The Cal State Fullerton men’s soccer team (2-6) traveled to Las Vegas over the weekend to participate in the UNLV Nike Invitational. The Titans were able to achieve a split in the tournament with a loss to Canisius on Friday and a win against Syracuse on Sunday.
In the first game of the tournament, the Titans found themselves down by a significant amount early in the second half to the Canisius College Golden Griffins. Golden Griffin senior forward Gavin Falconer scored the first two goals in the 7th and 51st minutes. Falconer has had quite a season so far as he has already been named Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Player of the Week twice in a relatively young season.
Falconer’s goals were followed up by one from sophomore midfielder Paul Klopfer in the 60th minute. Then just two minutes later, in the 62nd minute, sophomore midfielder Denver Spearman scored making it 4-0 and completely sealing the deal for the Golden Griffins. Senior forward Regan Steele also had a big contribution with two assists; one to Falconer and the other to Klopfer.
The Titans were able to answer with a goal by senior defender Mario Alvarez in the 65th minute, followed by another from senior forward Jesse Escalante. It wasn’t enough, however, as the Titans ultimately fell to the Golden Griffins, 4-2.
CSUF took 16 shots in the game with seven of them on goal, which was an advantage over Canisius’ nine shots with six being on goal. However, the Golden Griffins had more saves with five as opposed to the Titans’ two.
Offense has been a struggle for the Titans this season as this game matched their season-high in goals with two. The loss to the Golden Griffins brought Cal State Fullerton’s record to 1-6 overall as they looked to bounce back against the Syracuse Orange two days later in the same tournament.
The Titans took the field against the Syracuse Orange on Sunday looking to add to the win column with hopes of getting more offense on the board.
They were off to a good start as they had back to back goals in the 30th and 33rd minute. In the 30th minute, the Titans got their first goal of the game courtesy of a header from senior midfielder Gerzon Blanco, his first goal of the season. Blanco was assisted by Escalante who then scored the second goal of the game in the 33rd minute with a header, his fourth of the season. The goal was assisted by sophomore defender Mark Vasquez.
The Orange shortly fired back with a goal in the 42nd minute by senior midfielder Ted Cribly, his third of the season. Cribly stole the ball from defenders and dribbled it through redshirt freshman goalkeeper Adam Zepeda to score. The Titans carried a 2-1 lead into the halfway mark.
The Titans took charge early in the second half and closed out the game as sophomore midfielder Ian Ramos scored with a header in the 49th minute, his first of the year. Vasquez contributed to the play with an assist.
The Titans 3-1 win came with clean play as CSUF committed no fouls throughout the game. The Orange had 11 fouls. The three-goal game was a new season-high for CSUF. The Titans had 10 shots with seven of them being on goal, while the Orange had eight shots with three on goal.
With the win, the Titans improved their record to 2-6 overall and come back home for four straight games. In their first game of the homestand, the Titans welcome the Air Force Falcons to Titan Stadium Thursday at 7 p.m. On Sunday, the University of San Diego Toreros will come to town to face off with CSUF at 5 p.m.