FULLERTON, Calif. – UC Irvine's Dana Sanderlin finished with a goal and an assist and Laura McGrail added the game-winner in the 63rd minute Friday night, lifting the visiting Anteaters to a 3-1 victory over Cal State Fullerton in the Big West Conference opener for both teams at Titan Stadium.
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The defeat was the second-straight for the Titans (3-7 overall, 0-1 in conference play), who suffered their first two-goal loss of the season after all six of their previous defeats were by a single goal. UCI improved to 5-7 overall and 1-0 in conference play, improving to 3-0-1 in its last four meetings with its Orange County rival.
It took just over four minutes for the Anteaters to strike first as Natalia Ledezma netted her second of the season off a pass from Sanderlin, rocketing a shot from 18 yards out to the left post for the 1-0 lead. That advantage lasted until the 63rd minute when McGrail parlayed a defensive misstep into her third of the year, finding herself wide open to punch it in for the 2-0 lead on the unassisted strike.
Fullerton, which has not been shutout yet in 2012, got a goal back just five minutes later as sophomore Adriana Gjonovich netted her second of the year off a pretty pass from senior Stacey Fox. Fox, coming across the top of the box, found Gjonovich streaking down the right side and the sophomore looped a shot over the head of keeper Corey Tobin to make it 2-1.
That would be as close as the Titans would get, however, as Sanderlin put the match away in the 86th minute, scoring her third of the season after playing a perfectly timed pass from Devon Delarosa on the right side, avoiding an offside call and beating the Fullerton keeper back to the far post for the final 3-1 result.
UC Irvine outshot the Titans, 12-9, for the match, getting four shots from Ledezma in the victory. Senior Ann Marie Tangorra had three shots to pace Fullerton, which put only two of its nine shots on frame compared to eight for the Anteaters. Junior goalkeeper Lindsey Maricic made five saves in net for the Titans, who surrendered three goals for the second time this season.
Fullerton returns to the field on Sunday (Sept. 30) at 5 p.m. as the Titans host No. 21 Long Beach State, which defeated UC Riverside, 5-1, on Friday.