FULLERTON, Calif. – Cal State Fullerton men's soccer made history throughout the 2019 season, both individually and as a team.
Fullerton started the first nine games of the year undefeated, with a record of 8-0-1, setting a program record for best start to a season. The previous best start to a year was set by the 1999 team under legendary coach Al Mistri who led the team to a 7-0 start.
The Titans put the country on notice early in the year as they knocked off top-ranked teams in No. 18 Loyola Chicago and No. 14 Florida Gulf Coast before earning a draw against No. 24 LMU. After its strong start the Titans worked their way to be ranked as high as No. 13 in the country.
Fullerton challenged itself throughout the year with a difficult schedule, facing six teams throughout the year that are now in the NCAA Tournament. The Titans finished the year with an RPI of 41. There are 12 teams that finished the season with lower RPI's that made the NCAA Tournament.
For the sixth consecutive year under Head Coach George Kuntz the Titans secured a trip to the Big West Conference Tournament. The Titans 12 wins this season were the most under Kuntz's leadership since he arrived in 2014 and the most since 2000. In all six years with Kuntz at the helm, including 2019, Fullerton has made it to at least the conference tournament semifinals while making it to the finals four times and winning the tournament to punch its ticket to the NCAA tournament three times.
With the Titans win over Sacramento State in double overtime on Oct. 19, Kuntz became just the second coach in the history of the conference to earn 200 wins as a member of the Big West Conference. Kuntz now has a record of 203-138-62 as a coach in the Big West.
Senior goalkeeper Paul-Andre Guerin, was no stranger to aiding the team with shutout performances since his first start in 2016. Guerin recorded a total of 96 saves in 2019, the second most in the entire country. The French keeper added to his incroyable (unbelievable) shutout record this season by adding five to his previous record of 15, giving him the record for most shutouts in a career with 20. Mike Ammann had the previous record with 19 from 1991-93. Guerin garnered Big West Honorable Mention honors after another successful season for the french keeper.
While Guerin was keeping the ball out of the net this season with a save percentage of .793, Christian Pinzon and Oscar Flores dominated the Titans offense. The dynamic duo made headlines for Fullerton this season by earning the Big West First Team All-Conference honors and ranking in the top five in the Big West Conference. Having accumulated nearly half of the Titans 83 points this season, Pinzon and Flores recorded the most points in a single season since Alex Heilmann racked up 26 points in 2016.
Teammate Sam Molz, also made Big West headlines for being selected to be on the all-conference second team for his iron wall performance on the back line. The senior having started all 20 games finished with aiding his team in the five shutouts and maintaining an average of 1.20 goals per game.
Two freshmen that cannot be overlooked are Owen Lambe and Sebastian Cruz who were named to the Big West All-Freshman Team. Following in the footsteps of his soccer idol Jesse Lingard, Owen went on to strike a game-winning shot for the Titans against UC Irvine on October 23rd. Cruz, also proved he could run with the heard this season by striking his first collegiate goal that put the Titans on top over No. 18 Loyal Chicago. Both Freshman having gotten their feet wet in NCAA will be vital players for the program going forward.
The Titans provided fans with an exciting brand of football all season long, from first class goals off the boot of players like Pinzon and Flores to thrilling overtime wins against Air Force and Sacramento State.
With just three starters graduating, the Titans look primed for a big season in 2020 with most of the squad returning to Titan Stadium with another year of experience under their belt.
Season highlights below: