Senior Day win to remember forever women’s soccer

Michael Harrington

It’s time to close another chapter.

Four Cal State Northridge seniors were honored on Senior Day, Sunday, before the Matador’s season finale against the Cal State Fullerton Titans.

Nalena Betancourt, Tinamarie Lutizetti, Kristal Phillips, and Tryna Tafoya all walked out to center pitch with members of their families during a pregame ceremony. All four of them spent five years with the women’s soccer team, and they all will be graduating from CSUN in the coming months.

‘It’s been so incredible,’ said Betancourt, who was a team captain this season along with Tafoya. ‘I’m just sad that it’s all over.’

The four players were showered with hugs, flowers, and cheers from their families, teammates, and Matador fans who came out to watch.

In their final season, all four were able to score at least one goal for Northridge. Betancourt netted the game-winner in double-overtime on opening day against San Diego State.

Lutizetti scored her two career goals in back-to-back games early in the year. ?Tafoya and Phillips contributed to scores all year long, including in the last game. Tafoya was credited with and assist and Phillips scored the team’s third goal, the last of the 2008.

‘It’s was a lot of hard work and patience,’ said Phillips, who finished her career tied for sixth on the Matadors’ all-time list with 30 career points. ‘It was a great ending to five long years.’

In the five years they were on the team, they helped the Matadors win 46 games, including the milestone 100th victory earlier this year.

‘They’re such great kids both on and off the field, said Head Coach Keith West, who was on the coaching staff for all five of the seniors’ years. ‘Its hard seeing them leave. I love all four of them.’

That feeling is echoed.

‘All the girls here are great, I love them all,’ said Tafoya, who leaves Northridge tied with Phillips for second on the Matador all-time list with 12 assists. ”It’s been such a great experience here.’

In the quartet’s final match, the Matadors defeated the Titans 3-1. With one minute left to play, West subbed out the four girls to a standing ovation from the crowd and their teammates. The win gave them all something to smile about as they left the pitch at Matador Soccer Field for the last time.

‘From the team, to the staff, everything has been so great,’ said Lutizetti. ‘We proved a lot in these years.

‘(To describe it all) in one word,’ she continued, taking a deep breath and pausing for five seconds to find a single adjective. ‘Amazing. Just amazing.’