Oct. 22, 2008
Fullerton, Calif. - The two teams at the bottom of the Big West Conference men's soccer standings but each coming off a strong effort vs. front-running UC Davis collide Wednesday night in Titan Stadium.
Visiting UC Riverside is 4-9-1 overall and 1-4 in the Big West thanks to a 2-1 win over the No. 7-ranked Aggies on Saturday. Fullerton is 3-11-1 and 0-4-1 and tied those same Aggies earlier last week, 2-2, after taking a 2-0 lead. Fullerton is still looking for its first home win after five tries.
The Titans broke a 4-match scoreless streak last week with a pair of goals at both Davis and Northridge but they were not able to protect uncustomary leads and came away with a 2-2 tie and a 3-2 overtime loss. Joshua Meyer, Shay Spitz, Michael Denny and Celso Alvarez provided the goals with Alvarez netting a team-best fifth of the season.
Fullerton went 0-1-1 vs. the Highlanders last season after sweeping both meetings in 2006.
On Saturday night, pre-season Big West favorite and No. 16-ranked (by Soccer America) UC Santa Barbara visits Titan Stadium for the only matchup of the season with host Cal State Fullerton.
The new conference scheduling format is two matches shy of a true home-and-home round robin and Fullerton at Santa Barbara along with UC Irvine at Fullerton are the return games eliminated in favor of more non-conference contests.
UCSB has won its last two matches (5-1 vs. UCR and 1-0 in 2OT at Cal Poly) since losing at home to UC Davis, 2-0. Forward Chris Pontius was the Big West player of the week with a goal and an assist vs. UCR and the game-winning score at Cal Poly in a nationally televised match in front of a record crowd of 11,075.
The perennially strong Gauchos have brought out the best in the Titans since the turn of the century but Fullerton has little to show for its efforts in the win column. UCSB has won the past nine meetings to take a 22-21-2 edge (at the Div. I level) in the all-time series. Of the nine losses, seven have been by a single goal including the last four.