CSUN women’s soccer prepares for difficult task on the road

Brandon Henson

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Northridge midfielder, Desiree Cardenas, fights for a header against the San Diego Toreros on Sept. 27 at the Matador Field. Photo Credit: Paul Kingsley Photo Editor

After completing a perfect 3-0 homestand, the Cal State Northridge women’s soccer team goes on the road to face Big West opponents UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly this weekend.

The Matadors (7-5, 2-0) will first face the Gauchos (5-5-2, 1-1) on Friday night and then go head-to-head with the Mustangs (6-5-1, 1-0-1) Sunday afternoon.

The Matadors, who are in a three-game winning streak, collected six points when they defeated UC Davis and Pacific to take a 2-0 record in the Big West and now are tied for first place in the conference standings with UC Irvine.

Matador goalkeeper Cynthia Jacobo received Defensive Player of the Week honors for recording two shutouts last week. She is glad the team is doing well and said they just have to keep their confidence level up.

“It’s a great start for us, it puts us in a good position as far as going into Big West,” Jacobo said. “We just got to stay with our heads high and keep focused on what we want, our goal and the prize. (Just) keep working throughout practice.”

The team travels to Santa Barbara in hopes of getting their third conference win and making things even with the Gauchos. In the season opener the Matadors lost to the Gauchos, 2-0, in a non-conference match at Meredith Field. CSUN has lost 10 out of the last 11 games against UCSB.

The task shall be difficult for the Matadors, as the Gauchos are 4-1 at home with the only loss coming against the University of Oklahoma. The Gauchos have outshot their opponents 180-137 and outscored 16-14 and a couple of players are having ideal seasons.

Senior forward Kylie McDonald is a transfer from Pepperdine University where she scored her first goal against the Matadors. This season she has three goals and three assist giving her nine points on the season.

Following her lead is Kailyn Kugler , who is an explosive player that can manage numerous positions playing defender, midfielder and forward. Last season she took Big West Offensive Player of the Year and First Team All-Big West. This season she is on the same track with three goals and two assist giving her eight points on the season, one of her goals being a game-winner.

Next, the Matadors head to San Luis Obispo to face the Mustangs, a team that has split their first two conference games with one win and one tie. The Mustangs are 2-1 at home and have been on the disadvantage against opponents. The team has been out shot by opponents 202-130 and outscored 19-17.

The team may not have a great overall performance but they have players who are doing well in the season. One of their players, senior forward Whitney Sisler, has six goals on the season giving her 12 points. Another player sophomore forward Bianca Burright has four goals and three assists.

The Matadors will have to watch out for the Mustangs defensively, the team has 77 total saves on the season with 53 coming from junior goalkeeper Brooke Gauvin.

Head coach Keith West knows that this weekend will be a major test for his team.

“We got one heck of a weekend coming up with Santa Barbara and Cal Poly and I think that might be the toughest place to go up and play two great teams,” West said.

West also knows the trials the Matadors have faced when up against UC Santa Barbara.

“We haven’t beat Santa Barbara in awhile, so I think Friday is a good test to our girls to see if we can find a way to win on Friday,” West said.

Friday’s game against the Gauchos is slated to begin at 7p.m. and against the Mustang’s the Matadors will play at 1 p.m.