The CSUN women’s soccer team is leading the Big West standings and they’re doing so in spectacular fashion.
The Matadors currently lead the nation in shutouts and have only allowed seven goals this season. Junior goalkeeper Jovani McCaskill recently broke CSUN’s program record for most clean sheets in a single season. McCaskill’s 12 shutouts this season tie Long Beach State’s Kaitlyn Gustaves record in 2011 for most in a single Big West campaign.
As CSUN aims for another Big West title, head coach Keith West continues to build on previous success with this year’s historical campaign.
“I don’t think most head coaches would say their assistant coaches and players are the one’s who make them,” West said. “I’ve got to give them a lot of credit.”
Already in his 11th season as head coach, West led the Matadors to their first Big West playoff appearance in 2009, where they lost 2-1 against UC Santa Barbara. League coaches honored five Matadors for their performances throughout the season and Keith West was named 2009 Big West Coach of the Year.
In 2012, CSUN won their first Big West title and also made their first appearance in the NCAA Championship. A big component to their success in 2012 can be attributed to their impressive defense.
Chloe McDaniel was named Big West Defensive Player of the Year while Cynthia Jacobo won her second-straight Big West Goalkeeper of the Year during their championship-winning season.
Similarly, both Jovani McCaskill and Nicole Thompson earned honors from Big West for Player of the Week this month. Thompson’s first-career goal against UC Riverside and an impressive defensive display earned her the recognition.
Thompson stressed that the chemistry between her teammates is strong, especially as a unit.
“I’m so confident with every single person in that backline with me,” Thompson said. “No matter who is back there, I’ll trust they’ll do what they need to do.”
To help transition the play from defense to offense, Camille Watson has provided energy down the midfield. However, Watson said their shutout record this season further proves the cohesiveness between the team.
“The shutouts [each game] show our team is working for each other,” Watson said. “When you see someone sprint back and stop the ball, then you want to do the same and help the team.”
Additionally, West highlights, more importantly, that his group of players have the right attitude to be the best.
“I would say we’re putting emphasis on the attitude and mindset on the defensive side of the ball,” West said.
The Matadors will be facing Oklahoma on Oct. 23 at 11:30 a.m. and will continue back to their Big West opponents on Oct. 28 against rivals Cal State Fullerton.