CSUN Opens Home Slate Against No. 8 New Mexico, Bradley

  • Sagi Lev-Ari poses with ball.

    All-American Sagi Lev-Ari has scored in each of CSUN's first four matches in 2014. The Matadors take on No. 8 New Mexico in the home opener on Sept. 12 at Matador Soccer Field. Photo by Braden Villanueva

The CSUN Matadors open up the home portion of the 2014 schedule this week after playing their first four matches on the road. After a tough start to the year in Colorado, the Matadors rebounded with a pair of impressive victories last weekened at the Holiday Inn Hurricane Classic hosted by Tulsa. On Friday, CSUN cruised to a 2-0 win over then-No. 18 UAB before defeating the host Golden Hurricane 2-1 in overtime on Sunday to claim the championship of the event. Sagi Lev-Ari scored both game-winning goals for the Matadors to earn his first Big West Conference Player of the Week award of the season.

The focus shifts back now to the San Fernando Valley where the Matadors get set to host their first match of the year at Matador Soccer Field. On Friday, Sept. 12th the No. 8 New Mexico Lobos visit for the first time since 2007 looking for revenge after the Matadors won the last meeting between the two last season in Albuquerque. On Sunday, Sept. 14th CSUN will host Bradley for the first time in program history in the only afternoon home match of the year. Both programs reached the NCAA Tournament last season and New Mexico made it all the way to Philadelphia and the College Cup Semifinals. Both matches this week will include live stats coverage and a free audio broadcast available on GoMatadors.com.

Match #5:
CSUN (2-2-0) vs. #8 New Mexico (2-1-0)

Friday, Sept. 12 – 7 p.m.
Matador Soccer Field (1,982) – Northridge, Calif.
Live Stats and Audio: Link Available at Gameday Central
Promotions: Free Fan Fair outside stadium, 5-6:45 p.m.

Match #6:
CSUN vs. Bradley (1-2-0)

Sunday, Sept. 14 – 4 p.m.
Matador Soccer Field (1,982) – Northridge, Calif.
Live Stats and Audio:
Links Available at Gameday Central

Follow Your Matadors Online
All home games this season will include live stats coverage and selected contests will also feature a free audio broadcast on GoMatadors.com. For road games, related links to the game, including for any live stats, audio and video, will be posted before the game on the men’s soccer schedule page of GoMatadors.com. Fans are also encouraged to check the CSUN Athletics Department’s official Twitter feed (@GoMatadors), the soccer-specific feed (@CSUNMensSoccer), and the live in-game feed (@CSUN_InGame) for updates of games in progress and news and notes throughout the week.

Take Your Seat in the Front Row
Fans can now follow all of the action for CSUN’s 19 varsity sports right from their phone or tablet! CSUN Front Row, the official mobile app of Matador Athletics, is available for free for your iOS and Android devices. You can also access live stats coverage of a majority of CSUN home events, as well as audio and video links when available. For more information, search for CSUN Front Row on the App Store or Google Play or visit GoMatadors.com/frontrow.

A Closer Look at No. 8 New Mexico
The eighth-ranked New Mexico Lobos visit Matador Soccer Field for the first time since 2007 when CSUN entertains them on Friday night. The Lobos opened the year with a 1-0 win over then-No. 13 Akron but were defeated for the first time this year in a 2-1 home loss against then-No. 1 UCLA last Sunday. Last September the Matadors won a wild 3-2 contest in Albuquerque, upsetting New Mexico and winning their first-ever road match in the series. This Friday night, CSUN and New Mexico renew their rivalry and CSUN Athletics will host a free Fan Fair before the match beginning at 5 p.m. outside of the venue.

Chris Wehan, James Rogers and Josh Goss lead the Lobos with one goal, one assist and three points on the season. Oniel Fisher has the other goal this year for New Mexico and the Lobos have scored four goals on 57 shots. Goalkeeper Jason Beaulieu started the match against UCLA for New Mexico, but has not seen the majority of time in the net this season. In over 95 minutes between the pipes, Beaulieu has allowed two goals and has yet to make a save. He owns a 1.88 goals against average.

