Men’s soccer ranked No. 3 in the nation in latest NSCAA poll

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The Matadors’ 6-0 record has earned them the third overall ranking in the nation in the most recent NSCAA poll. CSUN is also off to their best start since 1987. Photo credit: File Photo / Daily Sundial

The Cal State Northridge Matadors (6-0-0) are off to their best start since the 1987 season after stringing together six consecutive victories, including an upset over #9 University of New Mexico (3-1-1) last Sunday, at the TLC Plumbing, Heating & Cooling Lobo Invitational in Albuquerque.

This unprecedented run has garnered national recognition leading Northridge to a No. 3 ranking by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA).

“It’s very humbling, but at the same time our goal is not to be No.3 in September, our goal is to be in the playoffs doing very well in November,” said head coach Terry Davila. “I’m happy about where we’re at but that’s not where we want to stay, we want to continually improve and if we don’t improve now we’ll get caught easily.”

Despite recording its best start in the program’s Division-I era, CSUN has also achieved the highest national ranking in school history.

Throughout the first three weeks, the Matadors are ranked first in the nation in goals scored (18), assists (23), points (59), assists per game (3.83), and points per game (9.83).

Sophomore centerback Trevor Morley, the team’s sole returning defender is aware of the pressure to remain undefeated.

“There’s always more pressure (to win again), the target on our back becomes bigger and everyone wants to be the first team to beat us,” said Morley. “I’m not sure how many teams in the nation are 6-0, so of course there’s a mounting pressure to stay undefeated and in the Top 10.”

Of the four remaining unbeaten and untied teams in NCAA division I soccer, CSUN is the only one with a 6-0 record.

From an individual standpoint, three Matadors are ranked in the Top 10 nationally in various statistical categories.

Senior forward Brian Behrad is fifth in goals (5) and eighth in points (11), while senior forward Beto Velasquez is second in assists with four.

CSUN’s leading scorer, junior forward Sagi Lev-Ari, is currently ranked third in goals scored (7), points (15) and points per game (2.5). Lev-Ari is also ranked fourth in goals per game with 1.17.

“We have good character, the kids are very competitive and they want to do well, they’ll figure out anyway to produce a victory in the game,” said Davila.

 The team’s six straight wins to open the season is only second in school history behind the 1979 program that started 7-0.

If the Matadors want to make history and extend their winning streak to eight, they’ll have to do it against two tough opponents in UNLV (2-3-0) and #11 UCLA (3-1-1).

The Matadors host the Rebels Friday, Sept. 20, at 5 p.m. and the Bruins Sunday, Sept. 22 at 7 p.m.

CSUN’s last victory against UNLV came during the 2008 season and the Matador’s haven’t defeated the Rebels at Matador Soccer Field since 2004.

Northridge has dropped its last two meetings with UNLV, but holds a 9-8 advantage in the series.

Although Davila recognizes that his team is on the brink of history, he understands that making a lengthy run into the postseason involves constant improvement throughout the season.

“They are very nice accomplishments (remaining undefeated and ranked No.3) but its only September, we want to keep improving every single day and we want to play better against UNLV then we did against the University of New Mexico.”

 


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