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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Matadors fall short in nine-goal thriller at home

Aliyah Hinckley
Goalkeeper Cooper Wenzel, 1, dives to try to block the ball during the game against CSU Fullerton at Matador Soccer Field in Northridge, Calif., on Sept. 27, 2023.

With non-conference play wrapped up, the Matadors opened up their Big West campaign at the Matador Soccer Field against the CSU Fullerton Titans in front of a packed stadium wearing all red in support.

The ensuing match proved to be one for the ages, as the back-and-forth affair between the Matadors and Titans resulted in nine goals, with the Matadors ultimately edged 5-4.

“We gave it our all tonight, and 5-4 is a tough one,” said Matadors forward Jack Rhead. “We opened against and beat Fullerton last year; we knew what they were going to bring to the table.”

The first half saw the Matadors take an early lead five minutes in, with Rhead slotting the ball in the bottom left corner from a through ball by midfielder Levin Gerhardt. However, the Titans responded with two unanswered goals to take a 2-1 lead at halftime.

The second half saw plenty of action early on, with four goals scored in a window of six minutes. Rhead headed in his second goal of the match in the 53rd minute to equalize before the Titans converted a penalty to retake the lead from a Matadors handball less than a minute later.

Less than four minutes later, forward Jamar Ricketts and midfielder Jorge Solorzano scored for the Matadors from counterattacks to reclaim a 4-3 lead.

“I’m always grateful, I got the goal and assist,” Solorzano said. “But to me, when we don’t get the result we want, I still always ask for more for myself.”

Both teams continued to press for more goals, with the Titans midfielder Roberto Ordonez capitalizing on a Matadors defensive miscommunication to level the score again.

Rhead addressed the team’s room for improvement on the defensive end.

“We just have to tighten up as an 11 all over the field on the defending aspects,” Rhead stated. “If we can start playing as a team on the defense, we’ll have a better chance.”

The Titans then won a direct free kick in the 88th minute, with the initial shot hitting the post, but not before immediately converting off the rebound, which proved to be the winning goal.

The Matadors then attacked the Titans goal desperately, winning three corner kicks, but were unable to convert on the attempts, resulting in a heartbreaking loss.

Despite the loss, Solorzano highlighted the strong attack the Matadors displayed in the match against Fullerton.

“With this being the first Big West match, you always want to start off with the win,” Solorzano said. “Sadly, we didn’t get the result we wanted, but we proved [to] ourselves that we could score goals. If we can do that, we’ll have a much better chance against [CSU] Bakersfield on Saturday.”

CSUN stays on home turf for their next Big West fixture, against Bakersfield on Saturday at 7 p.m., looking for their first win in conference play.

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