Soccer Opens BWC Play

Sept. 28, 2010

Fullerton, Calif. - AT A GLANCE: The Titans open Big West Conference play with two home matches this week vs. defending champion UC Santa Barbara and Cal State Northridge.

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THE TEAMS: Fullerton is 1-4-2 after losing a nip-and-tuck match Sunday to UCLA, 3-2. Defending Big West champion UCSB is 3-2-2 and has won three in a row after a surprising 0-2-2 start. Cal State Northridge scored only 3 goals in its first 7 matches for a 0-6-1 start but the Matadors erupted Sunday for a 4-0 win over Air Force.

UCSB (3-2-2) is coming off a 2-0 win over UCLA that attracted a crowd of 15,896 and avenged a loss in last year's NCAA Tournament. The Gauchos broke into the victory column the previous weekend with wins over Harvard (2-0) and Buffalo (4-0) for the championship of the New Mexico Tournament. The Gauchos are ranked No. 17 by Soccer America, No. 23 by College Soccer News and are receiving votes from Soccer Times and NSCAA panels.

Cal State Northridge (1-6-1) is coming off its first win of the season, a 4-0 rout of Air Force. The Matadors had scored only 3 total goals in their first 7 games before erupting against the Falcons. The Matadors are 0-1-1 in Titan Stadium this year, tying Washington and losing to San Jose State in the Titan Tournament the second weekend of the season.

HEAD-TO-HEAD: Since Fullerton went to Div. I in 1975, the Titans are 21-24-2 vs. UC Santa Barbara but have lost the last 11 meetings including a 2-0 decision in Goleta last Oct. 24. Nine of those losses were by one goal, two in overtime. Fullerton's last win was a 4-1 decision in Titan Stadium on Oct. 25, 2003.
The Titans are 13-15-2 vs. Cal State Northridge. The teams split a pair of overtime decisions last year, Fullerton winning at home, 2-1, on Oct. 7 and Northridge winning at home, 1-0, on Nov. 4. The Titans had gone 0-7-1 in the eight meetings prior to their Oct. 7 victory.

STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE: Fullerton's seven opponents to date have compiled a combined record of 32-16-5 (Washington is 6-1-1; West Viginia is 5-2-0; UCLA is 5-2-1; San Jose State is 6-3-0; Saint Mary's and Pittsburgh are 4-2-1; and USF is 2-4-1. The Titans also played a tie scrimmage with Cal, which is 4-1-2.

CONFERENCE PLAY ARRIVES: The Big West Conference schedule begins this week for all seven teams but only the Titans, Gauchos (at Fullerton, host Davis) and UC Riverside (at UCI, host Cal Poly) have two conference matches. Cal Poly hosts Cal State Bakersfield before visiting UCR. UC Irvine hosts UCR but then travels to Drake. Davis' only game is at UCSB and Northridge's only game is at Fullerton.

GOAL SCORERS: Nick Posthuma has scored four of the Titans' seven goals, matching his career total from his freshman and sophomore seasons combined. Kevin Venegas is second with two goals, both coming in the 2-0 win over Pitt. Mark Nelson scored the first goal of his Titan career with a header off a corner kick in the UCLA match.

GOAL STOPPER: Junior Trevor Whiddon has played all 670 minutes of the young season in goal and has allowed 11 scores including one penalty kick (1.48 GAA) while making 34 saves and logging 2 shutouts.