The Big West Women’s Soccer Tournament kicks off today with third-seeded Cal State Northridge travelling south to take on the No.2 seed Long Beach State in a semifinal match at 2 p.m. at George Allen Field.
Both teams will be looking to avenge earlier losses to each other.
Long Beach State won the tournament title last year, defeating the Matadors 2-1 in the semifinals. The 49ers lead in the all-time series 8-7-1, however, the Matadors defeated Long Beach 1-0 in their last meeting on Oct. 14, snapping the 49er’s seven-game unbeaten streak.
The 49ers will be bringing plenty of fire power to the game, having amassed a conference-leading 43 goals this season. Nadia Link, who was named Big West Offensive Player of the Week for the second time this season, leads the Long Beach offense - and the conference - with 14 goals, 10 assists, and 38 points. Link, who attended the U.S. U-23 National Team camp in early October, is tied for 13th place nationally in points, tied for 15th in assists, and tied for 24th in goals.
The Northridge offense is led by Heidi Farran, who has scored seven goals this season, including the winning goal against Long Beach State on Oct. 14. Farran also leads the team in points with 16. Melissa Fernandez follows with four goals and four assists.
Both teams feature superb goalkeepers, with Kaitlyn Gustaves between the pipes for Long Beach, and Cynthia Jacobo minding the net for Northridge. Gustaves leads the conference with 55 saves, seven shutouts and a 0.93 goals against average. Jacobo, named Big West Defensive Player of the Week twice this season, has 54 saves, four shutouts and a 1.44 goals against average.
The other Big West semifinal match also takes place today. Top-seeded UC Irvine hosts fourth- seeded UC Davis at 7 p.m. at Anteater Stadium.
The winners of both semifinal matches will meet in the Big West championship game on Sunday, Nov. 6, with the higher seed hosting.