Oct. 21, 2011
Irvine, Calif. -
AT A GLANCE: Fullerton tries to avenge a 2-1 home loss to UC Irvine on Oct. 5 when the Titans visit Anteater Stadium, where they won last season in the semifinals of the Big West Conference Tournament by the same score.
CAL STATE FULLERTON (7-4-3, 1-3-1): At 7-4-3 the Titans have their best 14-match record since the 2000 team opened 9-4-1. 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 (12-4-0, 4-2-0): The Anteaters began the week ranked between Nos.7 and 12 in four national polls but they have lost their last two matches -- 3-1 at Creighton on Saturday and 2-1 in overtime at home to UC Davis on Wednesday, leaving the two teams tied for first place in the Big West at 4-2. Their other two losses came at home to Cal Poly (1-0) and at No. 12-ranked South Florida (2-0). Christian Hernandez and Miguel Ibarra each have scored 6 goals to lead the team, which has outscored the opposition, 35-17. Andrew Fontein has played every minute in goal with a 1.03 GAA and five shutouts.
INTERNET COVERAGE: Audio will be available via www.fullertontitans.com with Patrick Alog calling the play-by-play.
TIGHT RACE: Every team in the Big West Conference standings has two or three conference losses after five or six matches.
SERIES HISTORY: UC Irvine leads the all-time series, 19-18-6. UCI won the last meeting on Oct. 5, 2-1, on a Juan Gutierrez tie-breaking goal in the 67th minute. The Titans won the last meeting at UC Irvine by the same score in the opening round of the 2010 Big West Conference Tournament. UCI is 15-2-4 in the last 21 meetings, which were preceded by a 9-game Fullerton win streak.
GOAL SCORERS: Ten different Titans have scored goals led by Kevin Venegas with 6 and Oscar Aguero, Ian Ramos, Nick Posthuma, Ritchie Gonzalez and Jesse Escalante with 2 each. Venegas leads the way with 4 assists while Posthuma and Jameson Campbell each have three. With 16 points, Venegas has more than twice as many points as any of his teammates. He missed the first UCI match due to a red card.
GOAL STOPPER: With his sixth shutout of this season vs. Cal Poly on Wednesday, Trevor Whiddon has doubled his Titan career total to 12. The school records are 9 for a season (Mike Ammann in 1993) and 19 for a career (1991-93).
QUICK STRIKE: If Oscar Aguero's fans arrived late, they missed his two goals. He got his first 54 seconds into the UNLV match at Northridge and he bested that vs. Denver with a goal 23 seconds into the contest.
SCORING DROUGHT: The Titans have managed only three goals -- a free kick by Michael Denny vs. UC Irvine, a diving header by Kevin Venegas and an unmarked "gimme" by Jameson Campbell vs. Cal Poly -- in their last six matches after finding the net 18 times in the first 8 matches.
NOT FULL STRENGTH: The Titans played two of the past four matches without a key starter. Leading scorer Kevin Venegas missed the UC Irvine match due to a red card and defender Michael Denny missed the UCSB match due to an accumulation of yellow cards. Ritchie Gonzalez must sit out the UCI match due to a fifth yellow vs. Cal Poly.
ROSTER DEPTH: The Titans have managed to utilize 23 players so far this season. Four -- Alvarez, Birt, Reiss and Whiddon -- have started all 14 matches. A total of 18 players have made at least one start.
NO HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE: Fullerton is a combined 8-8-3 away from Titan Stadium in 2010 and 2011 but only 6-8-2 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 was 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 34-17-9 (.642) in non-conference play.
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.