FULLERTON, Calif. – Fullerton will make its third NCAA Tournament appearance in the past four seasons Thursday night at 7 p.m. when it takes on University of the Pacific at Knoles Field in the first round.
Fullerton clinched its berth in the NCAA Tournament after defeating UC Davis 4-3 in penalty kicks in the Big West Tournament Championship match Saturday Nov. 11. With the victory over UC Davis, the Titans secured their third Big West title in four seasons while appearing in the last four conference tournament finals. The win over the Aggies clinched an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament for Fullerton.
The Titans finished the year with a record of 10-7-3 with a conference record of 4-4-2, marking the fourth consecutive year under Head Coach George Kuntz that the Titans have won at least 10 games.
Of the 24 conferences that supports men's and women's soccer, Cal State Fullerton is one of just three schools, including Georgetown and Stanford, that saw both the men's and women's teams clinch automatic bids to the NCAA Tournament.
Samuel Goni led the way for the Titans on the offensive end this season, racking up nine goals to place him third in the Big West Conference. Goni got stronger as the season went on, scoring seven of his goals during conference play. Goni's sensational play throughout the season and specifically conference play earned him a spot on the All-Conference First Team.
Ross McPhie scored seven goals this season to slot him tied for sixth in the Conference. McPhie took a massive leap up this year, far surpassing his season total in goals from 2016 of three. McPhie's play earned him Big West Co-Midfielder of the Year honors along with a spot on the All-Conference First team.
The Titans will play University of the Pacific who finished second in the West Coast Conference behind San Francisco after finishing the regular season with a record of 12-4-1 and a conference record of 4-2-1.
Fullerton is 6-1 all-time when facing Pacific, including a undefeated 3-0 record when playing them on the road. The last time the two teams met was September 25, 2016 where the Titans fell 2-0 at Titan Stadium. Fullerton last played at Pacific's home turf in 2014 when the Titans secured a 4-0 shutout victory.
Pacific had 11 different players scoring goals for them this season, led by Tariq Branche and Anthony Orendain who had six on the year. Orendain also added on assist to lead the team in overall points with 13.
Tickets for the NCAA First Round are on sale now at the Pacific box office and will be available at Knoles Field as well. Adult tickets are $8, with $5 for seniors and $3 for students aged five through college.
The winner of Thursday's match will face the No. 9 national seed Stanford (15-2-1) on Sunday at 5:00 p.m. in Palo Alto.
Cal State Fullerton Men's Soccer NCAA Tournament History
NCAA First Round – Fullerton at San Francisco
Dec. 5, 1975 – San Francisco defeated Fullerton, 3-2 (OT)
NCAA First Round – Fullerton at UCLA
Nov 16, 1986 – UCLA defeated Fullerton, 3-0
NCAA First Round – Fullerton at Fresno State
Fullerton defeated Fresno State, 4-0
NCAA Second Round – Fullerton at San Diego
Fullerton defeated San Diego, 3-2
NCAA Third Round – Fullerton at San Francisco
Fullerton defeated San Francisco, 1-0
NCAA Semifinals – Fullerton vs. South Carolina
South Carolina defeated Fullerton, 1-0
NCAA First Round – Fullerton vs. UCLA
Nov. 24, 1996 – Fullerton defeated UCLA, 2-1
NCAA Second Round – Fullerton vs. Creighton
Dec. 1, 1996 – Creighton defeated Fullerton, penalty kicks
NCAA First Round – Fullerton vs. San Diego
Nov. 22, 1998 – San Diego defeated Fullerton, 2-1
NCAA First Round – Fullerton at Stanford
Nov. 18, 2000 – Stanford defeated Fullerton, 4-0
NCAA First Round – Fullerton at San Diego
Nov. 20, 2014 – San Diego defeated Fullerton, 2-1
NCAA First Round – Fullerton vs. Santa Clara
Nov. 19, 2015 – Santa Clara defeated Fullerton, 3-0
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