Late Strike Ends Titans' NCAA Tournament Run
MALIBU, Calif. – The match was about as dramatic as one can be, but unfortunately Fullerton was on the wrong end of an incredible goal in the 87th minute. Pepperdine's Bri Visalli sent in a top-shelf rocket just over the stretched hands of Morgan Bertsch to give the Waves a 1-0 victory over the Titans in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament, Saturday afternoon out at Tari Frahm Rokus Field.
For Fullerton (12-6-4), the loss ends a stellar 2017 campaign that included its eighth NCAA Tournament appearance in school history, seventh Big West Conference Tournament championship and sixth consecutive trips to the Big West Tournament.
"This team has a lot to be proud of," said Head Coach Demian Brown. "I can't say enough about our nine seniors and what they were able to accomplish. Obviously it wasn't the way we wanted our season to end, but our women battled until the very end."
The game was well played throughout, as both sides executed fantastic defense. While the Titans recorded just two shots on the day, as Samantha Koemans and Sarah Fajnor each had one a piece, they had plenty of opportunities to dump the ball in the net, thanks to some timely crosses.
Bertsch was fantastic in goal as she's been all year long. She recorded the only two saves for either side, as she played the full 90 minutes.
"We played a good game today, but unfortunately just got unlucky," Bertsch said. "I'm proud of this team and wouldn't trade my time here for anything. This is such a special group and it was an honor to compete with them all season long."
Both teams managed to get off three corner kicks, while Pepperdine held a 15-2 advantage in shots. Pepperdine recorded 10 fouls to Fullerton's nine.
Pepperdine's Christina Settles led all players with five shots, while Visalli was obviously the woman of the match with her four total shots, two shots on goal and game-winning score in 80 minutes played.
The Titans end the season winners of four of their last six matches.
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