Oct. 14, 2011
FULLERTON, CA - UC Irvine's Natalia Ledezma broke a 1-1 tie with her seventh goal of the season in the 75th minute and added an assist earlier on the tying goal, helping lift the visiting Anteaters to a 2-1 victory over host Cal State Fullerton in front of a season-high 1,277 fans on Friday night at Titan Stadium.
The third-largest crowd in school history saw the Titans (6-7-2 overall, 1-3 in the Big West Conference) jump out early on sophomore Janali West's second goal of the year in the 27th minute, volleying home a corner by Caitlin Mellano that was punched out by the Irvine keeper right to West, who put it home for the 1-0 lead.
Fullerton carried that advantage into the lockerroom before UC Irvine (10-3-2, 3-1-1) rallied behind Ledezma and Cami Privett in the second half. Privett brought the Anteaters even in the 60th minute with her fifth of the season as Ledezma's corner found Sarah Devine on the back post. Devine then touched it to Privett on the left side and she punched it home through traffic to make it 1-1.
Ledezma then put UCI ahead for good at the 74:34 mark as Privett found her at the top of the box, took a touch and rocketed a shot that deflected down off the crossbar and in for the eventual game-winning score.
The Titans had their chance to extend the lead late in the first half when they had a goal taken off the board with 1:45 remaining as Kishi Smith was called for offsides on the left wing. They also had an opportunity to break the 1-1 deadlock early in the second half as Mellano's shot from long range was saved, West's rebound was blocked and Ann Marie Tangorra's shot back through traffic swerved just wide.
With 15 seconds remaining in the match, Fullerton threatened to send the match to overtime if not for some timely defense by the Anteaters' back line. Rebecca Wilson angled a shot to the left post that found the UCI keeper out of position, but Amanda Hardeman's sliding save at the line kept the ball out. Tangorra then tried to put home the rebound, but her shot went high as time expired.
Fullerton outshot Irvine, 16-11, for the match and had seven corners to the Anteaters' five. Tangorra, West, and Kishi Smith led all players with a match-high three shots while a trio of UCI players finished with a pair apiece.
In net, Jennifer Randazzo finished with four saves for the Anteaters in the win while Lindsey Maricic made three stops for the Titans.
Friday night's crowd marked the sixth time in school history that Fullerton had drawn more than 1,000 fans for a home contest and the most since the Titans defeated UNLV in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in 2005 -- a match that drew 1,288 to Titan Stadium. The school record is 1,570 fans set on Oct. 19, 2001, against Long Beach State.
Cal State Fullerton returns to the pitch on Sunday evening (Oct. 16) at 4 p.m. as the Titans host CSU Bakersfield at Titan Stadium to conclude the non-conference portion of their schedule.