Oct. 19, 2010
Fullerton, Calif. -
AT A GLANCE: The Titans try to complete a sweep of UC Riverside on Wednesday night at home before visiting nationally ranked and nearly unscored upon UC Irvine on Saturday night. Fullerton is riding a 3-game winning streak, its longest since the first three games of the 2007 season. Fullerton is in a tie with UC Davis for third place in the Big West with 9 points behind UCSB (12) and UCI (10).
THE TEAMS: Fullerton is 5-6-2, 3-2-0 after winning a Big West game on Wednesday at Cal State Northridge, 3-1, and besting a defensive-minded Hope International team, 1-0, Saturday at home in the first meeting between the adjacent schools.
UC Riverside (3-9-1, 0-5-0) has lost five in a row, four by one goal including a come-from-ahead 4-3 loss to UC Santa Barbara on Sunday. Alex Racca leads the team with 4 goals. All three of the Highlanders' wins have been by shutout behind goalkeeper Alex Abelson.
UC Irvine (10-1-2, 3-0-1) has the nation's fifth best win percentage (.846) and has outscored its opposition this season, 30-4. UCI takes a 7-match unbeaten streak to Cal State Northridge on Wednesday. The Anteaters' lone loss was 2-0 at Sacramento State on Sept. 19. The other opponent goals were scored by Drake in a 1-1 tie and Cal Poly in a 2-1 UCI win on Oct. 9. Amani Walker, who had a hat trick against the Titans last week, leads UCI with 7 goals.
PINK NIGHT: Wednesday's game will be a "Pink Night," as the Theta Phi chapter of Zeta Tau Alpha sorority promotes breast cancer awareness. Anyone attending the game wearing "pink" will be admitted free with hopes they might make a monetary donation to the cause. The game will be played with pink balls and pink mini-balls will be thrown into the crowd.
ELECTRONICALLY: Mike Martinez will provide audio play-by-play of both matches via the Titans' website. Wednesday's match also will televised on BigWest TV (subscription).
SWEEPS DIFFICULT: The UCR game is Fullerton's third "rematch" of the season and the first two resulted in splits with UC Santa Barbara (W, L) and Cal State Northridge (L, W).
HEAD-TO-HEAD: Since going to Div. I in 1975, the Titans are 13-7-2 vs. UC Riverside including 4-0-2 in the last six meetings. Fullerton has won two in a row and hasn't lost to the Highlanders since a 1-0 home defeat in 2007. Since Fullerton went to Div. I in 1975, the Titans hold a 17-16-6 edge over UC Irvine but the Anteaters are 12-1-4 in the last 17 meetings. Fullerton ended a 14-match winless (0-10-4) streak against UCI with a 3-1 road win on Nov. 3, 2007. Since then the teams played only once each season. A Fullerton own goal cost it a 2-1 road decision in 2008 and last year UCI won at Fullerton, 4-1, despite being outshot, 21-7. Amani Walker had 3 goals and an assist for UCI.
STREAKING: Fullerton is riding a 3-game winning streak, its longest since opening the 2007 season with three wins. The Titans have not won four in a row in a single season since an 8-game skein in the second half of the 2000 season. (Fullerton did win the last two of 2006 and first three of 2007).
STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE: Fullerton's first seven non-conference opponents to date have compiled a combined record of 46-35-11 (UCLA is 9-3-1; Washington is 8-4-1; San Jose State is 7-5-2; West Virginia is 7-4-2; Pittsburgh is 6-5-2; Saint Mary's is 7-5-1; and USF is 2-9-2). The Titans also played a tie scrimmage with Cal, which is 8-2-2.
ROAD WARRIORS: Fullerton has a better record away from Titan Stadium than at home. The Titans are 2-4-0 at home vs. 3-2-2 on the road including 2-2-1 on hostile fields.
GOAL SCORERS: Nick Posthuma with five goals and Kevin Venegas with four lead the team. Posthuma has exceeded his career total of four goals from his freshman and sophomore seasons combined. Venegas has three game winners -- vs. Hope, at UC Riverside and both goals vs. Pitt. Mark Nelson scored the first goal of his Titan career with a header off a corner kick in the UCLA match, Antonio Vernaschi did the same with a golden goal vs. UCSB and Jesse Escalante got his first goal for a 1-0 lead at UCR. Both Vernaschi and Escalante picked up goal No. 2 at Cal State Northridge.
GOAL STOPPER: Junior Trevor Whiddon has played all 1219 minutes of the season in goal and has allowed 18 scores including one penalty kick (1.40 GAA) while making 75 saves and logging 4 shutouts. He made 22 saves in two matches vs. UC Santa Barbara. His 12 saves on Oct. 9 tied him for seventh in the NCAA Div. I in single-game highs. His season mark of 5.77 saves per match is tied for No. 8 in the nation. The leader is RaShad Hammond of Alabama A&M at 6.70.