Kuntz Brings Cal State Fullerton Back To Old Stomping Grounds
Men's Soccer Weekly Release No. 8
Cal State Fullerton first-year head coach George Kuntz, who spent the previous 19 seasons helping build the UC Irvine program, returns to Anteater Stadium this Saturday in a renewal of the heated Orange County rivalry.
BIG WEST AT A GLANCE
Logjam: The Mustangs sit in a three-way tie for first place in the North Division alongside UC Davis and UC Santa Barbara. With an abbreviated schedule this week, Cal Poly plays its lone game against divisional foe Sacramento State in hopes of creating some separation at the top.
Minter Explodes: After scoring three goals during the season’s opening weekend at Davidson and North Carolina State, Chase Minter had not hit paydirt for nine straight games. Then he notched another split hat trick last weekend, collecting a goal versus UC Riverside and two more against Cal State Fullerton.
Doing A Double Take: It hasn’t happened much recently for the Cal Poly program, but the team absorbed a loss after a multi-goal effort. Cal Poly’s 3-2 loss to CSF on Saturday marked just the second time in 17 occasions that the team lost when scoring more than one goal.
Not That Often: Cal Poly’s loss to CSF marked the third time this season that the team had surrendered multiple goals.
CAL STATE FULLERTON
On A Roll: After an 0-3-2 start, the Titans have found their rhythm under first-year head coach George Kuntz. Following Monday’s 4-0 rout of Pacific, Cal State Fullerton has won seven of its last nine games, having scored 18 goals in those seven wins.
Offense In High Gear: The Titans have scored nine goals over the last three games – UC Santa Barbara, Cal Poly, Pacific – all resulting in wins. This is the first time since Sept. 16-23, 2012 that the Titans have strung together three straight games with multiple goals.
Back On Campus: CSF’s game at UC Irvine Saturday marks the return of Kuntz, who spent 19 years helping build the Anteater program into a national power. Prior to his departure, Kuntz won 80 games over the last six seasons, the most of any Big West program during that same span.
Taking Their Best Shot: CSF has outshot its opponent in 12 consecutive games, including an outlandish 30-4 edge in Monday’s 4-0 win at Pacific. The Titans own a 197-99 shots advantage during that 12-game run.
Turnaround Needed: CSUN was held scoreless last week in a 1-0 loss to Sacramento State and draw against UC Davis. The Matadors are now 0-4-1 in their last five games. The last time CSUN had a five-game winless streak was in 2010.
Goal Drought Continues: The Matadors have scored multiple goals in a game just three times and have netted 11 total so far this season. With six regular season games to go, the Matadors are hoping to avoid the program all-time record for fewest goals in a season – 19 in 2000.
OT A Good Thing: CSUN played in its sixth overtime match of 2014 in Saturday’s scoreless draw against UC Davis. Overtime contests have treated the Matadors well as they are 3-1-2 in such instances.
Sagi Is Due: Senior Sagi Lev-Ari remains the Big West’s goal scoring leader at seven, despite the fact that he is currently on a five-game goalless streak. Lev-Ari is two goals away from becoming the Big West’s fourth career 40 goal scorer.
Big Win: Sacramento State split last week’s Big West games, getting a big 1-0 victory over South Division preseason favorite CSUN. The Hornets also defeated the Matadors on the road in 2012, a 1-0 decision in overtime.
Knack For The Dramatic: Senior Chimdum Mez has notched the game-winning goal in all four Hornet triumphs this season, the most recent success coming in Thursday night’s 1-0 win at CSUN. The forward is tied for second in the Big West with six goals, which is more than half of the team’s total of 10
Just About There: Ten goals through 13 games puts the Hornets well on pace to exceed the 11 accumulated in all of 2013.
Del Curto Records Second Shutout: Redshirt freshman James Del Curto collected his second straight shutout, making eight saves in the win over CSUN. He stopped a Matador penalty kick attempt and turned away three breakaway opportunities to preserve the shutout. Del Curto has made 22 saves in his last three starts.
