CSUN nears Big West title

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The CSUN men’s soccer team heads into tonight’s match against the UC Irvine Anteaters at Anteater Stadium with a chance to clinch its second Big West Conference title in three years.

The Matadors enter the final week of the regular season with a record of 13-2-3, 8-0-1 in Big West play. CSUN clinched a share of the conference title Nov. 5, when it defeated the CSU Fullerton Titans 3-0 at Titan Stadium. Alec de Mattos, Ryan Rossi and Devin Deldo scored for the Matadors and their defense held the Titans to only five shot attempts.

Matador goalkeeper Kevin Guppy needed to make only one save against the Titans, and was named to the College Soccer News National Team of the Week for posting shutouts against the Titans and the then No. 14 UC Santa Barbara on Nov. 2. Guppy recorded six saves, including four key saves in the last five minutes of the first half that preserved the 1-0 win over the Gauchos.

UC Irvine currently sits in second place in conference with a record of 6-1-1 (10-5-3 overall). Irvine lost its last match to non-conference opponent UC Davis 2-1 on Nov. 5, but kept its Big West title hopes alive by defeating CSU Fullerton 4-3 on Nov. 2. Anthony Hamilton recorded a hat trick (three goals in a game) against the Titans and also assisted the game-winning goal. Hamilton also had a hat trick in Irvine’s previous game against Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, earning him Big West Player of the Week honors. Only six players in NCAA Division I competition have recorded hat tricks in consecutive games.

The Matadors will then close out the regular season against the Aggies in Davis on Friday at 2 p.m. The Aggies are led by Nicholas Lind, who has a team-leading nine points, including three goals, and is currently tied with teammates Quincy Amarikwa and Juan Hernandez for the lead in assists. Goalkeeper Derek Shaffer has a team-leading 38 saves. UC Davis is an independent school that entered Division I competition in 2003 and must endure a four-year initiation before it can join the Big West Conference. The Aggies, as all of their athletic programs are doing, are currently playing against Big West Conference teams to familiarize themselves with their future competitors.

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