Cal State Fullerton Heads To Palo Alto For NCAA Tournament
Cal State Fullerton will make its fifth NCAA appearance this weekend in Palo Alto after earning its fourth Big West title. The Titans will take on Stanford in the first round of tourney play, looking to advance to the second round for the third time in CSF program history.
Women's Soccer Release No. 13
BIG WEST AT A GLANCE
Penalty Kicks Send Cal Poly Home: At the end of a 1-1 draw through 110 minutes of play in the semi final game Thursday, Cal State Fullerton bested Cal Poly in penalty kicks 4-3 to move onto the Championship game of the Big West Tournament. This was the first Tournament in Big West history in which both semi final games went into overtime.
Lancaster Takes Early Lead: Sara Lancaster converted a penalty kick to give the Mustangs a 1-0 lead in the 27th minute of regulation as the junior netted her second goal on the year.
Giannetti Keeps Mustangs Alive: With six saves in the semi final match, sophomore goalkeeper Alyssa Giannetti made critical stops that took her team into OT. The goalkeeper’s 84-save season total ranks third in the Big West as Giannetti lead the sophomore class in saves in 2013.
Sophomore Sensation: Elise Krieghoff finished the match with four shots, two on goal, as she closed out her season with a nation-high 21 goals.
CAL STATE FULLERTON
Titans Take Fourth Big West Title: After a record-setting semi final round of the conference tournament that saw two double overtime matches, Cal State Fullerton clinched the title after taking both of its games in penalty kicks. The Titans edged out Cal Poly 4-3 in PKs after a 1-1 tie after 110 minutes Thursday and UC Riverside 2-1 in PKs after an identical 1-1 draw Sunday.
Pulliam Pulls It Off: Penalty kick specialist Katie Pulliam has defied all odds, not once, not twice, but three times for Fullerton in tournament play. The redshirt senior goalkeeper was brought in goal in 2012 during Fullerton’s semi final match to help the Titans advance to the Championship game beating out UC Irvine 3-0 in PKs. In the same fashion, Pulliam took to the goal Thursday and yet again on Sunday for a penalty kick decision and earned MVP honors for her effort.
McCants Can: Senior forward Nikki McCants netted both of Fullerton’s regulation goals in the tournament to aid the Titans in clinching the Big West title. McCants finished with three goals on the season.
CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE
The Promise of 2014: While Cal State Northridge won its first-ever Big West Tournament title in 2012, the Matadors struggled this season in league, going five-straight matches without a win. Last season the Matadors bounced back from a five-game winless streak, taking eight of its last 12 games. CSUN looks to display its competitive talent in 2014.
Underclassmen: Goalkeeper Cynthia Tafoya racked up 1473:22 minutes in her second campaign as a Matador and earned the starting role as a sophomore after playing a total of 90 minutes as a redshirt freshman in two appearances. Tafoya’s 59 saves rank fifth in the Big West in 2013. Freshman Breanna McCallum’s three goals tie for the team-high this season with junior Brittanie Sakajian.
Thirty And Thriving: Head coach Kieth West hit the 30-mark in conference victories in his eithth season with the Matadors, and sixth season in the Big West. The CSUN alum owns an overall 68-74-14 record in the conference and took the Matadors to the NCAA Tournament in 2012.
LONG BEACH STATE
Rangel Ranks Above The Rest: Mimi Rangel earned Freshman of the Year honors after a season that saw five goals, three game-winners and 14 points. While leading Long Beach State in those categories, the freshmn was also second on the team with four assists and 29 shots. Even as a newcommer Rangel was fantastic under pressure as she lifted the 49ers to a big 3-2 win over No. 23 Texas Tech with a goal at 89:57. As a key contributor in 2013, LBSU can expect to see big things from Rangel as she gains experience and develops as a player under head coach Mauricio Ingrassia’s leadership.
Extra Extra: The 49ers matched their three conference overtime decisions from 2012 after playing more than ninety minutes versus UC Davis, Hawai‘i and Cal State Fullerton in 2013. After going 0-3-0 in those matches last year, Long Beach finished with draws in all three this season with 1-1, 0-0 and 1-1 finals, respectively.
Homers: The 49ers owned a seven-game unbeaten streak on their home pitch this season before dropping its final home game of the year 2-1 to UC Riverside as the Highlanders clinched the No. 3 seed in the Big West Tournament.
