The Big West Conference soccer teams have officially wrapped up week one of conference play, and Cal State Fullerton’s men and women’s soccer teams are off to a strong start.
Men’s soccer started conference play first when it faced the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos Sept. 28. While the Titans were defeated in their first match of their conference schedule, they were able to bounce back in their 1-0 win over Cal Poly Sept. 30.
The Titans’ attempts to keep an undefeated record were shot down when they received their first loss against the Gauchos. However, CSUF men’s soccer (1-1) still tops the leaderboard for the Southern division of the Big West.
The other three Southern teams (UC Irvine, UC Riverside and CSUN) were not successful in bagging a win in their matches over the weekend.
The Titans also hold the top overall win percentage in the Big West (.591).
CSUF’s record wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for the efforts made by the individuals behind the numbers.
Junior midfielder Ross McPhie is the top scorer for the Titans, contributing five of CSUF’s 13 goals.
Senior midfielder Diego Sanchez gained another goal for Fullerton against the Mustangs, but that hasn’t been his only success this season. Sanchez also leads the Titans with three assists.
Titans goalie Alfredo Cortez has some standout numbers, as he leads the Big West with the fewest goals allowed (seven). Cortez has recorded two shutout games.
Although it is too soon to predict the outcome of the Titans’ season, the men’s soccer team is confident that it will be able to reclaim the conference title this year.
“We’re ready for the battle,” said Titans forward Bass Sarr. “We talked about it even before preseason … It’s time to execute and apply what we learned earlier.”
CSUF women’s soccer has had a number of successes since the start of its season. The Titans have only lost two games so far and were able to score another win as they wrapped up their first conference match against the Cal State Northridge Matadors with a 3-0 shutout.
“We’ve put ourselves right where we want to be, at the top of the conference,” said Head Coach Demian Brown. “We’ll let this one resonate … And then we’ll get back to work.”
The Titans lead the boards in the Big West as they hold the record for most goals at 27. They were able to add three more goals to their season total in their match against CSUN after Tala Haddad, Jazzmin Mancilla and Haley Brown all scored against the Matadors to give the Titans their first shutout win of conference play.
Following her standout performance against the University of San Diego which earned her a Big West recognition last week, forward Sarah Fajnor has continuously ranked high on the Titans’ roster and on Big West leaderboards, but she isn’t the only one leaving her mark there.
Senior Samantha Koemans holds leading spots in several individual statistics. Koemans ranks second overall in the Big West, falling three points behind UC Santa Barbara forward Amanda Ball.
Sophomore Atlanta Primus led the Titans in goals for the first nine games until her teammates Koemans and Fajnor caught up in the final week of the nonconference season.
Fajnor, Primus and Koemans not only hold a three-way tie in goals on their roster, but they are also in a four-way tie in the Big West with UC Irvine’s Kiana Palacios, all falling just three points behind Ball.
Titans goalie Morgan Bertsch has also given the Titans bragging rights by tying for first place in fewest goals against, allowing just nine so far this season while holding the top spot for goals against average with 0.73.
The senior starter has recorded six shutouts in her 1,113 minutes of playing time, with her most recent one being against the Matadors.
The Titans will continue their second week of conference play as they face their next opponents Oct. 5. Men’s soccer will face the UC Davis Aggies at Titan Stadium at 7 p.m., and the women’s team will travel to UC Riverside for its match at 5 p.m.
Kaila Cruz contributed to this report.