SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – In a physical match that totalled 27 fouls, Fullerton claimed a 1-0 victory while playing a man short for the final 54 minutes Saturday night at Alex G. Spanos Stadium.
With the win Fullerton is now first place in the Big West Conference South Division at 1-0-1 with three points. UC Irvine and CSUN are tied in second place at 0-1-1 with one point and UC Riverside is in last at 0-2.
The Titans were outplayed in the game going by the statline as they were outshot 14 to five and Cal Poly out earned Fullerton in corners seven to two. But Fullerton played much better than the stats would indicate, especially considering they were a man short for a majority of the game.
Senior Diego Sanchez put the Titans ahead in the 25th minute on a penalty kick that was earned by Ross McPhie. Sanchez made a perfect shot, making the keeper dive left while placing the ball perfectly to the right corner of the net.
"The goalie tried to intimidate me by standing in front of me but we lined up and the ref blew the whistle and when I was running up he was leaning to his right a little bit so I put it the other way," Sanchez said.
While Sanchez may have made the play to give the Titans the lead, sophomore Sam Molz made the play of the game to maintain the 1-0 lead. Cal Poly's Adam Olsen made a move in the Titans zone to get around goalkeeper Paul-Andre Guerin and get a wide open shot, however, Molz came from out of nowhere to making a diving save for Fullerton.
"I saw the guy go past our keeper so I said I have to slide or it's going to go in, so I slid before the guy shot it and luckily it went right to me and I cleared it off the line," Molz said.
The Titans defense showed impressive fortitude throughout the game, playing a man short for the final 54 minutes after Michael Lopez received his second yellow card of the game.
"It just shows the guts that we have, we were basically defending the whole second half because we were a man down," Molz said. "It shows the gutsiness and resilience that this team has."
Guerin made his first start in goal since Sept. 8 when the Titans play Utah Valley. Guerin made four saves in the game, his second most of the season.
Fullerton now returns home to begin a three-game homestand beginning with UC Davis Thursday night at Titan Stadium.
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