Women’s Soccer (8-4-7): #2 seed
Overview: CSUN was not considered a playoff team in the preseason rankings given the youth and growing pains the team was supposed to experience. Fortunately for head coach Keith West, those pains never happened. A mixture of talented freshman along with core veterans have helped the Matadors re-enter the Big West Tournament.
Player to watch: Cynthia Sanchez- The Matadors second all-time leading scorer will lead her team Thursday night and has been a primary stable of this team’s offense the last four seasons. Sanchez will be double teamed throughout the playoffs so look for her to get her running mate Marissa Favela involved along with emerging freshman Amy Aquino and Bret Guarino.
CSUN wins the Big West Tournament if the Matadors can execute in front of net. CSUN has been plagued all season by letting front of the net chances go to waist. CSUN goalkeeper Jovani McCaskill is starting to return to form from last season, but she will need to be more aggressive when there are bodies entering the goal box.
X Factor Lindsay Kutscher: Kutscher scored a goal against Long Beach State in the last regular season game. If Kutscher can add another goal to go along with her shut down defense, it gives CSUN another weapon to rely on in both ends of the field.
CSUN will host UC Riverside in the semifinals on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
Men’s Soccer:( 9-8-2): #2 seed
Overview: The defending Big West champions come into the tournament having lost two games in a row, but have enough experience to carry itself to a title. Emmanuel Usen, Jr. leads the way for CSUN after scoring eight goals this season. Henrik Regitnig is one of the best goalkeepers in the country. The Matadors will need a collective effort and that starts by playing in control in the opening minutes.
Player to watch, Danny Trejo: Trejo is one of the most skilled freshman in the country whose speed and agility matches his feel and high IQ for the game. If the Matadors can get him into favorable spots, CSUN has a chance to win its second consecutive conference title.
CSUN wins the Big West Tournament if: The Matadors midfield can do a better job of maintaining possession and creating opportunities. Head coach Terry Davila has said “Penetration is the key to scoring.” But penetration can’t come without establishing possession and then attacking a gap. Given the volume of forwards the Matadors have in its arsenal, scoring should never be a problem. But the midfield needs to establish where the game goes.
X-Factor, Jordan Kinoshi: Kinoshi is one of the fastest and most dynamic players CSUN has to offer but hasn’t scored since early September, against Utah Valley State. If Kinoshi can find his balance, the Matadors should have no problems scoring goals consistently.
CSUN plays host to Sacramento State Wednesday in the Big West semifinals at 7 p.m.