Critical Match at SLO
Nov. 2, 2010
San Luis Obispo, Calif. -
Wednesday night's men's soccer match between Cal State Fullerton and Cal Poly SLO will go a long ways toward determining the 4-team field for the Big West Conference post-season tournament next week.
AT A GLANCE: The Titans close out the regular season with Big West Conference matches at Cal Poly and at home vs. UC Irvine. The Titans are in a tie for third place with UC Davis, which has only a Nov. 6 game at UC Riverside remaining, with 12 points each but Cal Poly is right behind with 11 points and two games to play. Only the top four teams qualify for the Big West Tournament and UCI and UC Santa Barbara have the top two seeds and hosts' roles locked up.
Fullerton is 6-9-2, 4-4-0 after beating UC Davis in overtime, 2-1, and losing a non-conference match to San Diego State, 4-1, last week.
Cal Poly (6-6-3, 3-3-2) sits in fifth place in the Big West standings with 11 points and has a home game with Fullerton and a road match at last-place Cal State Northridge remaining. The Mustangs are coming off a 4-2 loss at UC Davis after beating Davis at home and upending UCSB in overtime at home before 8,125 fans. They drew 8,717 for a September tie with UCLA. David Zamora is the leading scorer with 10 points and he and Tim White and Chris Gaschen lead the team with 3 goals each. Three goalkeeprs have split duty.
UC Irvine (13-1-3, 6-0-2) is in first place in the Big West with 20 points going into a home game vs. CSUN and the finale at Fullerton. Runnerup UCSB has 19 points but only one game to play -- home to UCR on Saturday. The Anteaters are coming off a 0-0 tie with the Gauchos. Their only loss was 2-0 at Sacramento State on Sept. 19. They have allowed only 8 goals all season and the only other team to score more than once was Fullerton in a 7-2 loss at UCI on Oct. 23. Amani Walker leads the team with 10 goals and Spencer Thompson has 6. Goalkeeper Andrew Fontein has 11 shutouts and a 0.40 goals against average.
ELECTRONICALLY: Mike Martinez will provide audio play-by-play of both matches via the Titans' website. The UC Irvine match also will be televised on BigWest TV (subscription).
HEAD-TO-HEAD: Since going to Div. I in 1975, the Titans are 14-11-0 against Cal Poly, but the Mustangs have won the last six meetings -- sweeping the 2-game series in each of the past three seasons.
The Titans are even at 17-17-6 with UC Irvine but the Anteaters are 13-1-4 in the last 18 meetings. Fullerton ended a 14-match winless (0-10-4) streak against UCI with a 3-1 road win on Nov. 3, 2007. The teams played only once in each of the last two seasons. 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.
ROAD WARRIORS: Fullerton has a better record away from Titan Stadium than at home. The Titans are 3-6-0 at home vs. 3-3-2 on the road including 2-3-1 on hostile fields.
GOAL SCORERS: Nick Posthuma with 8 goals and Kevin Venegas with 6 lead the team and together represent two-thirds of the team's total. Posthuma has doubled his prior 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. Jesse Escalante with 3, Antonio Vernashi with 2 and Mark Nelson and Michael Denny with 1 each complete the goal scorers. Oscar Aguero and Celso Alvarez lead the team in assists with 4.
GOAL STOPPER: Junior Trevor Whiddon has played all 1578 of a possible 1586 minutes in goal this season and has allowed 33 scores including two penalty kicks (1.88 GAA) while making 92 saves and logging 4 shutouts. He made 22 saves in two matches vs. UC Santa Barbara. His 12 saves on Oct. 9 tie him for eighth in the NCAA Div. I in single-game highs. His season mark of 5.41 saves per match is No. 12 in the nation. The leader is Michael Moulton of St. Joseph at 7.08.