Last year, the Lobos reached the College Cup Semifinals in Philadelphia before falling to eventual National Champion Notre Dame. The Lobos will travel to San Diego to take on the Toreros after visiting CSUN this week.

A Closer Look at Bradley
The Bradley Braves enter the week with a 1-2-0 overall record and will take on the University of San Diego on Friday night before journeying north to CSUN on Sunday afternoon. The Braves are coming off a season in which they reached the NCAA Tournament and defeated Northwestern before falling at fourth-seeded California in the second round. Last year, the Matadors defeated Bradley on the road 1-0 on a goal by Tanner Snedigar with 62 seconds remaining. The Braves won their season opener 3-2 in double overtime against San Jose State but comes into the week after losing to both UNLV and Xavier at home.

Grant Bell has done the heavy lifting offensively for Bradley and has three goals, an assist and seven points through three matches. Both Jason Lesch and Andrew Brown have a pair of goals thus far and Christian Okeke leads the way with four assists. As a team, Bradley is averaging 2.67 goals per game and nearly half of their tries are shots on goal.

Although the Braves are scoring at a blistering pace, so are their opponents. Through three matches, Braves goalkeeper Shay Niemeyer has a 3.11 goals against average after allowing 10 goals and making eight saves. Opponents have scored four goals in each of Bradley’s losses this season.

Keep Calm and Sagi On
Senior forward Sagi Lev-Ari enters his final season as the offensive leader for CSUN.

  • Four goals in four matches so far this season
  • One of 32 players on MAC Hermann Trophy Preseason Watch List
  • Candidate for Senior CLASS Award
  • 2013 First Team All-American, 2014 Preseason First Team All-American
  • 16 goals, 6 assists and 38 points as a junior
  • Has 35 goals and 76 points in 48 career matches for CSUN
  • T-6th on CSUN’s All-Time Top 10 Scoring List

For The Ed-Win
Senior forward Edwin Rivas adds an explosive threat to the CSUN offense.

  • All-Big West Conference Second Team in 2013
  • Scored 4 goals and 4 assists for 12 points as a junior
  • All four assists came in CSUN victories
  • Has scored four game-winning goals for CSUN
  • Has 17 goals, 8 assists and 42 points in his CSUN career

The Ironman
Junior midfielder David Turcios returns for his third season with CSUN in 2014.

  • Two assists and two points in 2014
  • Has played in every match in his first two-plus seasons with the Matadors
  • Scored two goals and added seven assists in 2013
  • Among CSUN returners, brings back the most assists from a year ago
  • Had a goal and an assist in CSUN’s win at New Mexico
  • Scored the golden goal in overtime to defeat Cal State Fullerton in 2013

You Really Like It, You Want Mor-ley
Junior defender Trevor Morley is the anchor on an experienced CSUN defense this season.

  • Has appeared in all but one match in his career at CSUN
  • Is responsible for helping CSUN win 32 matches and earn 17 shutouts since 2012
  • Has two assists and two points in his career
  • Assisted on CSUN’s first goal of the 2013 season
  • Named to All-Big West Conference First Team and NSCAA All-Far West Region Third Team in 2013

A Keeper of Hobbs-ian proportions
Junior goalkeeper Adam Hobbs enters his second season between the pipes for CSUN.

  • Two wins and one shutout so far this season
  • Won 14 matches as a sophomore transfer in 2013
  • Recorded 69 saves on the year and had a 1.05 goals against average in 22 matches
  • After one-plus season, ranks ninth all-time for career wins at CSUN (16)

One Plus One is Three (Or Four)
Sophomore defender Gabe Robinson became the first CSUN player to record three or more points in a match this season after getting a goal and an assist in the victory over then-No. 18 UAB. The Matadors had 13 players record at least three points in a match in 2013, either by way of one goal and one assist or two goals (or more). Sagi Lev-Ari led all players with six-such performances, including five multi-goal games and a pair of hat tricks. In 2013, CSUN led all teams in the country in points (144). The experienced senior duo of Lev-Ari and Edwin Rivas are set to lead the attack for the Matadors this year and are supported by a cast of midfielders with another year under their belts. CSUN returns 11 players that recorded at least one point last season, including 10 that had more than one. Lev-Ari brings back the most in terms of offensive output after collecting 38 points last season, but all four starting defenders, five midfielders and two players that were strictly substitutes found their way onto the score sheet.

