After defeating Cal Poly for the first time on the road, Cal State Northridge will be tested on Friday night when they face No. 18 UC Irvine in a Big West match at Anteater Stadium.
The Matadors (8-6, 3-1) hold the second place position with nine points in the Big West standings, and will look to tie the first-place Anteaters (12-1-2, 4-0), who are undefeated in conference play, with 12 points.
CSUN is content with their position in conference standings and are up to the challenge, according to head coach Keith West
“(Our position) it’s good, we got a tough test on Friday they are undefeated so far, they got one loss on the year and anytime you get points on the road it is big,” West said. “If we get points on the road this Friday we’re going to be putting ourselves in a position to do well this year.”
The Matadors have momentum going into the game since they defeated the Mustangs on the road in a 2-0 shutout, which was another one of the many accomplishments the team has made this year. Earlier in the season the team defeated UC San Diego for the first time ever just another one of the teams attributes this season.
Last season the Matadors defeated the Anteaters at Matador Field. Also CSUN has an advantage in the all-time series with a 7-3-3 record. Yet this season will be different and the challenge will come at a heavy price as the Anteaters have won their last nine games and have gone undefeated in their last 12.
The Anteaters lead their opponents in every offensive category this year except penalty kicks. In shots (197-123), goals (37-12), corner kicks (134-31).
Defensively, the team has collected 51 saves on the season and their goalkeeper Daneille de Seriere is having a surreal season. She has the lowest goals-against average in UCI history with at 0.84 and career wise she has 241 saves, which ranks her third place in school history. She has 27 career shutouts which is second all-time in school history.
Another star player for the Anteaters is sophomore forward Mar Rodriguez, who has seven career game-winning goals.
Yet with all the hype surrounding UC Irvine, West believes in his Matadors and said they are going to perform well.
“I think we are going to do well,” West said. “Irvine’s been showing that they are pretty consistent and they are getting the job done when it counts so if we come to play its going to be a great game.”
The Anteaters are not the only team who has proven themselves to be a top-ranked contender, the Matadors have had key highlights on the season as well.
Senior Farryn Townley is one goal away from breaking the school record and goalkeeper Cynthia Jacobo is having a breakout season in which she recently received Big West Defensive Player of the Week honors.
The Matadors have four games left before the Big West regular season schedule is done and West said the team has a good chance of making it to the finals.
“I think we do, I think we got a squad to win it,” West said. “I think we got a squad to do some great things this year. We have done a lot of things for the first time this year and I think that happens when you start becoming a good program.”