The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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CSUN women’s soccer hopes to come back strong this fall

Aliyah Hinckley
Goalkeeper Taylor Thames jumps up to save the ball from going in the goal against UC San Diego on Sunday, Oct. 23, 2022, at the Performance Soccer Field in Northridge, Calif.

Despite the down year last season, the Matadors are looking forward to a new year and a fresh start as they are looking to make bigger strides in year 3 of the Christine Johnson era of CSUN women’s soccer.

Season so far
Four games in, the Matadors are spotting a 0-3-1 record. The one draw came from a 0-0 result against University of Nevada, Las Vegas, in their second game of the season. They suffered a 1-0 season opening defeat against Portland. In each of the four games, the Matadors have struggled with offense. They have yet to score a goal, which was what haunted them last year, as they had a -34 goal differential. Despite the three early losses, the Matadors have been competitive and are looking more and more comfortable offensively each passing game.

If they can escape the problems plaguing them on offense, they can start to make things interesting this season. There’s definitely a chance they can tie or exceed their win total from last year, even without last year’s do-it-all offensive weapon, Cindy Arteaga, who graduated and moved on. They just need someone in the attacking third to step up.

New roster additions
A couple of key transfers and freshmen highlight a promising recruiting class brought in by coach Christine Johnson and staff.

Paige Califf, a redshirt freshman transfer from University of Pittsburgh, has played three games so far and is gearing up to make a big impact for the Matadors. Califf, a native of Orange, California, came back home to Northridge after spending her freshman year at Pittsburgh.

Kaylee Gutierrez, a junior transfer from Mount San Antonio Junior College. has played two games and is coming in to make an instant impact. She scored 17 goals and added eight assists last year in her sophomore campaign. The Matadors will look to Gutierrez to potentially fill the void left by Arteaga.

A handful of true freshmen have come in and started games early. Pauline Gericke, a freshman who hails from Berlin, Germany, has been a big piece in the defense for Johnson. Gericke played club soccer for FC Union Berlin.

Priyanka Pottekkat and Daisy Torres, both freshmen, have also each started a game so far in the young season.

Schedule highlights
The Matadors will take a few trips out of state during their non-conference period, including a two-game road trip to Seattle from Aug. 31 to Sept. 2, where they will take on Seattle University and the University of Washington. Washington is the first of two PAC-12 foes that the Matadors will be taking on.

On Sept. 10, the defending national champions, UCLA, is coming to the Matador Soccer Field for the Matador Red Game. Last year’s matchup between the Bruins and Matadors featured a Bruin 6-0 victory.

Rounding out the rest of the preseason are the University of Idaho and Portland State University coming down on Sept. 7 and 17, respectively.

“We do have a tough non-conference, but it gets us ready and gives us experience that we need for conference play,” coach Christine Johnson said of her strong non-conference slate.

The Matadors open up Big West conference play on the road at the University of Hawaii on Sept. 14 and following that is a home matchup with UC Davis on Sept. 21. Then, they travel to CSU Fullerton on Sept. 24 to take on the Titans. Next, they take on CSU Bakersfield and Long Beach State University at home on Sept. 28 and Oct. 8, respectively. They have three road trips in the span of a week, starting on Oct. 12 at Santa Barbara; Sunday, Oct. 15, they travel to take on the reigning Big West champs at Cal Poly SLO, and finally the week ends with a trip down to San Diego on Oct. 19. They round out their season at home against UC Irvine and UC Riverside on Oct. 22 and Oct. 26.

Last season
Last year, the Matadors finished 3-15-1, which led to a 10th place finish in the Big West. The Matadors’ bright spot was Arteaga, who scored nine goals en route to an All-Big West first team selection. She’s now graduated and signed and debuted with Pumas in Mexico’s top professional women’s league. They finished with only one Big West win, which came in the last game of the season against UC Riverside. Their other two wins came earlier in the season, the first coming against California Baptist University and the second against Portland State.

The Matadors are bringing back All-Big West freshman team goalie Hayden Mauldin. She should be a stable piece for years to come for Johnson.

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