Coming off an impressive 1-0 win at Stanford and a nail-biting 1-1 tie against the No. 8 Golden Bears in Berkeley, the Matadors will now have a chance to defeat the No. 1 team in the country, the Indiana Hoosiers.
The two teams will compete this weekend at the Oregon State Diadora Classic in Corvallis, Ore.
CSUN will match up against the two-time defending champion Hoosier on Sept. 16. The Hoosiers are riding a nine-match unbeaten streak dating back to last season. Indiana finished the 2004 season victorious in five straight matches and claimed the national championship.
So far, in 2005, the Hoosiers are 3-0-1 in their opening four matches. Indiana has beat Wake Forest by a score of 1-0, Southern Methodist University 4-0 and Boston University 5-0 and tied Saint Louis 1-1.
Indiana had a 23-match unbeaten streak that stretched from the final 18 matches of the 2003 season and the first five of the 2004 season. Junior forward Jacob Peterson leads IU with four goals, while senior Brian Plotkin is the teams point leader (9) with three goals and three assists.
In goal, sophomore Chris Munroe has a 0.25 goals against average to accompany his two shutouts in 357 minutes of play.
The Matadors have never faced Indiana before and are 0-1 lifetime against teams from the Big Ten (loss to Michigan State in 1998). The Matadors will need to win the Hoosier game if their hopes of finishing the season in the top-10 are to be realized.
Following the IU game, the Matadors will play the UNLV Rebels on Sept. 18. The Rebels are coming off two big wins at home, beating No. 23 Portland and No. 15 Northwestern, by identical 2-1 scores. Those wins brought their record to 2-2 after opening-week losses to Wisconsin (2-1) and Wisconsin-Milwaukee (3-1).
Senior Rod Dyachenko and freshman Lamar Neagle each have two goals on the season, while senior Deshawn Woolery has one goal and two assists. In goal, senior Peter Clitheroe has a 1.70 goals against average in 371 minutes of action.
The Matadors and the Rebels have split their previous 12 meetings, with CSUN owning a two-match winning streak in the series.
Last season the Matadors won 3-1. In 2003, at UNLV, the team won by a 2-1 score, with the Rebels’ last victory coming in 2000 (1-0). The two teams have never played at a neutral site before.
CSUN is 3-0-1 on the season following their victory over Stanford and the teams tie with No. 8 Cal at the Adidas/Cal Legacy Classic. In their opening four matches, the Matadors have only allowed one goal.
Junior Willie Sims, who has 10 points, four goals and two assists on the season, leads the Matadors. After earning MVP honors at the Matador Classic, Sims was named Big West Player of the Week. He also was a third team College Soccer News Preseason All-American as well as a two-time reigning Big West Co-Offensive Player of the Year.
Freshman goalkeeper Kevin Guppy, who has started all four games between the posts, averaging 0.25 goals against, also leads the Matadors. Guppy has recorded a decision for CSUN in all four games, along with two shutouts and 14 saves.
CSUN was picked to finish No. 2 in the Big West preseason polls behind defending conference champion and NCAA runner-up UC Santa Barbara.
The Matadors are now ranked by all four national polls after joining the rankings published by the NSCAA and Soccer Times this week. Northridge entered the Soccer Times rankings at No. 24 and the NSCAA poll at No. 25.
CSUN continued to move up in both polls that the team was previous ranked in. The highest ranking was issued by Soccer America, which moved CSUN up three spots, 19th to 16th. The biggest jump came from College Soccer News, which moved the Matadors seven spots from 29th to 22nd.
Following the Oregon State Diadora Classic, the Matadors will return home from their four match road trip and play San Diego on Sept. 21 at 3 p.m.
Justin Satzman can be reached at email@example.com