Cal State Fullerton men’s soccer will face off with the University of Vermont for the first time since last season in a matchup Friday.
CSUF lost to the Catamounts 3-2 in double overtime last season. The Titans have had a year to prepare to meet Vermont again, and Head Coach George Kuntz is sure that the Titans can be triumphant on the field.
“They were a handful,” Kuntz said. “We’re just hoping that this year we come out a little stronger and we play with a little more confidence.”
The Catamounts are currently on a two-game winning streak, standing 3-2 overall for the regular season. The Titans (3-3) are coming off a victorious weekend match that gave them their first win since their game against Santa Clara earlier this month.
The Titans had a few struggles in their prior games, as they were unable to complete shots despite dominating in overall attempts. That dry spell ended after freshman Christian Pinzon scored his first NCAA goal over the weekend, and he doesn’t plan on it being his last.
“I’m pretty sure everybody has scored a lot of goals but scoring in college, that’s different. You’re in the big leagues now, so it felt good,” Pinzon said.
After Pinzon broke the seal on the net, the Titans scored two more goals in the second half.
“I feel like that’s what we needed. It’s not because we can’t score, we just needed that goal to break it open,” Pinzon said. “That tells you something: We have people that know how to finish.”
Despite the Titans being able to score their most goals in a single game this season against the University of San Francisco, Vermont forward Geo Alves will keep the Titans on their toes as he leads the Catamounts roster with five goals and 27 shots overall. The 5-foot-8-inch junior also has the most shots on goal, attempting 12 in Vermont’s last five games.
Junior Samuel Goni has contributed to half of the Titans’ goals this season. However, his efforts weren’t enough for the Titans when they went on a two-game losing streak last week.
The Titans hope that as they approach conference play, they don’t repeat the mistakes they made in those matches.
“We have a lot of new players, so we need to get chemistry with each other,” Goni said.
“We have talent. We work hard for each other and if we’re that confident, we will accomplish what we want.”
Although it took CSUF a few games to get steady on the field, junior forward Bass Sarr plans to help the Titans build a winning streak by tightening up their defense and offense when they face Vermont on Sept. 15 at 7 p.m. at Titan Stadium.
“We have to let it all out over there, and play as brothers and step up for each other,” Sarr said. “We know we have the speed. We know we have good players.”
Kathryne Padilla contributed to this report.