CSUF men’s soccer faces UC Santa Barbara in first round of the Big West Tournament

In Men's Soccer, Sports
Defender DJ Wilson of CSUF men's soccer avoids two attackers from St. Francis University on Sept. 23 during a 2-2 tie.
( Joshua Arief Halim / Daily Titan)

The CSUF men’s soccer team will head to Santa Barbara for the first round of the Big West Tournament. The Titans enter the tournament as sixth seed while UC Santa Barbara holds the third seed.

Since taking over as head coach in 2014, George Kuntz has led the Titans to the conference tournament for five consecutive years.

In each of its trips to the tournament with Kuntz, Fullerton has reached the final round as well.  The Titans won the Big West Tournament championship in three of the last four years (2014-15 and 2017)

The Titans finished the regular season with a 2-3-2 record in Big West matches, while the Gauchos had a 4-2-1 record.

Fullerton enters the tournament winless in its last three conference matches. The team lost consecutive games to UC Irvine and UC Davis, and tied against UC Riverside last Saturday.

The Gauchos start the tournament on a three-game win streak that saw them outscore opponents 6-0 during that stretch.

When the Titans faced the Gauchos on Oct. 6, they lost the match in overtime, 1-0. The Titans struggled offensively in the contest with only six shots attempted and two being on goal. The Gauchos found plenty more opportunities with 13 shots and five on goal.

Despite Fullerton’s struggles in its last meeting against the Gauchos, the Titans feel ready to prove themselves on Wednesday night.

“We’re physically and mentally prepared for tomorrow’s match,” said midfielder Robert Coronado. “Tomorrow’s a perfect night to show what we have and moving on from there.”

Forward Samuel Goni said their performance during the season won’t matter if they do well in tournament matches.

“Conference tournament is a different story, everything is in the past. No matter what we did before, no matter what they did before, just one team comes out of the game and we hope it’s going to be us, we’re gonna fight,” Goni said.

The Titans are familiar with winning big games at Harder Stadium and won Big West Tournament games in Santa Barbara in 2015 and 2016.

The game will kickoff on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. If the Titans win they will advance to the semifinals on Nov. 3. A loss on Wednesday will result in elimination and end the Titans’ season.

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