Titans Hold Off Highlanders in Big West Win

Cal State Fullerton Men's soccer gets past UC Riverside, 4-2, in a Big West matchup held on campus at Titan Stadium.

Cal State Fullerton's men's soccer team (5-6-1, 1-3-0) picked up it's first Big West Conference victory as they defeated the UC Riverside Highlanders 4-2 at Titan Stadium on Saturday.

"It's a great relief," said CSUF forward Eugene Brooks. "I think we deserved to win earlier during the year and it just wasn't there. But today we came out, we knew what we had to do, and we weren't going to come off the field without anything else."

CASHING IN - Omar Rodriguez [#17], Eugene Brooks [#13], Gabriel Farfan [#15] and Skyler Thuresson [#9] celebrate after Brooks scored his eighth goal.
Media Credit: Karl Thunman
CASHING IN - Omar Rodriguez [#17], Eugene Brooks [#13], Gabriel Farfan [#15] and Skyler Thuresson [#9] celebrate after Brooks scored his eighth goal.

Two of the Titans' three losses in conference matches came in overtime, one of which was a double-overtime game.

"We were very hungry," CSUF Head Coach Bob Ammann said. "After each and every conference game obviously there was disappointment, but we took some things away from it. We realized that in each of the games we could've won. We very easily could be top of the league right now."

Fullerton midfielder Skyler Thuresson led the Titans with two goals. The first came in the 24th minute as Thuresson fired a pass from Gabriel Farfan.

"I just came out thinking I'm going to do whatever it takes, and if it's scoring two goals, I love it, but just whatever it takes to get the 'W,'" Thuresson said.

Brooks added a goal in the 33rd minute as he got a long pass from Amir Shafii and split the defense to give the Titans a 2-0 advantage.

"It feels good," Brooks said of his league-leading eighth goal. "I wish I could've put away a couple more, I had some easy chances. I just think whatever I can do to help my team, that's all I'm worried about now."

The Highlanders came back in the second half and overcame a 2-0 deficit with goals from Andrew Villalobos in the 55th minute and Michael Galland in the 61st minute.

The scenario was similar to the match between the two teams last season as the Titans had a comfortable 2-0 lead only to have UC Riverside score three times in the final 13 minutes to defeat the Titans 3-2.

That wasn't the case this time as the tie would only last for 16 seconds before Thuresson scored the game winning goal off a header from Brooks to put the Titans ahead 3-2.

"The one thing that Skyler brings is an enormous amount of energy, constantly, and fortunately tonight he was able to put that energy into the back of the net," Ammann said.

Gabriel Farfan added an insurance goal in the 77th minute to put CSUF on top 4-2.

Ammann said that after the tie, scoring another two goals for the victory was "definitely a momentum builder."

The Titans travel to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo on Wednesday.

"It's just like gas for a fire," Thuresson said. "We're hoping we can fuel off this and take it into our next game. We're putting our last three losses behind us and starting fresh." © Copyright 2006 Daily Titan