Titans Win Second Straight Big West Tournament Title
Courtesy of Cal State Fullerton Athletics
Connie Caliz and Christina Burkenroad each scored in the first 10 minutes of the match as the Cal State Fullerton women's soccer team clinched its second straight Big West Tournament title with a 2-1 victory over Long Beach State on Sunday afternoon at Alex G. Spanos Stadium.
The Titans (10-7-4), the 2014 Big West regular season and tournament champions, will now make their second straight NCAA Tournament appearance. The NCAA selection show is scheduled for 1:30 p.m., Monday, and can be followed via NCAA.com. Fullerton will also bring a seven-match winning streak and a 10-match unbeaten streak to the NCAA Tournament.
Just 56 seconds into the championship tilt with the Fullerton offense pressing early, junior Rebecca Wilson delivered a cross from the right side, and Caliz was able to one-time her shot into the right side of the net past Long Beach State (8-7-6) goalkeeper Ashton McKeown. The redshirt freshman recorded her fourth goal of the season.
After two more attempts at goal by the Titans, on the third, Burkenroad doubled the Titans' lead. Named the 2014 Big West Tournament's Most Valuable Player, the San Diego, Calif., attacked the Long Beach State defense down the right side before kicking it out to Wilson.
Once again, Wilson served up a cross and Burkenroad found her way to open space to slice a shot past McKeown. The junior midfielder scored her fifth goal of the year as she has scored four goals and added one assist for Fullerton in the last four games. She was also responsible for both of the Titans' game winners at the Big West Tournament.
The 49ers cut that lead in half in the 28th minute as LBSU's leading scorer Ashley Gonzales tallied her ninth goal of the season, beating CSF goalkeeper Jennifer Stuart to the far post after firing a rifle from the top of the left penalty area.
But the most critical juncture of the match was arguably the 49th minute as Burkenroad was whistled for a foul in the box and the 49ers were awarded a penalty kick.
LBSU's Jessica Vincent aimed to the left side, and so did Stuart as the sophomore from Cave Creek, Ariz., made a game-saving diving stop.
Stuart totaled a season-high 10 saves, and the Titans held an 18-16 edge in shots for the day. McKeown finished the match with six saves for the 49ers.
The Titans have now won their second straight Big West Tournament title and will make their second consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. Overall, Cal State won its fifth Big West Tournament championship and the Titans make their sixth overall NCAA Tournament appearance.
LBSU COMPLETE STORY