For the second consecutive year CSUN will have a shot at the Big West Tournament championship but need to get past Long Beach State first.
The Matadors will face the 49ers on Thursday afternoon at George Allen Field in the conference semifinals.
The playoff match against Long Beach State (12-5-2, 5-2-1 Big West) will mark the third time in school history CSUN (12-8,5-3 Big West) has made an appearance in the postseason.
The team earned their playoff berth after defeating Cal State Fullerton in a 2-0 victory in the Matadors final conference game of the season, a game in which senior forward Farryn Townley set the record for most career points.
Also, on Senior Day, CSUN beat on Seattle University, 3-1, ranking in goals from Townley and freshman forward Brittanie Sakajian, who dropped two goals for CSUN’s victory.
Northridge will have to keep their momentum flowing as they face a 49er team that has already dealt the Matadors with a 2-1 defeat earlier in the season and leads the series record between the two teams at 7-6-1.
Long Beach State will have home field but assistant coach Juan Plascenia and head coach Keith West have said they believe traveling to Long Beach State is an advantage for their team.
“This team has been playing great all year, only two teams have scored more than two goals on us. We fight and we dig. This school and this team, and I couldn’t be more proud in who they are and what they are,” West said.
CSUN definitely will have to dig down offensively and focus defensively since Long Beach State has a couple of key players that are playmakers.
On the defensive end of the ball, the 49ers have a solid defender in sophomore Alex Balcer, who has started every match this season and has played a key role in the five shutouts the team has posted.
Leading the offensive push for the 49ers is Nadia Link who has eight goals, three being game-winners, and 17 points for her team.
Sophomore defender Katie Russ, who scored her first career goal against Fullerton, believes the team just has to focus mentally.
“We are doing this thing where the team is staying positive, complimenting each other and keeping each other’s vibes up and motivated,” Russ said. “I know everyone’s legs are getting thin being the end of the season, (yet by) just being a team and working as a unit then I think we can get through it.”
Arguably, this has been one of the best seasons in women’s soccer history. Among some of the highlights, include the team tying the school record with 12 wins and goalkeeper Cynthia Jacobo having a breakout season with seven shutouts. The bench has come through for the team on numerous occasions and fifth-year senior Townley has added to her legacy as a Matador recording the most career goals with 22.
Last year Townley scored the lone Matador goal in the defeat to UC Santa Barbara in the Big West semifinals. She is one of the Matadors who knows how intense and hyped Thursday’s matchup will be.
“We just got to believe in ourselves, I think it is just our confidence pretty much, we got soccer and everything (down),” Townley said. “Every single person has to believe we can do it then we can definitely do it.”