The Hornets (6-4-1, 3-0 Big West) won their fourth straight game and remained undefeated and in first place through three games in their first season in the Big West Conference. The Titans (4-8-1, 0-2-1) scored late but couldn't rally for their first league win in 2012.
It didn't take long for the red-hot Hornets to score on Friday night as Nugen tallied his first career goal 42 seconds into the game. Isaac Ikyurav beat his defender down the touch line and then tapped a cross into the box where Nugen rifled a one-touch shot hard into the net.
Ikyurav, who was named Big West Conference Offensive Player of the Week and selected to the Soccer America Men's National Team of the Week following a game-winning goal and game-winning assist last weekend at UC Irvine and CSU Northridge, respectively, tallied a point for the fifth straight game with his early assist on Friday. The junior from Benue, Nigeria, has accumulated three goals and three assists in that span.
Sacramento State went up 2-0 in the 21st minute when Gabe Silveira and Alex Lopez connected with Chris Sandoval. Sandoval took a short cross near the top of the box and fired low and to the left for his fourth goal of the season. Sandoval is now tied with Silviera for the team-lead in goals (4) and tied with Ikyurav for the team-lead in points (10).
The Hornets carried their two-goal lead into the second half, when the game started to get very chippy. There were seven yellow cards issued in the second half (eight total) and 24 total fouls (12 each) were whistled after halftime.
Through the physical play, CSU Fullerton's Andrew Afla was able to head home a cross from Gerzon Blanco in the 82nd minute to make it a one-goal game but the Titans couldn't finish off the rally.
Overall in the game, Sacramento State had a 15-12 lead in shots and 5-4 advantage on corner kicks. Sacramento State keeper Bryan Oliver made six saves while allowing just his second goal through three Big West games. The senior has a 0.64 goals against average against Big West foes with 17 saves and one shutout.
Sacramento State will welcome another Big West opponent to Hornet Field this weekend when UC Riverside visits on Sunday for a 1 p.m. start time.