Titans Claim Second-Straight Big West Championship, Advance to NCAAs
Nov. 5, 2006
LONG BEACH, CA - Cal State Fullerton junior and tournament Most Valuable Player Kristen Boujos scored twice, including the game-winning goal in the 76th minute, to help lift the Titans to their second-straight Big West Conference Tournament title and a berth in the 2006 NCAA Tournament with a 2-1 victory over Cal Poly on Sunday afternoon in Long Beach, Calif.
Fullerton, winners of its last three consecutive matches, improved to 11-7-2 overall on the season while defeating the Mustangs for the first time in four chances in Big West Tournament play.
Cal Poly finished its regular season with a 10-7-3 overall record and 3-1-3 in Big West play.
Boujos snapped a 1-1 tie late in the second half as junior Stacey Thompson knocked a ball into the box off a Mustangs' defender right to the feet of Boujos, who sent a rocket past Cal Poly goalkeeper Alli Tramel for the 2-1 lead.
With time now ticking away, Cal State Fullerton's defense dropped back to defend several solid chances by the Mustangs, including a pair of free kicks from just outside the penalty area in the final seven minutes of play.
Cal Poly's best chance to tie in the waining moments came off the foot of Erica Leger, whose shot in the 86th minute just sailed high over the crossbar.
Fullerton, which has now won four straight matches in the Big West Tournament after going 0-3 in its first three trips (all losses to Cal Poly), then stormed the field to celebrate its second consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament and the Titans' third overall since Head Coach Ali Khosroshahin took control in 2001.
The Titans broke through first on the scoreboard in the 11th minute as Boujos headed home her third goal of the season off a perfectly placed cross from junior Candice Byler for the 1-0 lead.
Cal Poly then countered with a couple of solid chances, but came up empty. The first came just two minutes following Boujos' goal as Heidi McQuitty's header off a throw in from Carrie Andrews was swallowed up by Fullerton keeper Karen Bardsley.
The second came in the 38th minute as Kelsey Carroll's shot was cleared off the line by Jenae Gibbens on the back post and Carroll's subsequent rebound shot was saved by Bardsley to preserve the lead.
The Mustangs came out of the halftime break with renewed intensity as Cal Poly provided most of the offensive pressure through the first 25 minutes of the period and was rewarded with the equalizer in the 65th minute.
Emily Hein collected a deflected shot in the left side of the box, dribbled through three defenders and placed a perfect shot past a diving Bardsley to the far post to knot the score at 1-1.
Earlier in the period, the Mustangs' Kim Yackzan has two shots sail just wide - the first clanging off the crossbar - while Ashley Vallis and Carroll each had a chance to give Cal Poly the lead in the 70th and 76th minutes, respectively.
Vallis' cross sailed just wide while Carroll booted another shot off the crossbar to keep things tied and set the stage for Boujos' game-winner.
The Mustangs outshot the Titans 14-8 for the match, including a 9-4 advantage in the second half, and led Fullerton, 6-1, in corner kicks.
Bardsley made three saves in net for Cal State Fullerton while Tramel recorded two stops for Cal Poly. Carroll and Boujos each had two shots to lead their respective offenses.
Cal State Fullerton, which became the first Big West school to advance to the third round of the NCAA Tournament in 2005, now awaits the decision of the NCAA selection committee regarding its postseason fate.
The 64-team postseason field will be announced live on ESPNEWS on Monday afternoon (Nov. 6) between 12:00-1:00 p.m. (PST). Fans are invited to join the team for the selection show at the Off Campus Pub near the Cal State Fullerton campus.
The Off Campus Pub is located at 2736 Nutwood Ave. in Fullerton.