FULLERTON, Calif. – Cal Poly junior Mackenzie Pridham found the back of the net in each half while the defense held host Cal State Fullerton to without a shot in the first period Friday night as the visiting Mustangs shut down the Titans' offense with a 2-0 shutout at Titan Stadium.
The loss snapped a three-match winning streak for Fullerton (4-7 overall, 0-1 in the Big West Conference), which was held to without a goal for the first time since a 1-0 loss at Loyola Marymount on Sept. 7. The Titans had scored in each of their last five contests, including multiple goals in their last four.
Cal Poly improved to 6-3 overall and 1-0 in league play, winning for the sixth time in the last seven matches after opening 0-2 on the year.
"Apart from the goal I felt we played well throughout the first 45 minutes," Head Coach Bob Ammann said. "We gifted them a goal and, unfortunately, it cost us the opportunity of picking up three points. We felt good about the half except for the conceded goal. As the second half progressed we chased the game and, unfortunately, it lead to the 2nd goal."
Pridham took advantage of a ball through goalkeeper Adam Zepeda hands in the 26th minute as a ball played across by Chris Gaschen slipped though and fell to an unmarked Pridham just outside the six-yard box. The junior then fired it home for his fourth of the year and a 1-0 lead.
That stood until midway through the second half when the Canadian took off on a long run after a pass from Mike Hocker, unleashing a rocket from about 20 yards out to make it 2-0 with 15 minutes remaining in the match, sealing the Mustangs victory.
Fullerton's offense, which entered the match ranked second in the Big West Conference in shots, was held to without a strike in the first half before finally breaking through with nine in the second 45 minutes. A header by Jonathan Birt off a corner by Mario Alvarez finally got the Titans into the shot column in the 54th minute and a couple of chances by leading scorer Jesse Escalante – a header in the 67th minute and a free kick from just outside the 18 in the 73rd minute – sailed just off the mark.
Escalante, who entered the match with goals in five consecutive games for Fullerton, also had a chance with a header on a free kick from about 40 yards out in the 84th minute, but it looped over the crossbar from six yards out to keep the match scoreless.
Cal Poly keeper Chase Hauser was forced to make just one save on a long free kick by Jesse Vega in the 81st while Zepeda finished with three saves in the loss for the Titans. Escalante finished with three shots for Fullerton while Pridham added four for the Mustangs.
The Titans return to the field on Sunday (Sept. 30) at approximately 7:30 p.m. in the second match of a doubleheader with the Fullerton women's team. The Titans host No. 3 UC Santa Barbara, which defeated No. 24 UC Riverside, 3-1, on Friday night.