The Cal State Fullerton women’s soccer team gave up a goal just minutes into their match with Big West frontrunners UC Riverside and were unable to recover, losing 1-0 to the Highlanders in Riverside.
The loss snaps a run of five matches unbeaten for the Titans.
Coming into the match as the conference’s only unbeaten side at 1-0-1, the Titans missed an opportunity to take sole possession of first place from the Highlanders after UCR, previously unbeaten in Big West play, had lost their away contest with UC Irvine on Friday.
With just over three minutes gone in the match, the Titans found themselves in an uphill battle after a former goalkeeper netted a goal for the Highlanders’ on their first attempt on goal.
Junior forward Jessica Olafsen, originally recruited to play between the posts for UCR found the net in the fourth minute via an assist from freshman defender Kelly Velasquez.
Sending her cross from the left corner, Velasquez found Olafsen at the center of the Titan box for the match’s lone goal.
As the first goal in Olafsen’s career, the game-winner was the junior’s first contribution to the UCR team since appearing in 11 matches in goal for the Highlanders back in 2011.
The shot was Olafsen’s only of the contest.
The Highlanders ended the match with five shots on goal and a slight edge in corner kicks 4-3 over CSUF.
For the Titans, the 1-0 loss was a microcosm of the team’s struggles this season, as CSUF forwards continue to shoot blanks in front of the net.
Outshooting the Highlanders 10-7 in the match, the Titans were shutout for the fifth time this season.
In spite of their 6-4-4 overall record, the Titans are 0-3-2 in matches they fail to score in.
With just 13 goals for the season, CSUF now ranks third-worst in the Big West Conference offensively.
Senior Titan forward Nikki McCants and junior midfielder Chelsey Patterson managed to register three shots apiece to lead CSUF, but were unable to get anything past UCR goalkeeper Elizabeth Silas, who finished with seven saves in the match.
The Titans also failed to capitalize on set pieces despite winning a match-high nine fouls to the Highlanders’ five fouls won.
The Highlanders were shown the match’s only yellow card when sophomore defender Alina Cheatham was cautioned in the 77th minute.
Defensively, despite giving up the match’s only goal, the Titans remained the Big West’s toughest team to score on; they surrendered just 11 goals to opponents in 2013.
Facing five attempts on her goal, Titan senior goalkeeper Lindsey Maricic again had a strong match, turning away four shots.
The Titan goalkeeper continues to climb in the CSUF record books, as her 73 saves this season places her at seventh all-time for saves in a single season.
With the Titans now 1-1-1 in Big West play, last year’s regular season champs are middle of the Big West pack with just four points from their three matches.
With their victory over CSUF, the Highlanders sit top of the Big West standings alongside UCI; they have nine points each.
Next up for the Titans is another road contest in conference as they travel north to take on the Mustangs of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo on Oct. 18.
The women of CSUF return to Titan Stadium two days later when they face UC Santa Barbara on Oct. 20.
For more information on the CSUF women’s soccer team and all Titan Athletics, go to FullertonTitans.com.