By Juan Saucedo
Daily Titan Staff Writer
Cal State Fullerton forward Michael Denny scored the game-winning goal on an assist by Shay Spitz in the 75th minute for the menâ€™s soccer team, which squeezed past the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, 2-1, on Friday, Sept. 11, in the opening round of the Matador Challenge at Cal State Northridge.
â€œI took advantage of my spot on the field, and I took a shot, and it was good,â€ Denny said.
In a second match at the tourney, Celso Alvarez led the Titans by scoring a goal in each half of a 3-0 shutout of Fairleigh-Dickinson University of Teaneck, NJ, on Sunday, Sept. 13.
With the two victories, the Titans won the tournament over Cal State Northridge on goals. The Titans scored five goals and allowed one, while the Matadors scored four and allowed one against the same two teams, said Bob Ammann, head soccer coach.
â€œIâ€™m more excited at the fact that we won the games,â€ Ammann said in a telephone interview. â€œThe tournament was just icing on the cake.â€
Against Milwaukee, Nick Posthuma opened the scoring for the Titans by scoring in the 34th minute on a cross by Jonathan Brit.
Cody Banks tied the game at 1-1 for Milwaukee (1-4-0) with a goal in the 37th minute on an assist by Greg Rosenthal, setting up Dennyâ€™s second half strike. The Titans outshot Milwaukee 22-11, including 13-5 in the second half.
In the second match, the Titans controlled most of the action against Fairleigh-Dickinson (2-2-0). Alvarez set the pace by scoring his first goal in the fifth minute of the match on a cross by Brit.
Denny assisted Alvarez in his second goal in the 53rd minute, and Spitz scored on a cross by Jamall Farquharson in the 75th minute, completing the score.
Goalkeeper Trevor Whiddon had five saves and picked up his first clean sheet of the season.
Alvarez said the team played two solid games, especially in the second match.
â€œWe knocked the ball around, and we had an early goal that allowed us to take control of the game,â€ he said.
He attributes the teamâ€™s success to the fact that the players have bonded together. â€œThis year it really feels like a family with the guys,â€ Alvarez said.
Denny said the team had good chemistry in the two victories. â€œWe fought together and the results show it,â€ he said.
Ammann said Fairleigh-Dickinson was a good opponent despite what the score indicates because they came into the tournament undefeated.
With one game left in CSUFâ€™s opening five game road trip, the Titans have been able to amass a 3-1 record.
CSUF will finish its road trip against the University of California, Los Angeles (2-1-0), on Thursday, Sept. 17, at 7 p.m. in Los Angeles.
Denny said the team is really looking forward to playing UCLA. â€œThe next game against UCLA is huge for us,â€ he said.
UCLA, which is ranked No. 10 in the College Soccer News Division I standings, could be a challenge for a young Titans squad thatâ€™s trying to surpass last yearâ€™s 4-14-1 record, Ammann said.
â€œThe team is getting better and better,â€ he said. â€œTheyâ€™ve started to believe.â€