Finally - A Home Match
Sept. 21, 2011
Fullerton, Calif. -
AT A GLANCE: After six successive matches on foreign pitches, the Titans finally are home for their only action this week, hosting the University of Denver. Fullerton saw its unbeaten season come to an end Sunday when a penalty kick goal decided a 2-1 loss at George Mason.
CAL STATE FULLERTON (5-1-1, 0-0-0): Fullerton is off to its best start since the 2000 team opened 6-1-0. The Titans have won a pair of tournament championships -- the Labor Day Classic at Cal State Northridge (1-01-1) via goal differential and the Nike Invitational in Las Vegas (2-0).
DENVER: The Pioneers are 1-3-2 with a win over Buffalo, losses to Creighton, Indiana and College of Charleston and ties with Davidson and Notre Dame. The Pioneers won last year's Mountain Pacific Sports Federation regular season championship and earned an at-large NCAA berth. The leading scorer for fifth-year head coach Bobby Muuss is Briant Hoyt with 3 goals. Oliver Brown (0-1-1) and Mate Aguirre (1-2-1) have each started 3 matches in goal. The Pioneers also played exhibition ties with Wisconsin and Ohio State.
EAST COAST: The Titans split a pair of matches last week on the program's eighth trip to the East Coast. They got three first-half goals and cruised to a 3-0 win at American before falling at George Mason, 2-1, on a penalty kick.
THE POLLS: The Titans cracked the Soccer America Top 25 at No. 24 last week but fell out of the poll after splitting the two road matches. Fullerton was last ranked early in the 2003 season.
FAST STARTS: If Fullerton beats Denver, its 6-1-1 record would be the program's best after 8 matches since the 1999 team went 7-1-0.
GOAL SCORERS: Seven different Titans have scored goals led by Kevin Venegas with 4 and Ian Ramos, Nick Posthuma and Jesse Escalante with 2 each. Venegas and Posthuma lead the way with 2 assists each. With 10 points, Venegas leads the team and ranks in a tie for 45th in the nation.
STINGY KEEPER: Goalkeeper Trevor Whiddon ranks 18th in the nation entering this week with a 0.561 goals against average. The team mark of 0.55 is No. 15.
ROSTER DEPTH: The Titans have managed to utilize 23 players so far this season. Seven -- Aguero, Alvarez, Birt, Denny, Reiss, Venegas and Whiddon -- have started all seven matches.
HOME FIELD DISADVANTAGE: Fullerton is a combined 8-6-3 away from Titan Stadium in 2010 and 2011 but only 4-7-0 at home during the same time period.
PRE-SEASON PICKS: The Titans were forecast for third place in the annual Big West coaches' pre-season poll. Defending tourney champion UC Santa Barbara is the favorite followed by Cal Poly, Fullerton, 2010 regular season champion UC Irvine, Cal State Northridge, UC Riverside and UC Davis. Big West teams currently are a combined 22-7-6 led by UCI at 6-0 and CSF and UCSB at 4-0-1.
LOOKING AHEAD: Sacramento State will join the Big West Conference as an associate member for men's soccer beginning with the 2012 schedule. Currently, there is a 7-team alignment with each team playing 10 games -- home-and-home with four foes and single games with the remaining two programs.