Matadors lose heartbreaker on the road

Alonso Tacanga

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The Matadors had UW-Milwaukee on its heels, reeling back, making its goalkeeper tired of intervening time after time. Then, the Panthers scored a goal and, despite maybe even deserving the win, CSUN’s once three-game winning streak had turned into a two-game losing one.

Moral victories don’t count in the stat book.

‘No. I didn’t think we deserved (to win),’ echoed Matador head coach Terry Davila when asked if the result was unfair. ‘If we would have scored, we’d deserve it.’

Northridge’s unceasing attack served only for Panther goalkeeper Grant Fernstrum to showcase a repertoire of saves as the Matadors weren’t able to get anything past him and were stunned with a late goal to finish the UW-Milwaukee Tournament with a 1-0 loss. The result marked a winless two-game weekend and evened out CSUN’s overall record at 3-3-0.

The Matadors were hoping to bounce back from a disheartening 2-0 loss suffered on Friday at the hands of Wisconsin. CSUN had withstood attacks from the Badgers all game long, but were surprised with two goals in two minutes to seal the decision in that one. This time around was different as Northridge looked closer to victory than its rival, but could never break through. UW-Milwaukee’s Peter Sanger took advantage of one of his team’s clear chances in the 82nd minute of play and placed the ball into Matador goalkeeper Kevin Guppy’s back of the net to hand Northridge another tough loss.

‘It’s reality and you got to deal with it,’ said Davila. ‘You cant’s say ‘what if’ and you can’t live in a fantasy world. You didn’t score, you didn’t win. That’s real. You got to deal with facts.’

Northridge began the game on offensive mode and attempted three shots in the first five minutes of the game. The Panthers also brought trouble to Guppy’s goal, but the Matadors had the most opportunities in the water-swamped field.

UW-Milwaukee had its first shot attempt of the game at the 20th minute, a blocked kick by senior Adam Skalecki. CSUN kept trying as well, but at no avail. Davila even tried a different lineup, making three substitutions at the 30th minute, in an attempt to find the eluding score. The goal never came, though.

With the Matadors shooting 10 tries on goal, Fernstrum became the star of the game. His spectacular saves rescued his Panthers from a likely loss and doomed Northridge again in a way it knows too well. In the first game of the season, CSUN also controlled the pace of the game only to lose 1-0 to visiting Georgetown. Fernstrum was so sharp that his performance earned him tournament MVP-honors. He had 11 saves for the competition, 10 of which came against the Matadors, and didn’t allow a single goal. His Panthers were also Co-Champions along with Binghamton.

Fernstrum was named Horizon League Player of the Week on Monday.

‘(Fernstrum) did his job,’ said Davila. ‘He did his role, keeping that ball out of the net. He made a couple of very good saves.’

Davila gave credit to the opposing goalie for the result, but also felt his performance was no excuse for losing the game. The Matadors should have come home with more than two losses.

‘When you have that many opportunities, you should score,’ he said.

Guppy also had a fine outing in his record-breaking 66th game at the net and recorded five saves for the game. A potential sixth-save turned into the heartbreaking goal, however, as UW-Milwaukee freshman Eric Frazier found Sanger in Matador territory and the forward got around a final defender to send the ball to Guppy’s far post.

After getting down, Davila made more modifications in hopes of getting the equalizer, but all CSUN could get was a Sunghyun Kim kick that sailed high. Northridge came home with an equal number of wins and defeats.

The Matadors now return home to take on Sacramento State on Sunday.