With the prospect of going to a shootout for the second consecutive game, junior Jeremy Degraffenreidt took a long lead pass from senior Shane Steffes and broke through the defense to power in the game-winning goal with 52 seconds remaining for a 2-1 sudden-death victory to vault the CSUN Men’s Soccer team to the Big West Conference title Saturday at Matador Soccer Field.
With their winning the Big West for the second time in school history, the Matadors get a berth in the NCAA Tournament, where they host University of the Pacific on Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. at Matador Soccer Field.
“We’ve been in two do-or-die games, and we won both of them,” said CSUN head coach Terry Davila, referencing the semifinal 6-5 shootout victory over Sacramento State on Nov. 9. “That’s a great precursor to what we’re going to see in the NCAAs. It’s a one-and-done, and hopefully we can get going and keep rolling.”
This is the seventh time overall the Matadors have qualified for the NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Tournament. This year, they have the added benefit of a home postseason game against the Tigers, who come in with a 12-3-2 record and a title in the West Coast Conference. The winner faces fifth-seeded Stanford in the second round of the tournament.
Davila noted the electrified atmosphere at Saturday’s conference title game, with the stands at CSUN filled with rabid fans making so much noise for the Matadors. And he’s looking for the fans to keep the energy level sky high in the NCAA Tournament.
“They pulled us through,” Davila said. “We needed the lift, and our CSUN soccer community and our Cal State Northridge family were all behind us and we felt it. It was very, very fun to be a part of it.”
For more information about the upcoming game, please visit gomatadors.com.