After two losses, men’s soccer bounces back with 2-1 win over Cal State Fullerton


Connor Clark

Jamar Ricketts, right, sprints after the ball during the game against California State University, Fullerton in Northridge, Calif. on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021.

Bryan Hernandez, Reporter

Seeking a much needed win, CSUN toppled Big West Conference opponent California State University, Fullerton 2-1 at home Wednesday night.

Forwards Jamar Ricketts and Jordan Isibor each found the back of the net for CSUN after being unable to score in the previous two losses to University of California, Riverside and University of California, Davis.

The Matadors pressed early on into the match to convert two consecutive goals, each six minutes apart, in the first half. Throughout the match, CSUN’s high press found CSUF’s weakness on the left and were quick on the counter, giving the Titans no room to breathe at times.

“I would say that the biggest thing that I liked is that we showed a little bit more maturity about our fouling,” CSUN head coach Terry Davila said. “We showed a little bit of character by beating the team that beat [UC] Davis a couple of weeks ago.”

The referee awarded a controversial penalty to CSUF during a Titans corner in the 20th minute. Midfielder Sebastian Cruz converted the penalty to give the Titans their only goal of the night.

There was a new goalkeeper between CSUN’s goalposts after regular season starter David Preys picked up an injury in the previous match against UC Davis.

Making his Big West debut, freshman goalkeeper Cooper Wenzel had a busy night coming up with three superb saves from the Titans’ 19 shot attempts at goal.

“I’m just out here to do what I can,” Wenzel said. “I’m young. I got a lot more years ahead. If I’m going to play I’m going to play and try my best.”

CSUN attacked in a wide 4-2-3-1 formation. This system positioned the Matadors with four defenders, two holding midfielders in front of the centerbacks, two wide players on the wing, an attacking midfielder behind the forward and a lone striker on top.

In the sixth minute, Ricketts entered the Titans’ box on the left and released a low cross into the penalty area as he was being pulled by a CSUF defender.

Ricketts’ low cross found Jordan Isibor, who then flicked the ball high near Titans goalkeeper Andrea Bonavia’s left post. Bonavia was unable to react as he saw the ball looping into the net.

“Coming into this week’s practice we had to definitely step it up. That loss to [UC Davis] really hurt us,” Isibor said. “So, coming into this week our focus was really really high and our coach was telling us to just ‘press, press, press.”

Isibor now tallies two goals and one assist over five matches played this season.

On the left wing, Ricketts provided CSUN with pace and agility, giving CSUF players a hard time trying to defend him.

CSUN’s high press inside Titans’ territory paid off in the 12th minute when midfielder John Andersen, who was positioned at right-back, won the ball and passed toward midfielder Arturo Reveles who then released a shot toward the CSUF goalkeeper’s left post.

The shot was deflected away toward the right of the Titans’ penalty box as Ricketts raced to convert the loose ball into the net to give Matadors a comfortable 2-0 lead.

Ricketts recorded four shots attempts at goal with three going on target. The forward now has two goals and two assists under his belt this season.

CSUN leapfrogged CSUF in the Big West standings and are now 2-4-1 in conference play (3-12-1 overall).

With two regular season matches left after tonight’s win, there is much work to do if CSUN hopes to reach the Big West tournament.

CSUN travels to University of California, Irvine on Sunday. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.