Women's soccer

CSUF midfielder Maddie Kline adjusts to receive a pass against UCLA on Aug. 22 at Titan Stadium. (CSUF Athletics)

Cal State Fullerton women’s soccer beat the University of Northern Colorado 2-1 Sunday afternoon in Greeley, Colorado to pick up their first win of the 2021 season. The Titans scored goals from Karla Rodriguez and Maddie Kline, as well as a stout defensive effort in the victory.

The Titans faced some adversity before kickoff, as slated starting goalkeeper and redshirt-sophomore Noa Schumacher was scratched in warmups due to a ricocheted ball hitting her in the head.

Freshman goalkeeper DeAira Jackson started the game as Schumacher’s replacement and recorded 11 saves as she came within seconds of her first collegiate clean sheet.

Fullerton started the match with an early goal from Rodriguez to take a 1-0 lead a little over five minutes. Struck from outside the box, the goal was the freshman midfielder’s second of the season. Rodriguez currently leads the team in goals and points this season with two and four, respectively.

The Titans displayed smart passing and strong possession early on, but the Bears quickly overwhelmed time of possession as the first half progressed.

After Rodriguez’s goal, Northern Colorado logged 18 shots and put significant pressure on Fullerton’s defense. Despite playing their own end for a majority of the half, the defense did not break.

However, the Titans had the best scoring chance of the match from either side around the 40-minute mark with a loose-ball scuffle in front of the Northern Colorado net.

With the Bears’ goalkeeper out of position and an open net, Titan attackers had two shots on goal that were both saved by Bears midfielder Maddie Duren. The ball ended up in the back of the net eventually, but was ruled a no-goal due to a Fullerton handball.

CSUF had to settle for a 1-0 lead and Northern Colorado momentum heading into halftime.

After the break, the Bears continued to dominate possession and shots until the Titans experienced a lucky turn of events at 62 minutes.

Kline, Titan junior midfielder from Yorba Linda, California, sent a ball into the box that should have been catchable by the Bears’ goalkeeping replacement Morgan Bury, who came on for starting goalkeeper Ashley Franza to start the second half.

The kick was mismanaged by Bury and slipped through her fingers, extending the Titans’ lead to 2-0. Kline’s goal, her first as a Titan, was the game-winner.

After the goal, Fullerton began to play with more energy and intensity on the attack. They regained their early form and dominated the time of possession, quickly quashing all Northern Colorado counterattacks and further pressing on offense.

In the final minute of play, the Fullerton defense held back and the Bears took advantage to spoil the clean sheet. At 89 minutes and 55 seconds — just five seconds from the end of the match — Bears forward Lexi Pulley buried a shot to cap the score, 2-1.

The Titans finished with 19 shots to Northern Colorado’s 18 and lost the time of possession, 49% to 51%.

Fullerton’s first win of the season moves the team to 1-6 on the season and could help right their ship two years after winning the Big West conference championship.

The Titans will return to Titan Stadium for their second home game of the season on Sept. 15 in a matchup against the UC Riverside Highlanders (3-3) at 7 p.m. PDT.

In an article printed on Sept. 13, the Daily Titan incorrectly stated that Cal State Fullerton would face UC Riverside on Sept. 15 at 7 p.m. PST. The game is set to begin at 7 p.m. PDT on Sept. 15.

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