Oct. 13, 2011
Fullerton, Calif. -
AT A GLANCE: Fullerton tries to stop a 3-game losing streak and a 4-match winless streak when the Titans host UC Riverside Saturday night at 7 p.m. At 6-5-1, the Highlanders are a win away from matching their best Div. I win total but they have lost their past two matches by a combined score of 10-1.
CAL STATE FULLERTON (6-4-2, 0-3-0): Despite going winless (0-3-1) the last three weeks, at 6-4-2 the Titans still have their best 12-match record since the 2000 team opened 7-4-1. The Titans have won two tournament championships -- the Labor Day Classic at CSU Northridge (1-0-1) via goal differential and the Nike Invitational in Las Vegas (2-0).
UC RIVERSIDE (6-5-1, 1-3-0): The Highlanders are off to one of their best starts in years but lost Wednesday night to UC Irvine, 5-1, after a weekend 5-0 loss at Cal Poly. Their conference win came in the opener vs. UCSB, 3-1, on Sept. 28. Cesar Diaz-Pizarro has scored 6 of the team's 17 goals and Aaron Long (2 goals) is the only other player who has more than one. Cody Suppe is 6-3-1 in the net with a 1.40 goals against average.
SERIES HISTORY: Fullerton holds a 13-8-2 advantage all-time over UCR but the Highlanders won the last meeting, 3-2, in Fullerton, to snap a 6-match winless streak.
THE POLLS: The Titans cracked the Soccer America Top 25 at No. 24 after Sept. 11 but fell out of the poll after splitting two road matches the following week. Fullerton is receiving votes in the College Soccer News poll after being No. 28 a week ago. CSF (No. 41) is included in TopDrawerSoccer.com's "Tournament 48" Field.
GOAL SCORERS: Nine different Titans have scored goals led by Kevin Venegas with 5 and Ian Ramos, Nick Posthuma, Ritchie Gonzalez and Jesse Escalante with 2 each. Venegas and Posthuma lead the way with 3 assists each. With 13 points, Venegas leads the team.
BUT NOT OF LATE: The Titans have managed only one goal -- a free kick by Michael Denny vs. UC Irvine -- in their last four matches after finding the net 16 times in the first 8 matches.
FULL STRENGTH: The Titans played each of the past two matches without a key starter. Leading scorer Kevin Venegas missed the UC Irvine match due to a red card and defender Michael Denny missed the UCSB match due to an accumulation of yellow cards.
ROSTER DEPTH: The Titans have managed to utilize 23 players so far this season. Five -- Aguero, Alvarez, Birt, Reiss and Whiddon -- have started all 12 matches.
HOME FIELD DISADVANTAGE: Fullerton is a combined 8-8-3 away from Titan Stadium in 2010 and 2011 but only 5-8-1 at home during the same time period.
PRE-SEASON PICKS: The Titans were forecast for third place in the annual Big West coaches' pre-season poll. Defending tourney champion UC Santa Barbara is the favorite followed by Cal Poly, Fullerton, 2010 regular season champion UC Irvine, Cal State Northridge, UC Riverside and UC Davis. Big West teams currently are a combined 34-16-9 (.653) in non-conference play.
LOOKING AHEAD: Sacramento State will join the Big West Conference as an associate member for men's soccer beginning with the 2012 schedule. Currently, there is a 7-team alignment with each team playing 10 games -- home-and-home with four foes and single games with the remaining two.