Returning for its sixth consecutive appearance in the Big West Tournament, Cal State Fullerton women’s soccer left the semifinal round of Big West play victorious in a 2-1 rematch against the UC Irvine Anteaters.
A power struggle between the two teams was evident as the first 10 minutes of the period remained shotless. Despite having zero shots, Fullerton continued its aggressive play and earned its first foul seconds after the game started.
In the 31st minute of the match, midfielder Kaycee Hoover completed a pass from forward Atlanta Primus to give the Titans a 1-0 lead.
With the last 15 minutes of the period nearing, the Titans proceeded to keep their defense on a tight line, only allowing the Anteaters one shot.
Returning for the second period, the Titans kept the same momentum that began the first half of the match. UC Irvine’s Lili Andino forced a close shot on the Titans’ goal, but goalkeeper Morgan Bertsch prevented it from reaching the net, making her first save of the match.
Five minutes later in the 56th minute, Titans forward Maribell Morales extended the lead to 2-0 after a successful finish from a turnover outside the 18-yard line.
Eager to keep the ball rolling, the Titans triumphed through the Anteaters’ defense to rack up seven shots totaling 12 for the whole match.
CSUF held down the advantage but along the way picked up six fouls as opposed to UCI’s two.
The Anteaters’ Sydney Carr saw a last-minute opportunity in the 83rd minute to run through the Titans’ defense and place the ball in the net, switching the score to 2-1.
Fullerton remained unphased after the goal, and held its ground until the final whistle, taking a spot in the championship game of the tournament.
The Titans will face the winner from the Cal State Northridge/UC Riverside match Sunday Nov. 5 at Matador field.