Men’s soccer falls to University of Pacific in home opener

Jordan Puente, Reporter

The CSUN men’s soccer team took on the Pacific Tigers at the Matador Soccer Field for the first time since 2019 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fans and family members were able to attend the game on Sunday and made themselves heard. Drums were beating and fans were cheering — things looked back to normal.

The Big West was one of many conferences to cancel their 2020 fall sports due to the pandemic. Players on the team were eager to get back to playing soccer.

“It’s a blessing [to be able to play] because we don’t get much time because of COVID and stuff,” said Marvin Arias, a CSUN redshirt junior. “It’s a beautiful thing to be back on the field.”

Matador head coach Terry Davila, entering his 22nd season, echoed Arias’ sentiment.
“I am happy that the Big West and Cal State Northridge allowed us to play and thought it was safe for the players, so we are very grateful,” Davila said.

The Matadors made their presence known throughout the game, but ultimately fell short 2-1.
In the first half, CSUN held Pacific to only one shot on goal whereas they had six. The CSUN defense was firm throughout the game until Pacific found ways to score two goals on them.

“Did we defend good? We did alright. We started breaking down a little bit towards the end,” Davila said. “It wasn’t our best yet, but we are working towards it.”

Pacific scored the first goal of the game in the second half off a direct free kick by Emory Rapaport, who was assisted by a header from Samuel Vilalta in the 58th minute.

CSUN didn’t give up yet as they capitalized on a goal a few minutes later in the 64th minute. Arias made a beautiful pass outside the 18-yard box to Arturo Reveles, who dribbled the ball in a little to find the top corner of the goal.

CSUN was staring down a potential tie until the 86th minute. Pacific was awarded a free kick on the edge of the goalie box. Avery Whipple lined up next to Ryan Her ready to kick the ball until he stuttered, fooling the defense while Her made a spectacular goal on the Matadors.

CSUN fought with everything they had left but was unable to come away with the victory. The Matadors are currently on a three-game losing streak.

“On this level, there are wins and losses, you are on TV, your name is in the paper, so there is a lot of attention,” Davila said. “You can’t be negligent about the process and obviously we haven’t gone through enough yet.”

CSUN looks to break their losing streak on the road beginning with Utah Valley on Thursday and then against UCLA Sept. 6.