It seems like every team in the Big West Conference is ranked nowadays and here comes another one. Head Coach Terry Davila and the CSUN men’s soccer team keep saying that every squad in the conference is even so every game is just as big. While it may be true that the Big West teams’ levels of skill are very close ‘- reflected by the numerous ‘upsets’ seen this season ‘- Northridge knows that today’s game against No. 14 UC Santa Barbara is not just any game. In fact, it is perhaps the biggest game the Matadors will have faced so far. The Gauchos are not only the defending league champions, but they’re also ahead of the Matadors in the Big West. Only four teams advance to the conference tournament and CSUN is clinging to that fourth seed right now. A loss at home would be a dangerous blow for Northridge, especially with No. 20 UC Irvine following so closely in the standings. Also, the Matadors would love to better their chances at obtaining some kind of home field advantage for the playoffs and a win this afternoon is the perfect way to inch closer to that the goal. After this, they will head out for two road games against the ‘bottom’ teams of the conference, UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton.
Matadors vs. UCSB Gauchos
Date: Today Time: 2:30 p.m. Place: Matador Field, Northridge Series: Tied 13-13-5 Last Meeting: Oct. 8, 2008, Northridge 2 @ UCSB 2 Interesting fact: The Gauchos are 3-0 on their Big West away schedule. The victims were: UC Irvine, Cal Poly and Cal State Fullerton.
Matador to watch: Junior Cameron Sims, forward
Sims was having a nice debut season with the Matadors as a main offensive weapon’hellip;until he had to have an appendectomy. He returned last Wednesday at Cal Poly, but got a red card and a one-game suspension. While Sims’ absence pushed forward Camilo Rojas hard and transformed the sophomore into a vital goal-threat and the team’s new leading scorer, it’s time for Sims to announce he’s back for good. He’ll make the Matadors that much more dangerous offensively.
Gaucho to watch: Senior Chris Pontius, forward
The Matadors know Pontius. He’s author of one of the 15 goals they’ve allowed this season. The senior is always a player to watch, because if you don’t, he’s going to make you pay ‘- as he’s done 12 times this season already. He ranks second in scoring only behind No. 10 UC Davis’ Quincy Amarikwa (15) and has been named Player of the Week in numerous occasions by the Big West, College Soccer News and Soccer America. It’s just a matter of time before Pontius lands in the MLS.
What did he say? Terry Davila, Head Coach on whether or not playing the defending champion Gauchos is extra special: ‘It used to be that (UC) Santa Barbara was the biggest game in the Big West. It’s not like that anymore. Every game is a ‘Santa Barbara’ game like it was a couple of years back… it’s exciting to play every match. Every match is tough. It’s an honor to play in this league’