By Simon Liang
Daily Titan Assistant Sports Editor
The Cal State Fullerton menâ€™s soccer team came away with a 2-1 victory against visiting Saint Maryâ€™s College on Sunday at Titan Stadium.
Senior forward Matt Sanders scored the game-winning goal in the 65th minute as junior forward Celso Alvarez and redshirt sophomore midfielder Oscar Aguero penetrated the Gaelsâ€™ defense to set up Sanders for the score.
Coming off a close loss to UCLA, it was the first home game for the Titans after starting off the season with five straight games on the road.
â€œIn all honesty, it was our weakest performance,â€ Head Coach Bob Ammann said.
The Titans were happy about finally playing a home game.
â€œWe were excited; we knew we were going to get a good fan base,” sophomore goalkeeper, Trevor Whiddon said.
Right from the outset, the Titans were sloppy with the ball, and the Gaels took advantage.
Just over four minutes into the game, St. Maryâ€™s redshirt sophomore midfielder Justin Grider connected for the first score of the game off a great pass from redshirt junior midfielder Dylan Leslie.
Ammann said that the early goal against his team helped wake them up and be more aggressive.
Halfway through the first period, the Titans had three close chances to tie up the game with three shots on goal, but they did not prevail.
â€œWe are usually good with the ball, and it seemed like we had a number of players who had off games,â€ Ammann said.
The Titans were having trouble getting their ball out of their own backfield. The Gaels were in control of the possessions for most of the first half.
In the 32nd minute, tempers flared up as several Titan and Gaels players got into a shoving match. The result was St. Maryâ€™s freshman defender Trevor Newquist and CSUF’s Aguero both receiving yellow cards.
It was a physical game throughout, as players from both sides could not keep their composure.
â€œTheir style of play is a little more direct. They like the ball probably in the air more than the ground, and when you get the ball in the air, thereâ€™s going to be aerial battles and physical confrontations,” Ammann said.
The Titans kept fighting and eventually they got on the scoreboard.
â€œI was proud of the boys. They stuck with it; they gutted it out and got the result,â€ Ammann said.
In the 40th minute, CSUF tied up the game with a great goal amidst suffocating pressure from the Gaels defense.
Under much duress in front of the Saint Maryâ€™s goalpost, seniorÂ Shay Spitz made a great play and put the ball right into the net for his second goal of the season.
Spitzâ€™s goal tied the match at 1-1. This pushed the momentum into the Titansâ€™ favor as they seem rejuvenated.
â€œWe will have a lot more better performances this year,” Spitz said.
For the Gaels, it was their first loss of the season.
â€œSt. Maryâ€™s is a good team. They were undefeated and beat two teams from our conference,â€ Ammann said.
The match ended with a total of six yellow cards.
â€œWe didnâ€™t play well, but we still came through,” Alvarez said.
The Titans look to improve their 4-2 record against Coastal Carolina on Friday, Sept. 25 at Titan Stadium.