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W-Soccer: Time for victory for winless Matadors?


Getting after it: CSUN defender Katie Russ (15), seen here during a 5-1 loss to Texas on Sunday, and the Matadors go for their first win of the season tomorrow vs. New Mexico. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Danielle Villasana / The Daily Texan

The CSUN women’s soccer team will look to end a three-game losing streak on Friday night against New Mexico at Matador Soccer Field.

The Matadors (0-3) started the 2011 campaign with losses against No. 9 UCLA, Baylor and Texas while being outscored 1-8.

During the losing streak, Northrdge has struggled on both the offensive and defensive side.

“We’re making silly mistakes,” CSUN head coach Keith West said. “We can’t make silly mistakes against those teams. They can punish you.”

CSUN hopes things will turn around against the Lobos (1-1-2). The last time these teams met was on Sept. 11, 2009 in New Mexico and the Lobos came out victorious 2-0.  In that game, the Matadors had nine shots, though no shots on goal. That game was the first of forward Melissa Fernandez’s collegiate career.

Now in her third year with the team, Fernandez, one of the few bright spots in the Matadors’ offense, has the only goal of the season for CSUN.

“I’m trying to finish the best I can,” Fernandez said. “I have just been working on little things that can affect the game.”

Senior forward Heidi Farran and junior defender Stephanie Norton both lead the team with one assist each. The Matadors have been outshot 42-23 and only have 10 shots on goal for the season.

The offense has not been the only problem for the Matadors. The defense has given up eight goals and needed eight saves from their goalkeepers.  Junior Cynthia Jacobo has six of those and a .500 save percentage.

“On the defensive side we’re really good,” West said. “We’ve just given up bad goals.”

On the other hand, New Mexico has had success on both sides of the ball. The Lobos have 22 shots on goal and five goals in four games. Senior forward Jennifer Williams leads the team with two goals and 11 shots on goal, half her team’s total. Senior midfielder Jael Fanning leads them in assists with three.

New Mexico has outscored its opponents 5-2 and outshot them 70-42 for the season.

The defense for New Mexico is also a strong part of the team. Junior goalkeeper Kelli Cornell has saved 10 shots and has two shutouts. Cornell also has a save percentage of .833.

The Lobos results so far: a 1-1 draw against Saint Mary’s in their season opener on Aug. 19; a 4-0 win against CSU Bakersfield two days later; a 1-0 loss to Florida State on Friday and a 0-0 draw against Alabama on Sunday.

“They (New Mexico) play extremely well. It’s going to be another battle for us.” West said. “If we play mistake-free soccer, we can win this game.”

“They are fast like Texas and physical like Baylor,” sophomore defender Chloe McDaniel said. “They will hit us from behind.”

Following their match against New Mexico, the Matadors will continue their busy weekend with a match against Princeton on Sunday at 1 p.m at Matador Soccer Field.

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