Box Score (PDF)
Postgame Quotes (PDF)
RIVERSIDE, Calif. – The Cal State Fullerton men's soccer team won its Big West Conference Tournament semifinal match against South Division No. 1 seed UC Riverside Wednesday night at UC Riverside Soccer Field by the score of 3-0, springing the Titans into the finals for the first time since 2010.
The Titans move on to the final of the Big West Conference Tournament to face Southern California rival UC Irvine at Anteater Stadium on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. The Anteaters have taken down two Big West North Division teams in No. 3 seed Sacramento State, and No. 1 seed UC Santa Barbara, who they beat tonight 3-2, to earn their spot in the final.
The Titans were quick to gain the advantage in the game when Ian Ramos calmly placed a penalty shot past UCR keeper K.C. John to give the Titans a 1-0 lead in the fifth minute. The Ramos penalty shot was set up by Highlander defender Stephen Copley's red card for pulling down Titan forward Marc Fenelus in the box.
Playing with the lead and the man advantage, the Titans did not stop pushing the envelope. Fenelus produced his team-leading eighth goal of the season, off assists from Colin Okirie and Ramos, when his 30-yard strike flew into the back of the net and made the score 2-0 Titans in the 13th minute.
The Highlanders had a chance to cut the lead in half in the 19th minute, when a call after a collision in the Fullerton box went in UCR's favor, earning the Highlander's a penalty shot. Otis Earle stepped up to the ball but could not score, as junior goalkeeper Jeff Salt guessed right and came up with his fourth penalty kick save on the season to keep the Titan lead a 2-0.
Fullerton ended the first half trailing in shots 9-3, but took the all-important lead on the scoreboard into the break 2-0.
The second half featured one Titan insurance goal that put the game out of reach for the Highalnders, as Diego Sanchez netted his second of the season just 39 seconds after he was brought on the pitch as a substitute in the 76th minute. The assists were credited to Nicolo D'Amato and Mark Vasquez after D'Amato sent in a corner kick that Vasquez flicked on to Sanchez.
Notes: Fullerton extends its all-time series lead against UC Riverside with the win, moving to 16-10-6 against the Highlanders…The Titans earned their 10th win of the season Wednesday night, moving them to 10-7-5 on the year, and reaching double digits in the win column for the first time since 2001…CSF is now alone in second place in the school record book with its eighth shutout of the season, only the 1993 Titan team had more when they posted nine…With three goals tonight the 2014 Titans have found the back of the net 33 times, tied with the 2001 team for most goals in a season…First-year Titan head coach George Kuntz now moves to 10-1 all-time in Big West Conference Tournament play, 8-1 in his time at UC Irvine and 2-0 at Cal State Fullerton…The Titans and Anteaters will meet for the third time this season, with UCI coming out on top in both games by the score of 1-0.