After six intense Big West Conference matches, the Matadors (9-7, 4-2 Big West) will look to trample the Roadrunners (4-5-5) as the two rivals meet for a head-to -head bout on Thursday night in a non-conference matchup at Main Soccer Field.
CSUN plays its first of two non-league games against Cal State Bakersfield and the other against Seattle University in the final game of the regular season.
The Matadors are coming away from an electrifying game Sunday night as the team defeated UC Riverside, 1-0, and senior forward Farryn Townley broke the school record for most goals scored all-time with 20.
Now with time away from the Big West, CSUN will take this opportunity to brush up on its skills before they face Long Beach State in an important conference matchup on Sunday.
“I think it will be more focused on our technique and just stuff that we need to work on type of things because we have a big game on Sunday,” said Townley, discussing the Bakersfield matchup.
As for the Roadrunners, the team is coming off a huge 3-0 loss to Creighton University and statistically the team has allowed their opponents to outshoot (202-174) and outscore (18-12) them in the season.
Yet, with the disadvantages Bakersfield has faced, the team has produced some quality players such as sophomore Sam Pena. Pena leads the team with five goals giving her 10 points on the season. Three of her five goals came in one game against Hawaii.
Another leading scorer for the team is Tyler Shirk, who holds three goals and one assist placing her with seven points on the season. The two together are a dynamic pair and have the ability to give Northridge a good run if they are taken lightly.
Head coach Keith West knows the value of a strong team and a good opportunity and he is treating this game as if it were a conference match.
“Bakersfield is no easy goal, it is going to be a tough match and a tough goal,” West said. “They have some good wins this year and we are looking forward to the challenge; they beat us last year on our home field so we are ready for it and are up for it.”
Last season the Roadrunners handed CSUN a devastating loss as Bakersfield scored the lone goal of the game in the final minute of action giving the Matadors the loss. All-time the Matadors have an advantage with a 2-1 record against the Roadrunners.
Northridge has had a tough road schedule this season with loses against powerhouses such as UCLA and Texas A&M and with victories against big names such as Kansas and UNLV giving the team a 3-5 record on the road.
The prior season Matador goalkeeper Cynthia Jacobo recorded a shutout against the Roadrunners starting the first half for CSUN. This season she has six shutouts ranking her fourth place and 75 saves placing her ninth in school history for a single season. The sophomore has been solid at the net for CSUN and said the team should just do what they have been doing and Bakersfield should not be a problem.
“Just keep focusing on the season by practicing the way we have been practicing, working the way we have and just going out playing Bakersfield and giving all we got,” Jacobo said.
As far as the Big West is concerned, the team has 12 points in the conference and continues to hold the second place position but the Matadors and Jacobo would like to improve their standings.
“We are pretty good in our standings right now, we would have wanted a little better after Friday’s loss (against UC Irvine) but it is what it is,” Jacobo said. “So we are just going to keep going after the other two teams and just hope that we get the wins that we need to put ourselves in a good position.”