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W-Soccer: CSUN seeks vengeance against Long Beach

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Defender Brielle Slepicoff and the Matadors will be in a grudge match against Long Beach State Friday night at Matador Soccer Field. Photo Credit: Andres Aguila / Daily Sundial

The CSUN women’s soccer team will be thinking revenge during its Big West Conference match Friday as the Matadors take on league-leading Long Beach State at Matador Soccer Field.

Last season, the Matadors were bounced out of the conference tournament semifinals by the 49ers, who come into Northridge riding a six-game winning streak.

“Yes, (we want revenge),” CSUN junior defender Nicole Cruz said. “The last time I played them, we lost.  I want to beat them badly. They’re winning right now, so I want to give them an upset.”

Besides avenging their postseason loss, the Matadors are looking to overtake the 49ers in the standings. CSUN has seven points and is in second place in the standings along with UC Irvine.

The Matadors (4-7-2, 2-1-1 Big West) have a two-game losing streak against Long Beach State (10-3-1, 3-0) after falling to the 49ers in the regular season a year ago also.

Unlike the players, CSUN head coach Keith West doesn’t see this game as a chance for revenge.

“We’re just looking for three points,” West said. “I wouldn’t call it revenge. We know what’s at stake on Friday night.”

The Matadors are coming off a Sunday 1-0 victory against UC Santa Barbara. It was the first time in four years CSUN prevailed over the Gauchos. Cruz scored the only goal of the game, her second in only five games played.

Senior forward Heidi Farran leads CSUN with five goals. Junior forward Melissa Fernandez is second on the team with three goals and is tied with sophomore defender Amanda Smith with three assists.

Junior goalkeeper Cynthia Jacobo earned her second shutout of the season during Sunday’s victory and was the anchor of the strong team defense.

“I couldn’t be happier with the way the defense is playing this year,” West said.  “We’ve just been giving up mistake goals and that’s hard for me to swallow.”

The Matadors have given up a total of 18 goals for the season. But so far, in four conference games, they have only given up four goals.

“We have to stay on top,” Jacobo said. “We have to stay mentally focused and just give it everything we got.”

Long Beach State will test the Matadors’ defense. The 49ers have scored a total of 36 goals for the season. Ten of those have come during conference play, including a 6-0 drumming of Cal Poly on Oct. 2.

Long Beach State forward Nadia Link is the Big West’s leading scorer with 12 goals.

Senior goalkeeper Kaitlyn Gustaves, the current Big West Defensive Player of the Week, had nine saves in an overtime win against Cal State Fullerton Sunday.

“They’re a quality side and they’re getting some quality wins,” West said. “We match up great. We just need to put the ball in the back of the net. It’s going be a great game.”

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