Seventh-ranked UC Irvine edged out Cal State Fullerton last Saturday night at Anteater Stadium in a 1-0 contest. The win improved the Anteater’s record to 11-1-2 on the season and 3-1-1 within the Big West, good enough for first in their conference.
The only goal of the game was knocked in by fourth-year defenseman Bryan Breslin, who scored off a perfectly executed corner kick assist by Gor Kirakosyan in the 72nd minute. The goal was Breslin’s first of the season and Kirakosyan’s fourth assist of the season, which puts him tied for third in the Big West in scoring. Breslin now has three goals in his collegiate career and two of those have turned out to be game-winners for UCI.
The shutout was the fifth of the season for the Anteaters goalkeeper and continued Michael Breslin’s current shutout streak to 270 minutes. Coming off being named Big West defensive player of the week, he also extended his spectacular play at home as this shutout improved his home scoreless streak to 800 minutes dating back to last season.
The matchup was tightly contested through both halves, where the Titans had ample amount of chances but were stopped short by the precision of the Anteater’s defense and goalkeeping. The ‘Eaters were able to slow down the attack of the Titans after the 60th minute and were able to hold the Titans to four shots on goal despite being giving up six corner kicks.
The ‘Eaters had multiple opportunities to put the Titans away late in the game, but three scoring chances by UCI’s scoring leader, Eduardo Calzada, were denied by the Titans’ defense and goalkeeper, Jeff Salt.
The Anteaters kept their composure as tension built; the game advanced and both teams received three yellow cards each and the match had its fair share of pushing and shoving between the two teams. The Titans appeared to suffer the most from these scuffles as they committed more penalties and more offsides than the ‘Eaters, which limited their chances.
The win meant UC Irvine has now had double digit wins in six of the past seven seasons. With their current hot streak, the ‘Eaters have outscored their opponents 4-0 in the past three games. The ‘Eaters have a short week ahead as they travel to UC Riverside on Wednesday for another conference road game before heading back home Saturday night to take on Cal State Northridge. The ‘Eaters look to build off their strong play as of late and look to continue to climb up the national ranks, as they currently sit at seventh among Division I teams.