Matadors ready for undefeated Sacramento State

Alonso Tacanga

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






The Matadors are on a short losing streak, but the team they face next has all the right to think they’ll prolong it.

The men’s soccer team (3-3-0) will pick a difficult scenario to try to stop their two-game losing trend as they host an unbeaten Sacramento State squad that has won five of its first six games in 2008. The game will be played on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. at Matador Soccer Field.

‘They know how to win obviously,’ said Head Coach Terry Davila. ‘They have a tight defense; they don’t give up many goals; and they got good front-runners. We’re excited about the opportunity to play an undefeated team on our home field.’

Northridge began the season with a disappointing loss at home, but bounced back to win its next three games. The forwards, Cameron Sims and Moy Gomez, seemed to find a groove and scored in consecutive games during the run as well. However, a current two-game slip over the past weekend has put the Matadors back at .500 and in need of turning things around. CSUN was defeated by Wisconsin 2-0 on Friday and 1-0 by UW-Milwaukee on Sunday.

It was an odd weekend outing for the Matadors, who had won the previous tournament they took part in – the Cal State Fullerton Tournament. They were outplayed by Wisconsin, but managed to keep the score tied until the 60th minute, moment in which the first of two quick goals came. Two days later, they looked as if they’d be able to get past the Panthers, but opposing goalkeeper Grant Fernstrum just wouldn’t let them. They were then stunned by a late goal in the 81st minute to complete the three-day, two-loss stretch.

‘If we had all went as a team and combined together, we could have stopped those goals from going in and come out with (at least) a victory,’ said Sims of the losses.

In comes Sacramento State, a team that has only allowed one goal for the whole season. They began 2008 with two wins and a double-overtime tie. They have since won all their matches and are currently on a three-game winning streak.

As far as streaks go, the Matadors want to avoid the number three for now. Some seem certain that’ll be the case.

‘Our offense will be able to put at least two (goals) in the back of the net if we get focused and we do what we have to do,’ said a confident Gomez, who shares the team-lead in scoring with Sims (2).

Gomez’ statement is quite a big one considering the kind of defense Sacramento State has played this season. The Hornets feature a pair of excellent defenders in seniors Adam Owens and Omar Martinez, who were selected to the 2007 All- Mountain Pacific Sports Federation First and Second Team respectively. With them as the backbone of the Sacramento State goal-shield, it’s no wonder only one team, UC Irvine, has been able to score on them in 2008.

‘We are hoping that we can execute, stay confident and disorganize them with our ball movement, our runners and with quality.’ said Davila when asked about how to become the second team to score against the Hornets. ‘From there on, we just got to put away our opportunities. I know we’re going to produce opportunities. It’s up to us to put them away.’

Sacramento State is not all about defense, however. Last year’s scoring leader, senior forward Blake Nunez, has only gotten better and already has three goals this season. In 2007, Nunez scored only four, but that was good enough to make him the team’s top scorer..

The Hornets were a mere 4-13-2 overall last season, which makes their play thus far in 2008 that much more remarkable. They will be taking on a Matador squad hungry for a victory. Gomez feels the stage is set up for a small upset.

‘It’s a challenge we’re prepared to take on,’ he said. ‘We’ve done it before. We have no fear taking on Sacramento State on our home field and taking it to them. We’re fine. We’re up for the challenge.’

In Davila’s words: We’ll see.