It has taken awhile, but the Cal State Northridge soccer team appears to have finally adjusted to Coach Marwan Ass'ad's new faster-paced, attacking offense.
After struggling offensively for much of the season, the Matadors shifted into high gear Saturday and defeated Cal Poly Pomona, 3-1, in a California Collegiate Athletic Assn. match before 773 at North Campus Stadium.
After a scoreless first half, Northridge scored three goals during an 18-minute span to improve its record to 8-3-3 overall, 5-1-1 in conference play.
Bobby Reyes scored the Matadors' first goal at the 60:37 mark on assists from Scott Piri and German Laverde, then assisted on two Jim Hofferber scores to lead Northridge, the 12th-ranked team in NCAA Division II.
"It's been frustrating, but we feel like we're finally starting to click offensively," Hofferber said. "It's taken us awhile to adjust to the new offense, but we're playing well now."
Reyes, who has scored a goal in three of the past four matches, took Piri's lead pass, dribbled for 10 yards, then blasted a shot past Pomona goalie Timothy Miller.
Hofferber scored his goals during a 1 minute, 35 second span, twice getting behind the Bronco defense where Reyes fed him with passes.
"They had been giving us that play all night, but we hadn't been taking advantage of it," said Hofferber, who has a team-high seven goals and 18 points. "Their defense was playing us straight across, so it was there."
On his first goal, at 76:26, Hofferber took Reyes' pass, fought off defender Darrin Sennott, then fired a left-footed shot that forced its way through Miller's legs from 25 yards. And on the second, at 78:01, he fought off Brian Wendel and lobbed a soft shot past an onrushing Miller.
C. J. Hester scored Pomona's (3-11-1, 1-5) goal with 10 seconds left.
The victory extended Northridge's home unbeaten streak in CCAA play to 31 matches. The Matadors' last conference defeat was a 2-1 loss to Pomona on Oct. 12, 1983. They are 27-0-4 since then.
"We feel like we've got to win every game left to win conference," Hofferber said. "It would be rare to lose two games in (conference) and win it."
The CCAA champion is granted an automatic berth in the Division II playoffs.