Cal State Fullerton Travels To Pacific For NCAA Tournament
2017 NCAA Men's Soccer Tournament Bracket
Men's Soccer Release No. 13
Making its third NCAA postseason appearance in four years, Big West men’s soccer tournament champion Cal State Fullerton will travel to Pacific for a first round game on Thursday.
The Titans earned their third conference tournament title in school history on Saturday, defeating UC Davis in penalty kicks, 4-3, after playing 110 minutes of scoreless soccer. CSF is in the NCAA Tournament for the third time in George Kuntz’s four-year Titan coaching tenure.
It represents the fourth time the Titans will participate in the NCAA Tournament as a Big West member – and the 10th overall appearance in program history.
The Titans (10-7-4) have won at least 10 games for four straight seasons. They posted a 4-4-2 conference record to share the Big West South Division championship with CSUN.
CSF advanced past UC Riverside and UC Davis in the Big West tourney.
The Titans are 1-1 against this year’s NCAA Tournament field, losing at Clemson in the season opener and defeating San Francisco midway through the non-conference schedule.
CSF is 1-1 all-time against Pacific (12-4-1). The two teams have never met in the NCAA’s.
The winner will face No. 9 national seed Stanford (15-2-1) on Sunday at 5:00 p.m. in Palo Alto.
Cal State Fullerton Returns To NCAA Tournament
Cal State Fullerton is back in the NCAA Tournament for the third time in the four-year head coaching tenure of George Kuntz. The Titans won their third Big West Tournament title on Saturday, advancing past UC Davis in penalty kicks after battling to a scoreless draw through 110 minutes.
This represents the fourth NCAA appearance for the Titans as a Big West member and the 10th overall as a Division I program. CSF’s appearances as a PCAA/Big West member occurred in 1986, 2014 and 2015. CSF was a member of the Southern California Intercollegiate Soccer Association in 1975, and the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation in 1993, 1994, 1996, 1998 and 2000.
CSF is 0-3 in the NCAA’s as a Big West participant and 7-5-1 for all other appearances.
More Tourney History
The most successful NCAA Tournament forays for Cal State Fullerton occurred in 1993 and 1994. The Titans reached the Final Four in 1993 with current CSF women’s soccer head coach Demian Brown a key piece on that team. They also won a pair of games in the 1994 tournament before falling to Indiana in the quarterfinals.
The Kuntz Factor
Cal State Fullerton head coach George Kuntz has enjoyed a run of success in the Big West Tournament that would difficult to duplicate on any level. He just succeeded in winning his seventh championship in the 10-year history of the event. Kuntz captured his third crown (2014, 2015, 2017) with the Titans, and previously he had won four titles with rival UC Irvine (2008, 2009, 2011, 2013). He is an incredible 14-2-3 all-time in Big West Tournament contests.
Big West Successes
The Big West typically has fared well in the NCAA Tournament. Since 2002, the conference has recorded at least one NCAA victory in 13 of 15 tournaments. UC Santa Barbara reached the national final in 2004 and won the national championship in 2006. A team has advanced at least to the Sweet 16 on 11 different occasions since 2002.
Cal State Fullerton owns the Big West’s longest current streak for consecutive double-digit win seasons at four. The Titans are 43-32-15 over that span, with the 43 wins the most of any Big West program. Over that stretch, the Titans have also captured two Big West South Division crowns, including an outright title in 2015.
Key To Victory
Cal State Fullerton is 6-1-0 this season when scoring two or more goals in a match.
Juniors Samuel Goni and Ross McPhie have combined to score 16 of CSF’s 26 goals this season, or 61.5 percent of the total offense. Goni ranks No. 3 in the Big West with nine goals, and he has at least one goal in six of his last nine appearances.
• The South Division has maintained a complete level of dominance over the North Division in terms of Big West Tournament titles. Cal State Fullerton’s rise to the championship gave the South its sixth crown in six tries. The No. 1 seed from the south has captured the title in five of those six years.
• Big West teams are 7-5-0 all-time against Pacific since the Tigers began their men’s soccer program in 2014. Cal State Fullerton is 1-1 against the Tigers, winning 4-0 in 2014 and losing 2-0 in 2016.
• The Big West Tournament championship game was decided by penalty kicks for the second time in history. Cal State Fullerton has been involved in both shootouts, and came out on top both times. The Titans defeated UC Irvine, 3-2, in PK’s in the 2014 final. CSF made all four of its attempts against UC Davis, and backup goalkeeper Alfredo Cortez stopped the last two Aggie attempts to help the Titans win the PK battle, 4-3, in this year’s final.
• The last four Big West Tournament Most Valuable Players have all been goalies. Cal State Fullerton juniors Jeff Salt (2014) and David Rodriguez Elias (2015) started the trend, which continued in 2016 with CSUN senior Kevin Marquez. Titan sophomore Paul-Andre Guerin made six stops in the final, including one in the waning seconds of regulation on a dangerous header, and contributed in the penalty kick shootout with a conversion on the third shot.