Cal State Northridge has started the 2013 NCAA men's soccer season very brightly, holding a 10-1-0 record and a 2-0-0 mark in the Big West Conference, as well as the number four position in the most recent NSCAA and College Soccer News rankings.
However, the Matadors have two tough fixtures this weekend, welcoming UC Santa Barbara on Friday, October 11 and then Cal Poly on Sunday, October 13 to the Matador Soccer Field as their Big West campaign heats up.
Despite the arrival of two of the most highly-regarded teams in California, head coach Terry Davila believes that his side's good habit of picking up victories has set them up well for their upcoming matchups.
"We're finding different ways to win the games," Davila said. "Whether it's a set-piece defense, attacking set pieces, defending, going forward, whatever it needs to be. We're finding different ways to win games."
"Any time you go on the road and you beat UC Davis and Sacramento State on the last game of the weekend, it's very exciting to get six points and we're very happy with that."
First up for the Matadors is powerhouse UCSB, who hold a 7-4-0 record but are on a three-game winning streak and sit level with Cal State Northridge atop the Big West. Davila and his players are all-too aware of the tough task that is ahead of them.
"(UCSB is) the perennial power of our conference and a national power and they're coming in here for a W. They have no fear of us and we're going to have a great game with them. We're going to go toe-to-toe, it's going to be a great game to see who's in first place in the Big West."
Just two days later Cal Poly arrives in Northridge for another conference game, carrying with them one of the more potent offenses in the country and the need to avenge their October 6 loss at home to Cal State Fullerton.
"Of course, they've got a lot of offensive weapons on their team," said Davila on Cal Poly. "They've got great wingers, a great midfield and a great center forward who's the reigning Big West Conference Player of the Year."
"They know how to go forward, they know how to produce opportunities for themselves, so we've got to be ready. We've got to be able to have an offensive push and make them defend, we can't just observe the whole game."
Despite their fast start and rapid rise upward in the rankings, Davila believes his team still has plenty to work on, and that their upcoming matches present an ideal opportunity to do just that.
"There's a lot of things we've got to improve on before we consider ourselves a very good team. All coaches say that, but we're not there yet, we're still a work in progress. We've got some good results but we haven't played a complete game yet and we're looking to go and do that and that's what we're striving for."
Chris Teale is a contributing writer for College Soccer News. You can reach him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter@chris_teals.