Men’s conference play begins

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The men’s soccer team kicks off its Big West schedule today against UC Riverside. The away game is the team’s first conference clash of the season.

The team will then meet Cal Poly San Luis Obispo on Oct. 1 at Matador Field. Both games are equally important with potential post-season considerations on the line for the Matadors.

In today’s game, the Matadors will face a Highlander team which has won two straight, after starting the season 0-5-1. The Matadors are 4-1-2 all-time in Riverside, but have tied the last two matches.

The game against Cal Poly will be the first home conference game of the season for CSUN. The Mustangs have a record of 4-4-0, and are led by Marcus Griffin, with six points, including three goals on eight shot attempts. Moses Venegas, Eric Ward, Nikhil Erlebach, Matthew Robinson and Justin Woodward have each recorded two goals on the season.

Cal Poly has won two straight games, but the Matadors are 14-3-1 all time against the Mustangs

CSUN, currently standing with a record of 4-2-1, started out with a bang, defeating Oakland and Dartmouth decisively at the Matador Soccer Invitational on Sept. 3 and 4, then beat Stanford 1-0 in its opening game of the Adidas/Cal Berkeley Classic, before tying 1-1 against the No. 8 ranked Cal Golden Bears.

CSUN has struggled late, losing two out of three, including a 5-0 decision to the defending national champion Indiana Hoosiers at the Oregon State Diadora Classic. The team also suffered a 1-0 home loss to the University of San Diego Toreros last Wednesday. Regardless, Davila and the team remain confident.

“We have to make sure we don’t get too high after a win and don’t get too low after a loss,” Davila said.

CSUN is led by preseason All-American junior Willie Sims. In 7 games, Sims has scored seven goals on 27 shot attempts, including three goals in the season opener against Oakland, and another three goals against Nevada-Las Vegas in CSUN’s second game of the Oregon State Tournament.

Davila said the key to any future success is finding help for Sims up front.

“We want to get him another battery mate,” Davila said.

Junior midfielder Taylor Canel is one of those players that could help out Sims. Canel had taken 13 shot attempts and scored two goals. He is second on the team.

Sophomore Sean Franklin and Senior Daniel Paladini have taken 10 shot attempts on the season for the Matadors.

“We know we have a chance to win every game,” said head coach Terry Davila.

Ivan Yeo can be reached at ivan.yeo.80@csun.edu.