Nov. 1, 2007
FULLERTON, CA - Cal State Fullerton senior Stacey Thompson scored the game-winning goal in the 80th minute to help lift the host Titans to a 1-0 victory over UC Irvine on Thursday night and clinch a berth in next weekend's Big West Conference Tournament.
The victory was Fullerton's fifth consecutive win (and the seventh-straight over the Anteaters) as it improved to 11-6-1 overall and 6-2 in league play. The winning streak for the Titans is the longest since they won 11 in a row en route to a 19-4 overall record and a trip to the NCAA Tournament round of 16 in 2005.
UC Irvine, which entered the match unbeaten in its last five matches, fell to 10-6-2 overall, 4-2-1 in the Big West.
Thompson collected her third game-winning goal of the year, settling a pass, avoiding a defender and unleashing a left-footed blast to the upper left corner for the only tally of the match.
Fullerton's defense set the pace, holding the Anteaters to just six shots on the night - only two of those on frame in the second half. It was the fourth-straight match, and the seventh time overall this season, that the Titans have held an opponent to single digits in the shots column.
Junior goalkeeper Shayla Sabin logged her sixth clean sheet of the year in her 13th start, shutting out a UC Irvine squad which had outscored the opposition 7-2 in its last five matches entering Thursday night.
An evenly played first half saw Fullerton outshoot UC Irvine, 7-2, and rack up five corners to none for the Anteaters.
However, both teams had golden scoring opportunities just miss in the opening period. Fullerton's first chance came 15 minutes into the match as a header by Buffington was saved off the line by UCI's Sarah Busby to keep the Titans off the scoreboard.
Fullerton also had a chance in the waning seconds of the first half, as Buffington again got behind the Irvine defense on the right side, but her shot from inside of six yards was saved at the halftime horn.
The Anteaters countered with a chance of their own with 15 minutes remaining in the period as Frankee Kelly was perched on the back post, but her header from two yards out sailed just wide.
Danielle Bitonti had four shots on the night to lead all players for Cal State Fullerton while Kim Horn had a pair to pace UC Irvine.
The Titans close out their 2007 regular season on Sunday evening at 6 p.m. as they welcome No. 20 San Diego to Titan Stadium. Fullerton's eight-member senior class will be honored for their contributions to the program in ceremony prior to kick-off at approximately 5:40 p.m.