Aggies, Titans Advance to Big West Championship
Big West Men's Soccer Tournament Central
Aggies Advance To Big West Championship On Late Goals
Seniors Noah Wilson and Kyle Higgins scored 20 seconds apart in the final minute, breaking up a 2-2 tie and sending the UC Davis men's soccer team to the Big West Conference Tournament championship match, defeating visiting CSUN, 4-2, on Saturday afternoon at the Aggie Soccer Field.
The Aggies, who played a man down for the final nine minutes of the contest, improved to 11-7-2 overall and will host either Cal State Fullerton or UC Riverside on Saturday (Nov. 11) at Noon. The Titans and Highlanders face one another in the tournament's second semifinal in Fullerton, Calif.
"It was an exciting game," Shaffer said. "I thought we were way better than them in the first half, but their goalkeeper made at least two brilliant saves to keep them in it. The second half, I give credit to Terry (Davila) and his staff -- those guys did a good job adjusting and they had the better of the second half.
"But it shows the fact that we have eight seniors on the team and we’re an experienced group. I thought they held their composure and played really well. At no point did I ever feel like that game wasn’t ours.”
Rebounding from a 2-0 first-half deficit with goals in the 59th and 82nd minutes, the Matadors finished their season at 10-9-2 overall.
In a tale of two halves, it was a four-goal flurry in the second that highlighted a wild afternoon as the six goals scored tied the Big West Tournament record for most combined goals in a match.
Titans Advance to Fourth Consecutive Tournament Finals
For the fourth consecutive year Cal State Fullerton men's soccer advanced to the Big West Conference Tournament finals following its 2-1 victory over UC Riverside Saturday night at Titan Stadium.
"Pretty incredible. It's so hard to do this, mentally, physically.... To have the right chemistry and to have the right guys. After losing 14 guys from last year, it's an incredible feat. We didn't celebrate too much, because our expectation is to be there," said Head Coach George Kuntz.
"Our journey is to go through the next wall. Already the wheels are turning with me. We don't dwell on the last, we work on the next."
Kuntz has led his teams, either UC Irvine and now Fullerton, to eight of the 10 Big West Tournament finals.
The two teams battled each other all night, ending the game nearly equal in statistical categories. The Titans fired off nine shots compared to UC Riverside's eight while Fullerton earned four corners to the Highlanders two.
Fullerton was led by its senior leader and captain, Nicolo D'Amato, who scored the game-winning goal in the 69th minute on a free kick from just outside the 18-yard box to lead the Titans to the 2-1 win.
"I knew this wasn't going to be my last night. I gave it everything. Coach called it this week, he said I would score on a free kick tonight," D'Amato said. "It wasn't the free kick I wanted to score, but a goal is a goal, I'll take it. I'm really excited and humbled to have scored the game-winning goal and to put our team in a good spot for the championship."