Big West tourney hopes on the line for CSUF men’s soccer

In Men's Soccer, Sports
CSUF men's soccer midfielder Alex Juarez runs toward the goal post at Titain Stadium.
(Courtesy of Taylor Arthur)

The CSUF men’s soccer team will conclude the regular season against UC Riverside on Saturday night at UC Riverside Soccer Stadium.

The Titans are one of five teams battling for one of the final three spots remaining in the Big West Tournament. A win would put the Titans in the tournament for the fifth consecutive year.

However, if they do not make the tournament, it will be the first time head coach George Kuntz hasn’t led the Titans into the postseason.

Fullerton is tied for fourth place in the Big West with Cal State Northridge and UC Davis. Each team holds a 2-3-1 record in conference play as they head into the final game of the regular season.

The Highlanders are in second place in the conference with a 4-2-0 record in Big West play. If the Highlanders are able to defeat the Titans, or force a tie, then they clinch the final first round in the Big West Tournament, with the other one belonging to first place UC Irvine.

The Titans are coming off of a 2-0 win against the University of Nebraska Omaha. It was their first road win since Sept. 27 against Loyola Marymount.

Junior goalkeeper Alfred Cortez recorded two saves in a shutout during the first start of his season. He had not played since Sept. 23, when he logged 26 minutes in the Titans 4-0 win against the University of San Francisco.

CSUF has yet to win a conference game on the road this season. If the Titans lose on Saturday it will be the first time since 2014 that they failed to win a conference game on the road.

The Highlanders, who are riding a two-game win streak, will host Fullerton. Over their last two games, the Highlanders have registered consecutive shutouts against Cal State Northridge and Sacramento State.

Despite being in second place in the conference, the Highlanders have a 6-9-1 overall record, but they still haven’t been good on their home turf. They own a 2-4 record at UC Riverside Soccer Stadium with a -5 goal differential while at home this season.

The Titans and Highlanders will kick off at 7 p.m. on Saturday night. If the Titans win and reach the Big West Tournament for the fifth consecutive season, they will begin the first round of the tournament on Wednesday, Oct. 31.

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