Coming off of a weekend split in San Diego, the Cal State Northridge women’s soccer (1-1-0) team starts its home schedule against a couple of tough non-conference foes. Later today, the Matadors play host to Loyola Marymount University out of the West Coast Conference and on Sunday they will face Oregon State, from the Pac-10.
Having returned from his team’s first two-game road trip, Matador head coach Keith West is feeling pretty confident in his team’s abilities and how it is playing to start the season.
“I never want to lose a game, but we played excellent down there, and that’s what we are looking for,” West said. “I am very excited for this season.”
Although he doesn’t have any specific expectations for the season, he feels as though this is a strong team that can surprise a lot of people and make a push toward a conference title.
The Matadors have the chance to put themselves in a solid position if they can take care of business this weekend. Today’s game against Loyola Marymount is somewhat of a revenge game. Last year, LMU scored the game-winning goal of an evenly-fought match in the closing minutes, leaving a bitter taste in the Matadors’ mouths.
This year is not going to be any easier. Loyola has eight returning starters from last year’s squad, giving them depth and experience. Under third-year head coach Joe Mallia, the Lions look to improve upon their third-place finish in the WCC the last two seasons and make a return to the postseason.
The Matadors, on the other hand, have only three seniors on their team. But CSUN boasts a host of juniors with playing experience, including forward Farryn Townley.
“We don’t have a lot of forwards so some of the younger players ask me a lot of questions,” Townley said. “So I definitely feel like I am taking on a leadership role this year.”
Another experienced player on the team is Kelley Ross, a midfielder who is one of the few seniors on the team. Ross believes that this team has a lot of cohesion despite it being the early part of the year.
“Compared to the other years I have played, (the team) is a lot stronger,” Ross said.
CSUN’s second game this weekend is also at home — against Oregon State on Sunday afternoon. The Beavers have 10 returning starters and six seniors on their team, so it certainly is an experienced club.
The Matador women will need to put to use the hard work and dedication that they have exhibited so far to come out of the weekend with a winning record. Regardless, they will get more experienced by playing a couple of difficult games against non-conference foes.