Poll Position
Following a second-straight 15-win season and a trip to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, the CSUN Matadors were ranked 24th by the NSCAA heading into the season. By appearing in the preseason Top 25 the Matadors were ranked in each of the previous 13 NSCAA polls, dating back to the first regular-season rankings of 2013. A pair of defeats during the opening weekend took CSUN out of the NSCAA Top 25, but two wins last weekend against UAB and Tulsa have the Matadors right on the edge of cracking the poll once more. The team was picked to emerge as champions of the Big West South Division in a preseason poll of head coaches in the conference. CSUN, which finished second in the regular season and conference tournament last year, received six first-place votes in the poll and 30 points overall. UC Irvine was picked second, followed by UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton in the division. In the North, the coaches tabbed UC Santa Barbara as favorites with eight first-place votes. The Gauchos were followed by UC Davis, Cal Poly and Sacramento State.

Manufacturing Points
Entering the preseason, the Matadors have solidified their place as one of the most prolific attacks in the country. Across the first two matches last year against Albany and Memphis, CSUN scored seven goals and tallied 10 assists while holding the opposition to just one goal and one assist. Fifteen different Matadors recorded at least one point in 2013, led by Sagi Lev-Ari with a robust 38. Yarden Azulay (8) is fit and ready to take on a greater role in the midfield while defender Pol Schonofer Bartra scored the first CSUN goal last season and had two points. Edwin Rivas (12), Steven Manios (4), David Turcios (11), Juan Samayoa (3), Mynor Giron (5), Tanner Snedigar (2), Nicolas Camacho (2) and Trevor Morley (1) round out the list of point scorers that are returning this season for the Matadors.

Redefining The “Matador Defense”
The CSUN Matadors don’t just let anyone compete on the team. A major requirement for each player is the ability to play a tough and aggressive style of defense at every position.. The Matadors return all five defensive starters from last season, including All-Big West First Team honoree Trevor Morley and goalkeeper Adam Hobbs. Mynor Giron, Patrick Hickman, Tanner Snedigar and Pol Schonhofer Bartra join Morley on the back line, giving the team added defensive depth. Four members of the defense recorded points in 2013 as well. Always a strength for the Matadors, the defense looks to improve upon its 1.02 goals against average in hopes of besting the current CSUN record of 15 wins in a season.

Road Warriors
Of the 19 matches on the schedule this year, the CSUN Matadors will play just eight at Matador Soccer Field, including three non-conference matches in September. That may bode well for the Matadors, as the team had a record of 6-2-1 in road contests last season. CSUN began the season with strong road tests at Denver and Air Force and defeated both UAB and Tulsa at the Tulsa Invitational last week. The Matadors will also play at preseason-No. 4 UCLA on September 28th and take on the Central Coast tandem of UCSB and Cal Poly away from home to start the Big West Conference season.

We Must Protect This House
Although the Matadors play their majority of matches on the road this season, the home slate will be important for CSUN’s postseason chances. The Matadors open the home schedule against preseason-No. 5 New Mexico on September 12th. The Lobos reached the College Cup last season, but were defeated by CSUN in Albuquerque earlier in the year. CSUN will also welcome Bradley, a 2013 NCAA Tournament participant, and Bakersfield to Matador Soccer Field before the start of the Big West Season. During the conference portion of the schedule, the Matadors will take on Sacramento State and UC Davis from the North Division in addition to all three South Division rivals.

Bring the Noise
Have a drum, cowbell, or other noisemaker lying around at home? Now is the time to bring it out and explore the space of Matador Soccer Field! In 2011, the Big West Conference office announced that all noisemakers, with the exceptions of airhorns and whistles, will be allowed at all conference matches and all home venues. Please note that noisemakers have been approved for use at men’s and women’s soccer matches only and will be confiscated in The Matadome or at any other Northridge Athletics venue.