After going winless in their last four games, the Cal State Fullerton men’s soccer team looked to turn their season around and get a win against a struggling UC Irvine squad. However, the Anteaters swarmed on the Titans and were able to come out of Fullerton with a 2-1 victory Saturday night.
The Titans are now 4-10-1 on the season and have not won a game since Sept. 23.
This was the third straight loss for the Titans, who remain winless in the Big West Conference at 0-4-1.
On its way to victory, UCI snapped a seven-game losing streak, improving to 4-9-1 and earning its first conference win. The Anteaters are now 1-4 in Big West play.
Coming off a scoreless first half, Titan senior forward Jesse Escalante broke the stalemate, snapping his four-game scoreless streak with his seventh goal of the year by deflecting a cross from senior defender Jonathan Birt.
The ball got past Anteaters’ sophomore goalkeeper Michael Breslin for a 1-0 lead in the 49th minute.
UCI answered almost immediately, scoring just a minute later as freshman forward Pavle Atanackovic headed a rebound off a shot by junior forward Christopher Santana to make it 1-1. CSUF then went on an offensive tear in the 76th minute, taking four shots off three corner kicks in a two-minute span, but were unable to break through against the UCI defense.
The 85th minute saw another opportunity for the Titans to claim the lead as a header by sophomore forward Anthony Rosales from a corner kick by junior midfielder Spencer Johnson was cleared off the line. Just seconds later, junior midfielder Enrique Cardenas broke the deadlock and put the Anteaters up for good 2-1.
Cardenas controlled a bouncing ball that had been flicked by Atanackovic and took a shot that got past the reach of junior goalkeeper Robbie Hannon.
The ball landed on the inside of the left post for the eventual game-winner.
Atanackovic played brilliantly for UCI, finishing with a three-point night, including the assist on Cardenas’ game winner.
CSUF put a great amount of pressure on the Anteater defense all night, outshooting UCI 19-13 for the game, including 12 of those coming in the second half.
The Titans also finished with eight corner kicks compared to just three for the Anteaters. Escalante finished with a game-high six shots, while Santana tallied four for UCI. Hannon and Breslin each had five saves as well.
CSUF now has their eyes set on Cal State Northridge on Wednesday. The Titans will have to play at their very best if they look to take down the Matadors. CSUN has been stellar all season, accumulating a record of 10-4 while absolutely dominating as of late.
In their last six games, the Matadors have gone 5-1, outscoring their opponents 8-2 in that span. The Titans on the other hand have been struggling on offense, only scoring three goals in their last five matches. CSUF has not scored two goals in a game since their last win against San Diego State on Sept. 23.
For more information, visit: FullertonTitans.com.