Competitive Edge: UC Davis earned its second highest overall standing in league since the team joined the Big West in 2007. With 10 points in 2013, the Aggies just missed the final available spot in the conference tournament.
Large Showing: Davis’ five all-league recipients is the largest group to receive All-Big West honors since UCD joined the conference.
Vacancies: Senior defender Mary Beth Mazurek earned 2013 first team accolades for her impenetrable defense and leadership from the backline. With her graduation looming, head coach Maryclaire Robinson will look to freshman Nicole Bouvia to anchor the Aggie defense in years to come. Bouvia, who was named to the all-freshman team this season, started 11 of Davis’ 18 contests and appeared in all but one to pace the Aggie freshman class.
Dramatic Double Overtime: Despite taking a 1-0 lead in the 57th minute, the Anteaters missed the Big West championship game after UC Riverside netted the golden goal in the second over time period Thursday.
Solow Sends One Sailing in Goal: Senior Mady Solow ended a 0-0 stalemate in the second half of regulation as she fired a free kick into the upper left corner, just out of the Highlander keeper’s reach, to take a 1-0 Anteater lead in Irvine’s seventh conference tournament game in the last five years. The defender’s goal was her second of the season and the third of her career.
Overtime Talk: Thursday marked Irvine’s first overtime decision all season, unlike the 2012 campaign in which the last five of six games concluded after the regulation 90 minutes. The Anteaters were 1-0-4 in those matches. This is the first OT decision that UCI has dropped since Oct. 5, 2012 to Cal Poly and this is the first time in 14 years that the ’Eaters did not play in any OT games in the regular season.
Big Things For Riverside Program: For the first time since 2005 UC Riverside earned a spot in the Big West Championship game after defeating UC Irvine 2-1 in a double overtime affair Thursday. The Highlanders then finished in a 1-1 tie after 110 minutes of play against Cal State Fullerton, but would not advance to the NCAA Tournament after the Titans edged the Highlanders 2-1 in penalty kicks.
Cunningham is Clutch: With just 3:42 to go in Sunday’s championship match the Titans committed a foul in the box, giving sophomore Tyler Cunningham an opportunity to tie the game. Cunningham converted her PK and extended UCR’s season by 23 minutes. The forward was also the only Highlander to make her PK in the shootout.
Shot Shy: CSF held a 5-0 shot-advantage heading into the second half of the title game, holding Riverside shotless in a half for the first time in 2013. The two teams combined for just three shots during the two OT periods sending the match to PKs.
UC SANTA BARBARA
Beckley Bolsters Offense: Junior Madison Beckley, along with senior Allie Ariniello, led UC Santa Barbara with five goals on the season to rank fifth in the Big West this year. While UCSB graduates key contributor Ariniello, Beckley will likely anchor the Gauchos’ offense in 2014.
Raw Ritter Power: After replacing injured Makenna Henry earlier this season, sophomore goalkeeper Beth Ritter earned the starting role and amassed 1405:24 minutes in 2013. Ritter comes in second in three Big West categories: goals against (12), goals-against average (0.77) and save percentage (.826). The sophomore recorded three clean sheets on the season, a total that ranks seventh in the conference.
Senior Salute: Five seniors closed out their seasons in 2013 including forward Ariniello, defenders Lindsay Gankema, Paige Gankema and Taylor Gehring and goalkeeper Makenna Henry.
All-Star Fujimoto: Junior Tiana Fujimoto nabbed a spot on the All-Big West first team after scoring a team-high 10 goals on the year that ranked second in the conference just behind Cal Poly’s Elise Krieghoff. With seven game-winning goals that tied the Hawai‘i single season record, the Rainbow Wahine were 7-1 this season in which Fujimoto found the back of the net.
Defense Dominates: The Bows posted 8 shutouts in 2013, the second-most in the conference this season, while freshman goalkeeper Monk Berger recorded seven clean sheets to break the UH single-season record. Berger’s efforts in her first campaign with the Warriors earned All-Freshman honors as the Hawai‘i backline allowed the third-fewest goals-against in league at 19.
Friendly Fire: In an offense led by Fujimoto, the Bows led the league in shots per game at 14.6. Cal Poly trailed with 12.8 followed by Cal State Northridge who averaged 12.4 shots per match.