The No.11 Cal State Fullerton lacrosse club won both its games during Spring Break crushing Occidental College 24-7 and defeating St. Mary’s 14-9.
The wins push the Titans record to 10-2 with the Southwestern Lacrosse Tournament approaching.
“We have a lot of momentum going for us right now,” goalie Ozhan Kashkooli said. “We are really confident.”
The Titans resumed practice over Spring Break after blowing out Occidental to prepare for a non-conference match up with St. Mary’s College at CSUF.
The Gaels were looking for the upset early on as they drew first blood scoring the games first goal off of a fast break.
CSUF responded with two goals, but solid defensive play by St. Mary’s slowed down the Titans offensive attack in the first quarter.
St. Mary’s transition game caught the Titans off-guard and allowed the Gaels to put in a couple of easy goals in the second quarter.
“After we gave up some fluke goals, our defense really tightened up,” Kashkooli said
The Titans tempo picked up when attackmen Mike Ansel, Chasen Cameron and JR Grubert woke up the offense as both teams exchanged goals to end the half 7-7.
Ansel finished with five goals and four assists while Cameron and Grubert each added three goals.
Midfielder Kyle Smith continued his dominant face-off play, in addition to sneaking a fall-away goal, denying the Gaels any fast break advantage for the rest of the game.
CSUF took the lead at the start of the second half netting four goals and never looked back.
The Titans had zero penalties in the first half but made a couple of errors in the second, however, the man-down defense continued it’s solid play this season holding off any extra man opportunity.
Defense would prove to be the answer in the second half with goalie Kashkooli stopping 20 shots and only allowing 9 goals in the game.
“Our defense really stepped up,” long-stick midfielfer Rick Martinez said. “All our credit should go to our defense and it all starts with Ozhan. He played great.”
The defense dominated the ground ball play as defensemen Jordan Michaels, Deron Hansen, Ryne Olson and Martinez were vacuums picking up any opportunity.
“In the second half, we started to do exactly what we practiced and because of that we were able to pull away with the victory,” Smith said.
March 27, the Titans traveled to Los Angeles to take on the Occidental Tigers.
Sophomore goalie Patrick Schwarz got the start in net making 13 saves in the game.
Smith dominated the face offs winning 24-of-28, helping jump start a quick fast break that allowed attackman Ansel to score within the first few seconds of play.
“This was probably one of my best games of the season. I did really well in the face-offs and scored three goals but it was a good overall team effort,” Smith said.
Ansel scored five of his 10 goals in the first period.
The defense roughed up a scrappy Tiger offense holding them to four goals in the first half as the high powered Titan offense continued their onslaught taking a commanding 15-4 lead into the half.
Multiple players found the back of the net for the Titans. Senior attackman Jimmy Lin scored three goals and added four assists while fellow attackman Cameron added two goals and two assists.
The Titan bench saw much action in the second half with attackman Brandon McDonald scoring two goals and sophomore Grubert contributed one goal and one assist.
The midfield unit was relentless with Smith scoring three goals, Jesse Luchansky scoring two goals and two assists and Adam Levoy adding a goal.
“We had a lot of goals from a variety of different players,” Smith said.
CSUF outscored Occidental 9-3 in the second half on their way to victory.
“They are a team in the rebuilding stage and we are a team that is already built,” Ansel said.
With the win the Titans improve to 10-2 overall and are ranked the highest of any team in the Southwestern Lacrosse Conference, getting bumped up to No. 11 in the nation.
The Titans continue this Friday at 7 p.m. at Titan Stadium when they take on the Pepperdine Waves in a conference match up that will determine the seeding in the conference tournament.