FULLERTON, Calif. -- Washington State's Micaela Castain netted her team-leading ninth goal of the season in the 32nd minute and the Cougars' defense made it stand, escaping Titan Stadium with a 1-0 win over host Cal State Fullerton on Friday night in front of 406 fans.
The loss evened the Titans' record at 3-3-2 overall on the year, suffering their first loss at home in six chances this season (3-1-2) and the first since Oct. 19, 2012, against UC Santa Barbara. Washington State, which was receiving votes in this week's national polls, remained unbeaten at 6-0-2 overall on the season.
Castain's goal midway through the first half came off the foot of teammate Kourtney Guetlein, who drove down the right side and slotted a short pass into the middle for a waiting Castain. The senior did not miss from close range, roofing a shot from just outside the six for the only goal the Cougars would need.
Meanwhile, Fullerton's frustrations on offense continued, missing an opportunity in the 39th minute as sophomore Morgan Batcheller just missed high on a volley at the back right post off a curling free kick by Chelsey Patterson. Five minutes later, Erica Mazeau had a chance, but her left-footed shot defelected off a defender and into the hands of a waiting Gurveen Clair for the save.
Senior goalkeeper Lindsey Maricic was also stellar in net for the Titans, despite the loss, making a pair of key saves early on to keep the match scoreless. The first came in the 10th minute on a give-and-go between Castain and Cara Wegner, stopping Wegner's attempt from 10 yards.
Later, in the 22nd minute, Fullerton was whistled for a foul in the box on a cross, setting up a penalty kick for Castain but, again, Maricic was up to the task, making a diving stop to her right and knocking the rebound out of bounds.
The second half saw another chance for Fullerton in the 65th minute after Clair was booked for holding the ball, giving the Titans a free kick from just inside the 18. After the Cougars came off the line a bit early forcing another restart, Chelsey Patterson's blast was blocked by the wall and the rebound cleared harmlessly away.
Seven minutes later, a cross found its way behind the defense to freshman Ivy Diego, but her low shot back through traffic missed just wide at the left post.
Maricic came up big yet again in the 77th minute to keep it a one-goal contest as WSU's Nicole Setterlund sent a ball off a defender that fell at the feet of a streaking Korynn Blanksma at the right post. Blanksma's attempt was turned away at point-blank range by Maricic and the rebound was cleared away by a defender near the line.
The Cougars finished with a 9-8 advantage in shots, led by three from Castain. Mazeau and Kishi Smith each had two for the Titans to pace the offense.
Cal State Fullerton hits the road for only the third time this season, making the 32-mile trek up the freeway to take on Southern California rival USC on Sunday (Sept. 22) at 3 p.m. at McAlister Field in Los Angeles.
NOTES: Friday's match marked the seventh-straight contest (out of eight total) that has ended in a shutout for either team... the Titans are 0-2-2 when shutout this season... Fullerton has not scored a goal since the 89th minute of a 1-0 win over Loyola Marymount on Sept. 13 -- a span of 201:21... the Titans have been held to just five goals in eight matches this season, but have surrendered only five goals in that same span -- three of those coming against BYU in the season opener... Fullerton has allowed only two goals in its last 623:26... the Titans are now winless in their last eight meetings with Pac-12 Conference schools (0-4-4) dating back to 2008 heading into Sunday's match at USC.