CSUF men’s soccer faces University of the Pacific in first round of the NCAA tournament

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(Bailey Carpenter / Daily Titan File Photo)

Although Titans Head Coach George Kuntz felt “relieved” once his team clinched another Big West title, he knows the mission isn’t done yet.

The Titans will travel north to face the University of the Pacific Tigers in the first round of the NCAA tournament, and even though the team is thrilled with the result of Saturday’s match that made them champions, Fullerton goalkeeper Paul-Andre Guerin said the team is trying not to focus too much on its title.

“Winning the Big West tournament definitely helped improve the chemistry on the team, but it can be kind of a trap sometimes too because we need to move on and to stay focused,” Guerin said. “It’s like a big sprint into the final, and you feel like you’re done, but you’re not done.”

Guerin’s stellar performance against UC Davis kept the Aggies out of the net, and the victory gave him hope that he can reproduce the same results and keep the Titans’ season going just a while longer.

Titans defender Taylor Davidson said the Big West title has made the entire team more sure of themselves.

“I think everyone is obviously overjoyed with the victory last Saturday, and its given everyone that little confidence boost that maybe we needed at the end of conference play, and I think taking that with us going into the national tournament will be very pivotal to our performance,” Davidson said.

The Titans won’t have home-field advantage in their upcoming match. However, Kuntz said he thinks the road might be beneficial for the team.

“I think we have more focus on the road,” Kuntz said. “When you get in a comfort zone here, you don’t think so much about the details of the game.”

But while the Titans will have minimal distractions on the road, there may be some weather-related issues that could positively or negatively affect their result.

When CSUF faced Pacific last season, the Titans were forced to play a midday match on one of the hottest days of September 2016, something Kuntz said contributed to a “lethargic” 2-0 loss for the Titans.

“It’s kind of new because we haven’t played this team this year. We played them last year, but we just have to play our game with no fears,” Guerin said. “The best would be to win the game early, obviously, but we have to be ready for any situation.”

As the Titans head to Stockton to gear up for the Nov. 16 match at 7 p.m., they’re hoping to earn a win that will show they’re worthy to play on the NCAA stage.

“This is the place that this program wants to be and we’ve taken every step to get here,” Davidson said. “Now we’re looking on to go onto bigger and brighter things.”

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