New Mexico and UC Irvine, snapping a string of 10 straight games without a goal.
Shot Advantage: UC Davis held a 19-9 shot advantage, but could not convert in a 2-0 loss to No. 6 Cal State Northridge.
Recovery: UC Irvine has not lost back-to-back games all season, and that trend continued after the Anteaters dropped their conference opener to UC Davis. UCI rebounded from a 1-0 deficit to score two second half goals in a 2-1 triumph over Sacramento State on Sunday.
Iwasa On A Roll: Junior Cameron Iwasa has built momentum after a slow start to the season. The forward has scored four goals in his last five matches, including a pair of strikes in Sunday’s victory at Sacramento State in a return to his hometown.
Turnaround: The Anteaters are off to a 6-3-2 start in part to their ability to win close games. UCI is 4-1 in games decided by one goal, in stark contrast to last season when the program was just 2-11.
Busier Breslin: Sophomore keeper Michael Breslin has made 11 over the last three contests, which is more than half the eight stops he accumulated through the first eight games in 2013.
Tailspin: The Highlanders have struggled lately with four straight losses, including 5-1 to Cal Poly and 2-0 to UC Santa Barbara last week. UC Riverside was outscored 12-1 in those four losses. The team hopes to rebound at home with Big West contests against Sacramento State and UC Davis. UCR looks to avenge a pair of 1-0 losses sustained last season.
Goal Spurt: UC Riverside’s five goals allowed to Cal Poly represented the highest goal total by an opponent since the Highlanders allowed five to UC Irvine on Oct. 12, 2011.
Ashkan Makes 2013 Debut: Ashkan Khosravi made his long-awaited debut between the pipes as he played the full 90 minutes against UC Santa Barbara on Sunday. The netminder set the UCR single-season record for wins (10) as a freshman in 2012, but had been sidelined with an injury for half of this season.
Home Cooking: The Highlanders are 3-1 at home going into this weekend’s conference matches.
UC SANTA BARBARA
Back On Track: UC Santa Barbara has reeled off three consecutive shutout victories, including last weekend to open Big West play against Cal State Fullerton and UC Riverside. The Gauchos are off to a 2-0 Big West start for the first time since 2009.
Unexpected Contributors: The Gauchos received contributions from three unexpected sources in Friday’s 3-0 blanking of Cal State Fullerton as defenders Matt Glodack and Peter Schmetz, and holding midfielder Fifi Baiden scored goals. The three had a combined career total of three goals entering the game.
Jome Involved: Freshman Ismaila Jome has at least one point in five of his last seven appearances after going scoreless in the season’s first four matches.
McNeely Lowers Goals Against Average: Freshman goalkeeper Josh McNeely has not allowed a goal in 270 straight minutes for three straight shutout wins. He owns a Big West-low 0.65 goals against average.