The Cal State Northridge women’s soccer team (4-6) will open up conference play at home this weekend. Friday afternoon they play host to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (6-4). Following that, UC Santa Barbara comes to Northridge on Sunday.
Cal Poly is coming in playing very well, having won four in a row and five of its last six. During the four-game win streak, they have not given up a goal, outscoring their opponents 6-0.
The Matadors will have to solve the riddle that is their senior goalkeeper, Coral Hoover. She is 6-1 on the year, with a 0.57 goals against average and has four shutouts already. She is clearly one of the top goalies in the conference.
Despite the winning record, they have only outscored their opponents 13-10 on the season. The Mustangs are a well balanced team. The top scorer on the team, junior forward Morgan Miller, has only two goals and eight points.
This team also has a lot of young depth, going deep into its bench and playing many freshmen. The Matadors seem to have strengthened its endurance problem as the season has progressed. This should help them in the latter stages of this game, seeing that Cal Poly will probably be making a lot of substitutions in order to keep fresh bodies out there.
This game has a lot of importance towards how the conference season will go for the Matadors.
“This is a big first game for us on Friday, it’s a big game,” head coach Keith West said.
Sunday afternoon, the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos (3-6-1) will travel to Matador Field to take on Northridge. Unlike Cal Poly, they are coming off consecutive losses to Arizona and UCLA, so they will be especially hungry for a win.
The Gauchos will be coming off another game Friday at UC Irvine. To this point in the season, UCSB has been outscored 15-9 and have struggled to be consistent. They have continuously switched back and forth between goalies, junior Tammy Lenham and freshman Taylor Gonzalez.
Junior midfielder/forward Jacqui Simon has been playing well of late, scoring a couple of goals in her last few games. She is second on the team with seven points.
There are only two seniors on this team, but they play a lot of juniors. UCSB also has a lot of depth. Their starters don’t play as many minutes as some other clubs, spreading things around and playing a lot of freshmen and sophomores.
The Matadors would love to get a solid start in conference, especially against two of the better teams in the league.
“If we get these first two wins to start 2-0, we can set ourselves up for a big season,” said coach West.
Following these two opening conference games at home, the Matadors will begin a four-game road trip, all in conference.