Cal State Northridge Matadors
Overall Rank: #18
#1 Big West
Cal State Northridge Team Page
Few teams in the country had a better September than Cal State Northridge. While Big West play had its ups and downs, the Matadors still earned the 15th overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. The finishing just was not there for CSUN against Stanford in the tournament though and this team exited much earlier than they had hoped. But there is a lot of talent returning and Coach Terry Davila will hope for another shot at a tournament run in 2014.
2013 Record: 15-7-1, 5-4-1
2013 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Terry Davila
Goals: Sagi Lev-Ari, Senior, F, 16
Assists: Sagi Lev-Ari, Senior, F, 6
Shots: Sagi Lev-Ari, Senior, F, 62
Saves: Adam Hobbs, Junior, GK, 69
Other Key Returnees: F Edwin Rivas, M David Turcios, M Yarden Azulay, M Juan Samayoa, D Mynor Giron, D Pol Schonhofer Bartra, D Tanner Snedigar, D Trevor Morley, D Patrick Hickman
Key Losses: F Beto Velasquez, F Brian Behrad, M Chris Smith, M Carlos Benavides
Sagi Lev-Ari is one of the best strikers in the country and he scored 16 goals last season. With him back, CSUN will have a very good offense, yet much of returning experience is on the other side of the pitch. Five defenders are back who earned at least 14 starts a year ago. Trevor Morley turned into the leader in the back and earned All-Big West honors. Pol Schonhofer Barta is capable of taking a big step up this season after a very promising freshman campaign. Mynor Giron, Tanner Snedigar and Patrick Hickman make this a very experienced back line. That is good news for keeper Adam Hobbs. Hobbs spent some time at Humboldt State and stepped right into a starting role for the Matadors in 2013. Shutouts were tough to come by, but he allowed just 23 goals in 22 games. The improved defense will make life easier for Hobbs and he should be able to tally more than three clean sheets in 2014.
Lev-Ari does need some help up front and the next three highest point earners on the team are gone. Brian Behrad was second on the team with seven goals and added four assists. Beto Belasquez tallied five goals and nine assists, while Chris Smith added four goals and six assists. The cupboard is not bare by any means, but this was a team that struggled to find a consistent secondary scorer to Lev-Ari at times in 2013 and now there are even fewer experienced options. By the numbers Edwin Rivas had a quiet junior season. His four goals were his lowest total in his three years with CSUN, but he is still extremely active and always involved. David Turcios is a very good playmaker in the midfield and he ranked second on the team with seven assists. Yarden Azulay and Juan Samayoa are a couple of other experienced midfielders who could get more involved.
The Matadors schedule includes some tough non-conference games, most notably against New Mexico, UAB and UCLA. The conference slate will be even tougher. UCSB and UC Irvine are not far behind the Matadors in the Big West pecking order heading into the season and CSUN has to play both of those teams on the road. Losing those two would almost certainly put an end to their Big West title hopes, but the Matadors should still make it back to the NCAA Tournament and this time Coach Davila and company will not settle for an early exit.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Tournament
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 1.87 (21st in nation, 2nd in conference)
Goals-Against Average: 1.02 (58, 4)
Shutout Percentage: 0.26 (110, 6)
Save Percentage: 0.758 (103, 3)
Madness 2015 MLS Draft Rankings:
#2 Sagi Lev-Ari