Offense Fires Back in Win Over Syracuse

LAS VEGAS – Jesse Escalante scored his fourth goal of the season and added an assist while teammates Anthony Rosales and Ian Ramos each also found the back of the net on Sunday morning, lifting the Titans to a, 3-1, win over Syracuse to close out the UNLV Nike Invitational in Las Vegas.

The victory snapped a three-match losing streak for Fullerton, which improved to 2-6 overall on the season. The Orange, who had entered Sunday's match with a streak of 17 unanswered goals after a 1-0 win over the host Rebels on Friday, fell to 6-2 overall.

"I'm very happy for the boys today," Head Coach Bob Ammann said. "We finished out chances today and beat a good team. Syracuse was one of the highest-scoring teams in the country and had some of the top scorers in the nation. We did a great job minimizing their chances and showed a lot of character after going down so early."

It took just three minutes for Syracuse to get on the board with its 18th unanswered goal as Ted Cribley turned a steal into his third score of the season, dribbling in and firing past goalkeeper Adam Zepeda for the 1-0 lead.

That advantage lasted only eight minutes as the Titans scored twice in a four-minute span to take the lead for good. Escalante's header off a cross from Mark Vasquez to the right post tied the match in the 12th minute and Anthony Rosales scored his first of the year off a feed from Escalante, heading home a corner for the game-winner in the 16th minute.

Ian Ramos finished the scoring just four minutes into the second half, heading home a cross from Julian Okai to the back post for the final 3-1 advantage.

"Our record to date is not indicative of the quality of this group and todays result proves we can play with anyone when we minimize mistakes and put our chances away," Ammann said. "We need to build on this result and keep working hard."

Syracuse had a chance to draw a goal closer in the 55th minute when Zepeda was red carded after taking down a player in the box. Robbie Hannon came on to replace him and denied Lars Muller on the ensuing penalty kick to preserve the two-goal lead.

Playing a man down, the Titans got even when Jonathan Birt was taken down in the box by the Orange keeper, Alex Bono, for another red card, but Andrew Coughlin came on and denied Ritchie Gonzalez and a fourth Fullerton goal to keep it, 3-1.

Escalante finished with four shots for the Titans, who were matched by Syracuse with 12 shots per side. Louis Clark had three shots to lead the Orange. Hannon made three saves in relief of Zepeda, playing the final 36 minutes to hold off Syracuse.

Cal State Fullerton returns home on Thursday (Sept. 20) at 7 p.m. as the Titans host Air Force at Titan Stadium. Fullerton then welcomes San Diego to Orange County on Sunday (Sept. 23) at 5 p.m. before the start of Big West Conference play.