SACRAMENTO, Calif. - In a mostly defensive game Sacramento State got the only goal when senior Nate Nugen headed in a cross from senior Argenis Ramos in the 74th minute for a 1-0 home win over Cal State Fullerton.
Sacramento State (6-4-1, 2-1-0 Big West) continued its dominant play at home, improving to a 4-0-1 at home this year and 8-2-2 over its last 12 games at Hornet Field. Picked to win the South division in the preseason Big West poll, Cal State Fullerton (5-7-0, 1-2-0 Big West) has now lost four of its last five games.
Both teams had just three shots on goal in the game and Nugen's goal was one of the few good scoring chances that either team had. Less than three minutes after the goal the Hornets were issued a red card and subsequently had to play the last 13 minutes of the game with just 10 men.
"It was an interesting game; I thought the first half was a little slow and lackadaisical," Sacramento State head coach Michael Linenberger. "We talked to our guys at halftime and said it didn't look like a conference game to us. In the second half it heated up on both sides.
"We kept our shape defensively; they got a lot of dangerous situations but didn't get a lot of dangerous shots off those situations so I thought we defended well. We gradually started to come into the game and then we scored and took the red card and had to just hang on."
There was just one shot on goal in the first half and only seven total shots as neither team could get much going offensively. Both teams had some decent looks early in the second half, and two minutes after the Titans were issued consecutive yellow cards the goal came as Ramos had a break to the left of the Fullerton box and connected with Nugen on a cross in front of the goal mouth.
Nugen had another good look in the 76th minute but missed just wide. The red came a minute later and Cal State Fullerton created two shots on goal and a corner kick in the remaining time but Hornet goalkeeper James Del Curto made a pair of saves to finish the win.
Del Curto, a two-time Big West Defensive Player of the Week this season, finished with three saves for his second shutout of the year. The Hornets ended with a 10-8 overall shot advantage while the Titans were 6-4 on corners. Cal State Fullerton was issued five yellow cards in the game with four coming in the second half.
Sacramento State concludes interdivision Big West play on Saturday hosting UC Riverside at 3 p.m. The Highlanders remained undefeated in the Big West with a 2-1 win on Thursday at UC Davis, improving to 7-4-1 overall and 2-0-1 in conference.