The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Matadors look to stay perfect on road

Off to the best start in their program’s history, the Matadors (4-0-0) will head to Northern California for two games this weekend as they participate in the Saint Mary’s Fall Classic in Moraga.

Winning is always tougher on the road, so the coaching staff knows that the team must keep working and improving if they want to come home victorious.

‘We just need to continue to stick to the basics,’ said Head Coach Keith West. ‘If we continue working and are able to improve by 10 percent each day, then we’ll be a lot better off at the end of the year.’

Their first match will be Friday when they take on No. 20 California. Fresh off a 3-0 blasting of Missouri on Saturday, the Golden Bears (3-1-0) enter the match with confidence.

California’s offense is driven by a pair of sophomores. Lisa Kevorkian, coming off an injury-plagued 2007 season, currently leads the Pac-10 Conference with five goals. Right on her tail is teammate Alex Morgan, who’s placed the ball into the back of an opponent’s net four times this season. In 2007, Morgan was named to the Pac-10 All-Freshmen team.

Trying to slow them down is the Northridge defense, who has been up to the task all season long. Spearheaded by senior captain Nalena Betancourt in the backline and goalkeeper Leah Elliot at the net, the defense has only allowed four goals in total in the first four games. It’s a trend they hope to keep going.

‘Defensively we still need to focus on not allowing the other team to have second chances on goal,’ said assistant coach Derek Hanks.

The Golden Bears are anchored in the net by junior Gina Pellegrini, who has nine saves and one shutout this season. Like CSUN, California has only allowed four goals all year.
The Bears are playing under second-year head coach Neil McGuire, who led the team to a 15-5-1 record in 2007 ‘- and a No.11 ranking in the nation – before being eliminated in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Friday’s game, which is the first meeting ever between the two programs, will start at 2 p.m. The Matadors have Saturday off, but will be back on the pitch Sunday afternoon.
Their Sunday opponent will be the hosting team, Saint Mary’s College. The Gaels (3-2-0) last took the field on Sunday and suffered a defeat at the hands of the Oregon Ducks.

Saint Mary’s offense has been sputtering lately as they have scored just one goal in their last three contests. ?Senior Stefani Rocco leads the team in goals with two and was named to the 2007 All-West Coast Conference (WCC) First Team. She is the only Gael with more than one goal this season.

On the other end of the spectrum, the Matadors have started out the season on fire, averaging more than two goals per contest. Four CSUN players have put in two scores this season, including seniors Tinamarie Lutizetti, Kristal Phillips and Tryna Tafoya.

Sophomore Farryn Townley joined the club last Friday with her second score in as many games. Both of Townley’s goals have been game-winners.

‘It’s been so exciting,’ said Townley about her contributions in 2008. ‘I feel really good, like I’m doing what I should be (doing) and helping out.’

For Saint Mary’s, junior goalkeeper Tara Larson will have the burden of trying to stop the CSUN attack. So far in 2008, Larson has allowed six goals, made 23 saves and posted a shutout.

The Gael head coach is Kelly Lindsey, who is in her third year. Since she has been at the helm, Saint Mary’s has an overall record of 12-26-6.

All in all, West said the team is excited and focused heading into the road trip. The players echoed the statement.

‘You always have to be more focused on the road,’ said Tafoya, coming off a one-goal performance last Friday. ‘Everything is against you, so you just have to be ready to play.’

The fourth team taking part of the weekend competition is Boise State. The Broncos (3-1-1) and the Matadors don’t get to face off, however.

Sunday’s game is set for a 2:30 p.m. kickoff.

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