Record Breaking Performance
The No. 8 UC Irvine men’s soccer team continued in their dominating season, defeating Cal State Northridge on Wednesday, 2-1. Seniors Corey Attaway and Amani Walker each scored a goal in the second half against Northridge, leading UCI to the come-behind road victory.
UCI trailed CSUN until Attaway headed the equalizing goal in the 60th minute with the ball coming from junior Bello Alhassan’s corner kick. Walker scored the winning goal in the 82nd minute on a one-on-one with the CSUN goalkeeper, the assist coming from sophomore Everett Pitts.
UCI goalkeeper Andrew Fontein recorded six saves. Several Anteaters including Walker, Spencer Thompson, Miguel Ibarra and Fontein rank among the conference leaders in their respective statistic categories.
UCI 7 CSUF 2
Facing their cross-time rivals on Saturday, the Anteaters defeated the Titans in a landslide victory 7-2, improving their record to 12-1-2 overall and 5-0-1 in the Big West.
“We got into a little bit of a rhythm,” head Coach George Kuntz said. “And I’ve told our guys that sometimes we have the great possibility to do incredible things, so for us, it was one of those games where everything was pretty much in sync.”
UCI took first possession and scored three minutes into the game on sophomore midfielder Zach Olow’s breakaway, with an assist from senior forward Spencer Thompson. The goal from Olow was his first of the season.
“[The game was] a team effort and it was a great result as we all played phenomenally,” Olow said.
There were five goals scored by UCI alone in the first half of the game. In the 14th minute, junior defender Jimmy Turner threw the ball in and passed it to Thompson. The forward found some breathing room amidst many CSUF defenders and kicked the ball into the net for the second Anteater goal.
In the 23rd minute, senior defender Joel Bagby netted another goal after CSUF’s defense did not clear the ball after a corner kick. Junior midfielder Brett Berman blasted in a goal 20 yards away with assists coming from junior forward Miguel Ibarra and senior forward Corey Attaway in the 27th minute. Just 10 minutes later, senior forward Amani Walker headed the ball into the net off a corner kick from Ibarra.
In the second half, UCI led 5-0. But Attaway put more pressure of the Titans when he received a pass from junior forward Christian Hernandez and headed it in for the sixth goal of the contest.
After allowing six unanswered goals, CSUF ruined Fontein’s shutout by scoring their first goal in the 66th minute. The ’Eaters applied the final nail in the coffin when senior midfielder Zlatan Kuckovic scored a goal with an assist from freshman forward Christopher Santana.
The Anteaters set a school record by having seven different players score a goal.
CSUN produced the last goal of the game in the 84th minute, bringing the final score to 7-2.
It was freshman goalkeeper Justin Tucker’s UCI career debut, as he substituted for Fontein in the 73rd minute.
“It was his first real game and as a freshman, it’s tough to do that, but I think he did admirably,” Kuntz said. “He saved a penalty kick and four other shots in the game and I was proud of him for that.”
UCI will go on to play UC Riverside at their stadium on Wednesday, Oct. 27 before the big showdown with longtime Big West power and nemesis UC Santa Barbara on Saturday, Oct. 30.