While Cal State Fullerton seeks its third Big West Tournament title in three years, Long Beach State looks for its first Tournament crown since 2011.
Fullerton Set To Play Long Beach State In Big West Championship Game
Cal State Fullerton looks to capture its third straight Big West Conference Tournament title on Sunday, Nov. 8 when the No. 3 seeded Titans take on top-seeded Long Beach State at 1:07 p.m. at Titan Stadium. Both teams boast a 6-2 conference record, while Fullerton owns a 15-3-1 overall mark and the 49ers are 12-5-3 on the year. The game will be televised by Fox Sports Prime ticket and the winner will earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Courtesy of Cal State Fullerton Athletics
FULL STORY Long Beach State Faces Cal State Fullerton in Big West Final
The top-seeded Long Beach State women's soccer team continues its quest for its third Big West Tournament title in six years when it takes on No. 3 seed and host Cal State Fullerton in the championship match on Sunday, Nov. 8. Kick-off is set for 1 p.m. at Titan Stadium, and the game will be televised live on Fox Sports Prime Ticket.
After Long Beach State claimed a 1-0 overtime win in a nail-biter Thursday over UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton put on a show in a 4-2 victory over UC Santa Barbara in the semis, the 49ers and the Titans advance to the Big West Tournament title game... again. It'll be a rematch of the 2014 championship game played a year ago at Cal Poly as both teams seek the tournament crown. Last year it was CSF celebrating at Alex G. Spanos Stadium after a 2-1 victory to advance to the NCAA Tournament while claiming its second-straight title. But, a lot can happen in a year.
The two teams clashed in their conference season openers on Oct. 4 at LBSU's George Allen Field in what looked like a potential no-decision as the programs battled to a 0-0 stalemate through regulation. While both teams were receiving votes that week in the polls, it was Long Beach State sophomore Ashley Gonzales who would find the back of the net in the 92nd minute to secure the 1-0 OT win.
On her game winner Gonzales said, "Getting behind the flick-on, our coach told us at half-time that it was on the whole time and someone has to challenge it and go for it and I wanted the goal and I wanted to win, so I went after it."
With the win, LBSU snapped a 12-game CSF win-streak versus conference opponents (8 regular season, four postseason) that dated all of the way back to 2013. Junior goalkeeper Ashton McKeown played the entirity of the match between the posts for the Beach and became the first keeper in 18 games to shutout the Titans since Oct. 9, 2014. Coincidentally, McKeown was in goal that night in 2014 as well and made a career-high eight stops in the 0-0 2OT draw.
In this year's conference opener, the 49ers claimed the victory over the Titans for the first time since 2011.
So, will it be a Titan or a 49er raising the cup this Sunday?
Ashton McKeown is the first goalkeeper in 18 matches to record a shutout versus the Titans since Oct. 9, 2014. Coincidentally McKeown was in goal that night as well and made a career-high 8 stops in the 0-0 2OT draw. - See more at: story.asp?STORY_ID=18651#sthash.MlR4NebW.dpuf
snapped a 12-game Cal State Fullerton win-streak versus conference opponents (8 regular season, 4 post season) that dated all the way back to 2013 as it opened conference play with a 1-0 overtime win over reigning champ, CSF. - See more at: story.asp?STORY_ID=18651#sthash.MlR4NebW.dpuf
A photo posted by Cal State Fullerton Athletics (@fullertontitans) on
Cal State Fullerton's Road to RAISING THE CUP
2015 has been nothing short of thrilling for Cal State Fullerton as the Titans opened its campaign going 6-0-1 through its first seven contests for its best start in program history. At 15-3-1 overall, Fullerton's 15 wins are the most for the program since 2005.
On the program's undefeated start senior forward Rebecca Wilson said, "It's just a step in the right direction for us. We can't get to cocky about things. Always have to keep a level head and be humble. Not let it get to our heads. Yeah, we're undefeated so far, but we have a long way to go."
While Fullerton's 42 goals are the most for the program since the 2005 squad netted 50, Wilson and teammate Christina Burkenroad have either scored or provided the assist in 33. The dynamic duo sat down with us earlier this season to discuss just what it is that makes the pair so in sync both on and off the field. Read "Somewhere, Soulful" here for the full story.
