The Canisius College men's soccer team cruised to a 4-2 win over Cal State Fullerton in the UNLV Nike Invitational in Las Vegas on Friday night, establishing a new school record with its fifth-straight victory. The Griffs continue their best start in program history and improve to 5-0-2 in 2012, while the Titans drop to 1-6-0.
"I didn't think we played our best game of the season tonight but we continue to be dangerous in front of goal," said Canisius head coach Dermot McGrane. "As long as we keep scoring, we'll keep finding a way to come out on top and continue our winning streak."
The Griffs' fifth-straight win tops the previous record by the program of four, set during the 1980 campaign. Canisius also extended the team's longest-ever unbeaten streak to seven games.
The reigning two-time MAAC Offensive Player of the Week, senior Gavin Falconer led the Griffs with two tallies in the winning effort, while senior Paul Klopfer and sophomore Denver Spearman also added a goal.
Senior netminder Kareem Gray recorded five saves to earn his fifth win of the 2012 campaign.
Falconer continued his hot streak right from the start, scoring in the game's seventh minute for the early 1-0 advantage. From the baseline, Spearman fed the ball to the senior and Falconer blasted a shot into the top of the goal for a lead the Griffs would not relinquish. Senior Regan Steele registered his first of two assists on the night on the goal.
The score remained 1-0 until the 51st minute, when the Griffs netted three goals in just over 11 minutes of play to take a commanding 4-0 advantage. Falconer extended the Canisius lead to two with his second goal of the game and sixth of the season, scoring on a long free kick to open the contest up.
Klopfer then followed with his second tally of the year in the game's 60th minute. The senior scored from 12 yards out off a pass from Steele for a 3-0 lead. Senior Jared Ott also registered an assist on Klopfer's first career game-winning tally.
Spearman quickly stretched the Griffs lead to four, netting his second tally of the campaign just two minutes following Klopfer's goal. The sophomore stole the ball in the Titans' defensive zone and then finished from close range for the commanding 4-0 lead.
The Titans cut their deficit in half with goals in the 65th and 80th minutes but it was too late as the Griffs clinched the longest winning streak in the program's history with the 4-2 victory.
Cal State Fullerton finished the game with a 16-9 advantage in shots and a 6-3 edge in corner kicks. Adam Zepeda took the loss in net for the Titans with two saves on the night.
Canisius continues play at the UNLV Nike Invitational on Sunday, playing the host Rebels. Game time is set for 4 p.m. ET.
Game Notes: Falconer is the first Griff to record multiple goals in consecutive games since Alan McGreal accomplished the feat against Manhattan and Rider during the 2009 campaign ... With their fifth victory of the 2012 campaign, Canisius has now surpassed its win total from 2011 (four) ... The Griffs have also netted 16 goals in just seven games this season, one more than the 15 scored in 19 games last year ... Canisius has netted four goals in three of its last five games. The Griffs had tallied four goals twice in their previous 67 games before the stretch ... The two schools were meeting for the first time on the soccer pitch.