Titans Take On UC Davis in Big West Tournament Championship
FULLERTON, Calif. – Cal State Fullerton men's soccer heads north to UC Davis for a matchup in the Big West Tournament Championship match Saturday at 12 p.m. PT.
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• Cal State Fullerton will play in its fourth consecutive finals when it squares off with UC Davis Saturday afternoon.
• The Titans have won two out of the last three Big West Conference Tournament Championship matches.
• Head Coach George Kuntz's team has been in the finals eight of the 10 years with either UC Irvine or Cal State Fullerton since the conference implemented the conference tournament.
• Kuntz has been in every tournament championship game since 2013, including four straight years leading the Titans to the finals match since arriving at Fullerton in 2014.
• Samuel Goni scored his team-leading ninth goal of the season in the 2-1 victory over UC Riverside.
Fullerton and UC Davis History
Cal State Fullerton and UC Davis will meet for the 23rd time in the history of the two programs. The Titans hold the advantage in the all-time matchup between the teams with a record of 10-9-3 going back to October, 2004 while they are 4-6-2 all-time when playing at UC Davis.
The last time Fullerton and UC Davis met was Oct. 5, when the Titans suffered a 2-1 loss to the Aggies. Fullerton struck first in the game on Mark Hernandez's second goal of the season on an assist from Ross McPhie and Diego Sanchez.
Fullerton then gave up two goals in the final 10 minutes of the first half to go down by score of 2-1 heading into halftime which they could not overcome in the final 45 minutes of play.
The Titans knocked UC Davis out of the Big West Tournament two of the last years, including in the first round of last years tournament and the first round of the 2014 tournament.
CSF vs. UCR - Semifinals
The Titans are coming off of a 2-1 win over UC Riverside to advance them to the Big West Conference finals for the fourth consecutive year. Fullerton had not beat the Highlanders all season long, earning a 1-1 draw and a 1-0 loss in two regular season games.
Fullerton did, however, get the win when they needed it the most. The Titans struck first against the Highlanders on Samuel Goni's ninth goal of the season. Goni has been clutch for Fullerton down the stretch of the season, scoring seven of his nine goals this season in conference play.
Back-to-Back-to-Back-to-Back Championship Appearances
Since George Kuntz arrived at Cal State Fullerton the Titans have been a model of consistency, making it to their fourth consecutive Big West Tournament championship match. In Kuntz's first year with the Titans the team went 10-8-6 while ultimately beating UC Irvine in the finals.
In 2015 the team finished the regular season with a record of 13-8-1 before taking down UC Santa Barbara in the championship match to advance to the NCAA Tournament. Last year Fullerton went 10-9-4 in the regular season and made it back to its third straight finals match but suffered a heartbreaking loss to CSUN on a last minute goal in double-overtime.
All three of the tournament championship matches Kuntz has led the Titans to has been on the road. The 2017 finals will be no different as Fullerton looks to topple UC Davis at Aggie Stadium. This season the Titans are an even 4-4 when playing on the road.
Scouting UC Davis
The Aggies finished the regular season with an overall record of 11-7-2 and a conference record of 7-2-1 to give them the No. 1 seed in the Big West Conference tournament. UC Davis had 16 players score goals for them this season to lead while the offense led the conference with 40 goals this season.
UC Davis vs. CSUN
The Aggies advanced to the Big West Conference Tournament Finals after defeating defending Big West Champs CSUN 4-2 Saturday Nov. 4 at home. UC Davis put up two quick goals on the Matadors, scoring in the 10th minute on goal by Justin Wright and again in the 18th minute from Nabi Kibunguchy.
CSUN was able to answer back in the second half with two goals of its own to tie the game at 2-2 in the 82nd minute. However, UC Davis put together two late goals in the final minute of action to take the commanding 4-2 victory.
The Titans had six players receive seven all-conference honors this season, headlined by midfielder Ross McPhie earning Co-Midfielder of the year honors. McPhie also was named to the Big West Conference First Team along with Samuel Goni and Corentin Ohlmann. Senior Diego Sanchez was named to the all-conference second team after leading the team with five assists.
Goalkeeper Paul-Andre Guerin earned all-conference honorable mention after leading the conference in goals against average at 1.22. Guerin is also ranked second in the conference in goals given up after allowing just 19 goals all season. Defender Irving Arvizu was named to the Big West Conference All-Freshman Team after a sensational first year for the Titans.
There's Only One Ross McPhie
McPhie certainly made huge strides on the field in his third year at Fullerton, far surpassing his season total in goals of three from last season, to scoring seven goals in 2017 with at least one game left to play. McPhie also added three assists to give him 17 points which ranked fifth in the Big West while is seven goals are tied for sixth. He scored three game-winning goals this season against Santa Clara, UNLV and Sacramento State. Fullerton is 5-1-1 this season when McPhie puts the ball in the net.
The junior played so well this season that he earned Co-Midfielder of the Year. McPhie is the first Cal State Fullerton athlete to win Big West Midfielder of the Year. McPhie was also named to the Big West Conference First Team.
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