Oct. 4, 2011
Fullerton, Calif. -
AT A GLANCE: Fullerton will try to beat UC Irvine for the second time in a row when the Titans host the Anteaters in their only match of the week. It's "Pink Out Night" with free admission to all fans wearing pink as ZTA sorority promotes Breast Cancer Awareness.
CAL STATE FULLERTON (6-2-2, 0-0-0): Despite going winless (0-1-1) last week, at 6-2-2 the Titans still are off to their best 10-match start since the 1999 team opened 8-2. The Titans have won two tournament championships -- the Labor Day Classic at CSU Northridge (1-0-1) via goal differential and the Nike Invitational in Las Vegas (2-0).
UC IRVINE (9-2-0, 1-1-0): The Anteaters split their Big West Conference openers last week, losing at home to Cal Poly (1-0) and winning at No.7-ranked UC Santa Barbara (2-0). Their only other loss was at No. 12-ranked South Florida. Christian Hernandez and Enrique Cardenas each have scored 5 goals to lead the team, which has outscored the opposition, 24-10. Andrew Fontein has played every minute in goal witha 0.88 GAA and four shutouts.
INTERNET COVERAGE: Audio will be available via www.fullertontitans.com with Mike Martinez at the microphone. The video feed can be accessed via BigWestTV.
SERIES HISTORY: The series is dead even at 18-18-6. The Titans won the last meeting, 2-1, at UC Irvine in the opening round of the 2010 Big West Conference Tournament but UCI was 14-1-4 in the previous 19 meetings, which were preceded by a 9-game Fullerton win streak.
SHORTHANDED: The Titans must play without leading scorer Kevin Venegas (5 goals, 3 assists, 13 points), who must sit out due to a redcard shown late in Saturday's loss at Cal State Northridge.
THE POLLS: The Titans cracked the Soccer America Top 25 at No. 24 after Sept. 11 but fell out of the poll after splitting two road matches the following week. Fullerton has bounced back into the College Soccer News (No. 28) and Soccer Times (No. 25) polls. UCI currently is ranked as high as No. 7 in the coaches poll. UCI (No. 10) and CSF (No. 44) are both included in TopDrawerSoccer.com's "Tournament 48" Field.
GOAL SCORERS: Eight different Titans have scored goals led by Kevin Venegas with 5 and Ian Ramos, Nick Posthuma, Ritchie Gonzalez and Jesse Escalante with 2 each. Venegas and Posthuma lead the way with 3 assists each. With 13 points, Venegas leads the team.
STINGY KEEPER: Despite allowing five goals last week, senior goalkeeper Trevor Whiddon still sports a nifty 0.87 goals against average and he has 5 shutouts. Last season he totaled only four shutouts and he began this season with only six in his career.
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 10 matches.
HOME FIELD DISADVANTAGE: Fullerton is a combined 8-7-3 away from Titan Stadium in 2010 and 2011 but only 5-7-1 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.