Ags Tie Record: The Aggies moved to 4-1-8 on the season following Saturday’s scoreless draw against CSUN. The eight ties equal the Big West record for most in a season set by UC Riverside in 2007. UC Davis is one away from the NCAA single-season mark set by Providence in 2005 and matched by St. John’s (2009) and South Florida (2013).
Tie On The Menu: The result against CSUN marked the third scoreless draw of the season for UC Davis, and the ninth overtime match overall. The NCAA record for most overtime contests played in a season is 11, set by Saint Louis in 2003 and equalled by San Diego State in 2009 and UC Davis in 2011.
Big Game Ahead: Tied with two others for first place in the North Division at seven points, the Aggies look to remain in the catbird’s seat with a win against UC Santa Barbara on Saturday. The Aggies won the North Division in 2012.
Defense Reigns Supreme: UC Davis is the Big West leader in goals against average (0.60), and has not allowed an opponent to score more than one goal all season long.
Double-Digits Again: The Anteaters swept Big West foes UC Davis and Sacramento State to reach the 10-win plateau last weekend. UC Irvine has recorded double-digit victories in six of the last seven seasons. UCI is tied for second in the nation in total wins, just one behind Syracuse which leads with 11.
Back Into The Top 10: UCI’s successful Big West foray registered with the voters as the club moved up four spots to No. 7 in the NSCAA/Continental Tire poll. The team has been ranked in the nation’s top 10 in five of the last six weeks.
Breslin Rises Up Charts: Junior goalkeeper Michael Breslin has played every minute in goal for the Anteaters this season, recording a 0.87 goals against average with a .782 save percentage. His 30 career wins is tied for sixth in Big West history, and three away from the fourth spot. With 17 shutouts, Breslin is one shy of entering the league’s career top 10 in that category.
Everyone In On The Act: Six different Anteaters have recorded game-winning goals this season.
Picking Up A Point: UC Riverside picked up an important point in the South Division standings after Saturday’s 1-1 tie against UC Santa Barbara. The Highlanders are currently third in the division with four points.
Mosqueda Gets Into Scoring Column: Senior Ulises Mosqueda delivered the lone Highlander goal on a header in the 17th minute against UCSB. He was the seventh different player to score a goal for UCR this year.
Shot Barrage: The Highlanders have outshot their last two opponents, Cal Poly and UCSB, by a 46-21 count. It’s a clear sign of more aggression from the UCR offense, which ranks sixth overall in the conference in shots taken with 167.
Salazar Still Active: Junior Michael Salazar is tied for third in the Big West with 37 shots taken. He tallied a season-high tying eight attempts against Cal Poly on Friday.
What’s Ahead: After a lone match this week at CSUN, the Highlanders play their next three matches at home, taking on UC Irvine, Cal State Fullerton and CSUN in a rematch.
UC SANTA BARBARA
Disrupted: The 12-game Big West unbeaten streak that UC Santa Barbara carried ended in a 2-0 loss to Cal State Fullerton on Thursday. UCSB rebounded with a 1-1 tie against UC Riverside.
Dismissals: Being two men down after a pair of second half red cards to defender Jeff Quezada and midfielder Dylan Murphy, the Gauchos utilized the first goal of the season from Kevin Garcia-Lopez to salvage a 1-1 tie against UCR. The two red cards were the first two of the season for UCSB.
On The Road: UCSB is in the midst of a four-match roadtrip that includes a non-conference match against Loyola Marymount Tuesday and a Big West encounter with UC Davis Saturday. The Gauchos are 1-2-1 in away games this season.
Berke Takes Control: Freshman goalkeeper Brandon Berke has been the picture of solid since taking over the starting job six games ago. He ranks third in the Big West with a 0.80 goals agaisnt average and fifth with an .808 save percentage. Berke had a season-high tying five saves in his last outing against UCR.