Cal State Fullerton men’s soccer continued to roll with its third win in its last four games, a 1-0 win over the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Rebels at Titan Stadium Friday. The win allowed the Titans to finish nonconference play with a record of 5-3-1.
The match was midfielder Irving Arvizu’s third time starting for the Titans after he nearly redshirted the season. Instead, Arvizu’s unexpected start on defense against Vermont a week ago earned him extra playing time.
“It was definitely motivating for me just to be on the pitch that day,” Arvizu said. “I just had to give it my best. It wasn’t my normal position, so it was something new for me.”
Arvizu wasn’t the only member of the Titans to step up. CSUF defender Corentin Ohlmann made his return to the field in the win, starting for the Titans after a two-game absence, and he credits the team’s success over their last three games to their ability to adapt to adversity.
“We have freshmen stepping in and running the back, and we’re just all doing our job,” Ohlmann said.
The Titans took charge offensively in the first half of the match, firing five shots at UNLV goalie Enrique Adame.
The activity paid off when Ross McPhie scored his fourth goal of the season by taking advantage of the rebound off a free kick from Mark Hernandez in the 31st minute.
“It takes a team effort to get in the back of the net. I’m just the one there,” McPhie said. “I always try to be an option. If you’re always an option, then you’ll always get chances.”
The Titans were able to score in the first half of the game for the second time this season, the first being in their match against the University of San Diego.
“It was taking us a while,” McPhie said. “We were having too many chances but we weren’t putting them away.”
As the teams switched sides for the second half, both offenses were quiet as the Titans remained in the lead.
The referee kept his cards in his pocket up until the 67th minute when UNLV’s Oscar Velasquez was awarded the first yellow card of the match, with Bass Sarr quickly following in the 72nd minute to earn the second yellow of the game.
In spite of the physicality, CSUF held on for the win, defending six shots from UNLV in the second half.
The Titans will leave nonconference play in the rearview mirror as they begin their conference schedule at UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly Thursday and Saturday, respectively, with a stronger record than they held at the same point last season.
Titans Head Coach George Kuntz is satisfied with the way his team is entering Big West play.
“One of our goals was not to get .500. We wanted a winning record going into league,” Kuntz said. “Knowing where we came from, where we started, we had a couple speed bumps, but we’ve come a long way.”