Oct. 1, 2006
FULLERTON, CA - Cal State Fullerton junior Brianna Buffington netted the "golden goal" game-winner with just over two minutes remaining in the second overtime period to help lift the host Titans to a 1-0 victory over UC Riverside in the Big West Conference opener for both teams on Sunday night at Titan Stadium.
Fullerton snapped a four-match losing streak with the victory in improving to 5-5-1 overall and 1-0 in league play. The Highlanders lost their second consecutive match in falling to 7-4 overall on the season.
Buffington sent a rocket to the upper right corner of the net after teammate Mandy Puffinberger's initial cross was deflected off a UCR defender and right to the feet of a waiting Buffington.
It was the junior's third goal of the season and the first goal scored by the Titans against the Highlanders in a regular season match dating back to the 2001 season.
The Titans, who outshot the Highlanders 14-9 on the evening, had two golden chances to win the match in the waining seconds of both regulation and the first overtime period.
The first came with 19 seconds remaining on the clock in the second half off a cross by Puffinberger that was headed toward the line by Candice Byler. UC Riverside's Kristen Williams, however, was in the right place at the right time, preventing the goal by volleying the ball off the line and away from danger as time expired.
The second chance came just a minute into the first overtime as junior Kristen Boujos' shot off another corner skirted past the defense, just missing the far right post, keeping the match scoreless.
UC Riverside's Jenna Leonti also had a chance in the first half as her open header in the 27th minute from just inside five yards just missed hitting the right post.
Fullerton senior goalkeeper Karen Bardsley made five saves in notching her fourth shutout of the season. Puffinberger had three shots on the night to lead all players.
The Titans return to action next weekend as they travel to Pacific on Friday (Oct. 6) for a 7 p.m. kickoff and Cal State Northridge on Sunday (Oct. 8) for a 2:30 p.m. clash with the Matadors.