CSUN women’s soccer has high expectations in 2010

Brandon Henson

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Coming off the most successful season in CSUN women’s soccer history, in which they hosted their first ever playoff game, the Matadors remain in tact for the 2010 season with returning  players such as sophomore goalkeeper Haley Hawes, senior defender Jasmine Pratt and 2009 All-Big West Conference First Team member senior forward Farryn Townley.

CSUN head coach Keith West, who was named 2009 Big West Coach of the Year, says, “We play tough conference road teams (against) Cal Poly, UC Santa Barbara, UC Irvine and Long Beach State, and to me they are four of the top teams. So we have to get some road wins this year.”

In addition to the difficult conference road trip that the Matadors will play six non-conference away games, which includes a tournament in Las Vegas where CSUN will face Kansas and UNLV. CSUN also plays 10 home matches this season, which will be the first time they play under the new lights built at the Matador Field.

“I think it is a great thing, I think the atmosphere is going to be awesome,” said Pratt. “I think a lot of people look forward to the lights and hopefully the community will see that and take advantage and come out to support us.”

The Matador fans have plenty to support with the return of offensive presence Townley, the fifth-year senior led the team last season with nine goals tying a CSUN record. Adding to the offensive threat will be junior forward Heidi Farran. Last season Farran had four goals, two of which were game-winners against conference opponents UC Irvine and Long Beach State.

Sonia Espitia is coming off a career-high two goal season and Erin Kelly has been scoring goals left and right in training camp according to coach West.

One thing the Matadors are this season is competitive according to Hawes. Hawes said she and 2009 Big West Conference Freshman of the Year, Cynthia Jacobo, have been competing for the starting goalie position.

“Cynthia and I are neck and neck in keeper position,” Hawes said. “So the competition is really high on our team this year. We just have a lot of good freshman and a lot of good returners.”

Northridge, who finished 6-2 in Big West play, fell short in the conference tournament in a devastating 2-1 home loss to UCSB, knocking them out of the postseason.

West is looking to settle the score this season.

“I’m not going to lie, I want to beat UC Santa Barbara,” West said. “I want to beat them the first game of the year yes, but I’d rather beat them in conference play.”

Increasing CSUN’s likelihood of advancing to the NCAA tournament will be a handful of recruits that West said are “fantastic.” With a team of emerging talent coach West wouldn’t hand pick any particular player having a breakout season but discussed the team as a whole.

“We have a great group of nucleus coming back, a lot of speed, a lot of talent, lots of experience coming in,” West said.

Making it to the playoffs last year has coach West and his team itching for even more success this season.

“First and foremost I want to win the regular season championship and conference tournament,” West said. “I want to host the Big West playoffs and get the win there. I want to experience some things these girls and this university have never experienced before.”