Avoid the Bruin attack

Kendall Capps

The CSUN women’s soccer team (4-5-0) plays host to the nation’s third-ranked team, UCLA, this Friday at Matador soccer field. Clearly, this will be a tough test for the Matadors.

CSUN will try to keep momentum on its side after having won a hard-fought battle last weekend against Hawaii, 1-0.  Following a couple of disappointing losses on the road, the win against the Warriors was exactly what the team needed.

“When you go away from home and you don’t have the success you want, it’s definitely refreshing to get that win, leading the team to believe that they are a good team,” head coach Keith West said.

UCLA is 6-1-1 on the season, with its only loss coming at the hands of the No. 1-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels in the first game of the year.  Since that game, the Bruins have outscored their opponents 23-3.

The Bruins are 4-1 all-time against Northridge. The only win for the Matadors in the series came at home on Sept. 10, 1996, by a score of 2-1.

Fortunately for the Matadors, UCLA is going to be without two of its three leading scorers, as well as its head coach. Fifty-five minutes into its last game against Missouri, head coach Jillian Ellis walked onto the field complaining about a hard foul on one of her players, causing her to receive a red card.

Five minutes later, the Bruins’ leading scorer Sydney Leroux received a red card for an altercation in the Missouri box. With red cards comes a one-game suspension.  Lauren Cheney, the third-leading scorer on the Bruins, will also miss the match because she will be away playing with the U.S. national team.

Leroux and Cheney account for 12 of the 25 Bruin goals this season, creating a void on UCLA’s offensive end. The Matadors hope that along with that void, the stellar play of goalkeeper Kellie Drenner will help CSUN slow down the Bruins enough for an upset win.

“She (Drenner) has given the team confidence that she is going to make the plays,” West said.

The Bruins have a propensity for scoring late goals, outscoring their opponents 15-4 in the second half.

“Obviously a team as talented as they are, they will naturally back you up,” West said. “They can go pretty deep on their bench, meaning their players can stay fresh at the end of the game.”

Northridge has been outscored 8-4 from the second half on this year. That is a trend the Matadors will have to change if they want to defeat UCLA.