The CSUN men’s soccer team was led by freshman midfielder Gustavo Villalobos as it opened up Big West Conference play with a 3-0 win against Cal State University, Fullerton (2-5-2) on Saturday night.
Villalobos had a hand in every Matador goal (2-6-1, 1-0), scoring his first two goals of his collegiate career and assisted on the third score.
“It felt very good to finally get that goal and I want to thank my teammates and coaches for their hard work and support,” Villalobos told the CSUN athletic department after the game. “To score seven goals over the last two games is a huge confidence boost for us as we prepare for the rest of the Big West season.”
The Titans entered Saturday’s game on a high note as they pulled off an upset win against defending champions UC Santa Barbara on Wednesday. However, the Matadors edged the Titans in just about every category. CSUN controlled the entire game in shots (18-6) and corner kicks (11-3).
Another positive for the Matadors, who have had three players in the last three games ejected due to red cards, was the fact that they didn’t have anyone receive a red card against the Titans.
The first goal of the match came in the 17th minute off the foot of midfielder Villalobos, who has become the sixth Matador to find the back of the net this season.
After receiving a pass from midfielder Luis Gil, Villalobos moved past a Titan defender and scored after the ball deflected off the Fullerton goalkeeper Trevor Whiddon.
Villalobos assisted midfielder Rene Anguiano for the second goal of the match in the 31st minute of play.
Midfielder Rafael Garcia also put his stamp on the game in the 69th minute of play as he set a pass to Villalobos, who scored his second goal of the match.
With the score, Garcia improved his team lead in assists and now has a total of three unlike other Matadors who have one. Villalobos is now tied for second in goals with Anguiano and is also second in shot attempts with 20, just one behind the leader, Garcia.
In the net, sophomore Michael Abalos is starting to show why he earned all Big West Honorable Mention as a freshman last year as he recorded his second shutout performance in a row and attained three saves on Saturday.
Northridge returns to action Wednesday when they travel to San Luis Obispo to take on Cal Poly.