Sept. 25, 2009
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Cal State Northridge (5-1-1) dominated the first half but a scoreless tie at intermission prevailed for a more even 65 minutes as the Matadors and the University of Denver, the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation's preseason #1-ranked team, played to a scoreless tie Friday night in the opening game of the Big West Challenge men's soccer event at Cal State Fullerton.
CSUN's unbeaten streak improved to six games and look to earn their sixth victory on the last seven games played when they return to Titan Stadium Sunday morning to face the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers. Kick-off is scheduled for 11:00 a.m.
Following CSUN's scoreless draw, Coastal Carolina and Cal State Fullerton also battled to a draw; with each team earning one point during the first day of the tournament, Northridge can claim their third consecutive tournament championship with a win over the Chanticleers Sunday morning.
Cal State Fullerton will face Denver in the final game of the tournament scheduled to start shortly after the Matadors-Chanticleers match-up.
Northridge outshot the Pioneers, 14-1, in the first half and 28-12 for the game and left with a 5-1-1 record. Denver, which got 10 saves from goalkeeper Joe Willis, remained even at 2-2-2.
The closest thing to a goal occurred four minutes into the final overtime period. The Matadors' Cameron Sims came up with the ball on the left flank after a corner kick and his cross either went into the net or was followed in by Sunghyun Kim, but the call was moot since Kim was ruled offsides.
Michael Abalos made six saves for the Matadors, earning his first shutout of his career and the team's third this season.
All six of Abalos' saves took place in the second period as the Northridge back-line prevented Denver from taking a shot on goal during the entire 45 minutes of the first period, and all 20 minutes of extra time.
Further enhancing CSUN's reputation on defense with their performance on Friday, Denver only took one shot during the entire first half.
Already leading the conference with a 0.83 goals against average going into Friday's game, Abalos and fellow Matador goalkeeper Brandon Ibarra now possess a miniscule 0.69 GAA combined after Friday's clean slate.
CSUN midfielder Kim led all players with eight shots; combined with forward Devin Deldo's 5 shots and four shot apiece from forward Cameron Sims and midfielder Rafael Garcia, the Matadors fired over twice as many shots than their opponents and finished the game with a 28-12 advantage.