With Wilson and Burkenroad leading the pack, the Titans dominated the Big West postseason honors claiming four of the six premier awards.
Senior Rebecca Wilson (Placentia, Calif./El Dorado HS) became the first Titan in Fullerton history to be named Offensive Player of the Year in back-to-back campaigns after recording a league-high 18 goals and 41 points; both are figures that crack the conference’s all-time top 10 list. Wilson’s 18 goals are fourth-best in the nation while her 41 points tie for fourth-best across all DI programs. The senior went on a six-game scoring streak from Aug. 23 to Sept. 11 and recorded multiple scores in a single game four times this season, including the first hat trick recorded by a Titan in three years on Oct. 11. The senior is just the seventh player in Fullerton history to record at least seven points in a single game. Wilson has been named the Big West Offensive Player of the Week three times in her career including an honor in 2015. - See more at: /story.asp?story_id=18707#sthash.HSpZiKxa.dpuf
This Sunday Cal State Fullerton looks to take back-to-back-to-back Tournament titles with the NCAA Tournament automatic berth on the line.
Fullerton enters the championship game hot on the heels of a four-goal offensive perfornamce that saw three Burkenroad goals on three assists from Wilson.
"UCSB was really trying to shut me down and I think they forgot about Christina," said Wilson. "She's just as dangerous as I am and it was easy to just feed her balls."
With a hat trick Thursday, Burkenroad became just the second Big West women's soccer player to accomplish the feat. With seven points on the evening (three goals, one assist), the senior set a new tournament single-game record.
In dynamic duo fashion, Wilson set a record of her own as her three assists set a new single-game mark as well.
On his offensive powerhouses head coach Demian Brown said, “It’s been what we’ve seen all year long. Two players who’ve done everything to prepare for moments like this. What we have, is the opportunity to see for them, what's almost commonplace for what they do. It's an enjoyment to watch, but its definitely not a surprise."
Post Thursday's semifinal match Burkenroad attributed Fullerton's success to the team's trust in each other and in the coaching staff saying that trust is motivation to keep pushing boundaries and to keep playing their game.
Long Beach State wasted no time garnering national attention this season as the Beach opened its 2015 campaign with an upset 1-0 shutout win over No. 4 UCLA. LBSU's season-opening victory marked the first time the 49ers beat a ranked opponent since Sept. 21, 2013 when Long Beach recorded a 1-0 shutout win over No. 11 BYU. No. 4 UCLA is the highest-ranked opponent the 49ers have beat since 2013 and the win marked the first victory over UCLA since 1983.
It was sophomore Gonzales who found the back of the net to secure the season-opener in front of a record-breaking 2,232 crowd at George Allen Field.
Long Beach State upset No. 4 UCLA in a 1-0 shutout win Friday evening in its 2015 home opener. LBSU’s season-opening victory marked the first time the 49ers beat a ranked opponet since Sept. 21, 2013 when Long Beach recorded a 1-0 shutout win over No. 11 Brigham Young. The Beach is 3-1-1 versus ranked opponents since 2013 and at No. 4, UCLA is the highest-ranked foe the Beach has beat in that time span. Friday also marked the first W over UCLA since 1983. - See more at: story.asp?STORY_ID=18568#sthash.hRx6fv7m.dpuf
Starting with the shutout to open the season, the 49ers have since blanked a total of 12 opponents this season and have only allowed 13 goals in 20 games.
The team's 0.62 goals against average is tops in the Big West and 23rd in the country.
The Beach will make its second appearance in the title game in two years, but for head coach Mauricio Ingrassia, the figure that stands out to him is the fact that his squad will play in its fifth championship match in eight years. That number signifies to coach that the 49er program has seen three squads leave significant impacts in recent years.
The Beach looks to avenge last year's title game that ended in a 2-1 fashion in favor of the Titans, and the 49ers are hungry for victory.
Highest National Rank This Season: #23 Number of Weeks Receiving Votes: 7 Number of Weeks Ranked: 2
* The 49ers are the only Big West team to receive a national ranking in 2015
Said Gonzales after Long Beach clinched its 1-0 OT win to advance to the championship game on making it back to the title match, "That was one of our biggest goals."