The Titans finally showed the fluidity they’ve been looking for on the field in their 2-1 win over the University of Vermont Friday.
The display didn’t come easy. CSUF had to go without three of its four starting defenders due to injuries that didn’t allow two of them to suit up for the match, and Taylor Davidson was forced to leave the game in the second half with his injury.
Their absence meant Titans Head Coach George Kuntz had to strategize to find the best fit for his center backs — all of whom turned out to be freshman.
“Versatility is the key to this team, that’s the way it’s gonna be this year, it’s gonna be different guys giving something to different games,” Kuntz said. “I can see a bunch of different guys scoring goals, and every night someone else is going to be the big star.”
The Titans’ experiment was successful, allowing them to beat the Catamounts and get over .500 for the second time this season.
The Titans’ defensive deficit made communicating with each other even more vital than usual.
“Communication was a huge difference,” Sarr said. “We had freshman starting on the line-up to play our center backs which you know is not easy for them to start and to do good.”
Sarr had attempted to show Kuntz that he too is capable of stepping up when called upon in prior games, and finally did so against the Catamounts when he scored the first goal of his Division I career in the 50th minute.
“That’s what I needed, a needed to score to get more confident and focused,” Sarr said. “I have more coming too.”
The Catamounts answered back with a 59th minute score, but redshirt Freshman Brian Peek made sure the Titans came out on top.
Peek had been on the field just under four minutes after subbing in for Samuel Goni. His first attempt to scratch was deflected by the Catamounts’ defense, but Peek converted his next attempt to make his first goal as a Titan a game winner in the 77th minute.
“I’m glad I was able to have the game winning goal,” Peek said. “We had a short amount of time to get the goal in and get the result that we wanted.”
Because of the contributions of Peek, Sarr and the rest of the young Titans, the team was able to get the win they were chasing.
“We had five freshman playing today,” Kuntz said. “In a game like this against an experienced NCAA tournament team, it’s a big result.”
FINAL: @CSUFMensSoccer come away with the 2-1 win over Vermont!
— Big West M-Soccer (@BigWestMSOC) September 16, 2017