'Eaters clinch crown

FULLERTON — The UC Irvine men's soccer team clinched the Big West Conference regular-season championship with a 3-1 win at Cal State Fullerton Saturday.

The win gives No. 7-ranked UCI (14-2-3, 7-1-2 in conference) the No. 1 seed in the four-team conference tournament that begins Wednesday. UCI, which has won the last two Big West Tournament titles, will play host to Cal State Fullerton in a 7 p.m. semifinal.

UCI senior Joel Bagby scored an unassisted goal in the 43rd minute to erase a 1-0 deficit to the Titans (6-11-2, 4-6).

Freshman Christopher Santana scored his first goal of the season, with an assist from senior defender Corey Attaway, to put the Anteaters ahead for good in the 49th minute.

Senior Amani Walker posted his team-leading 11th goal in the 71st minute, with an assist from junior Brett Berman to help Coach George Kuntz's squad claim its second Big West regular-season crown in three seasons.

Junior Andrew Fontein had two saves as the Anteaters posted a 21-8 advantage in shots.

UCI needed the victory to remain one point ahead of second-place UC Santa Barbara, which defeated UC Riverside, 2-0, Saturday to earn the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament. The Gauchos will play host to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in the other semifinal Wednesday night.

The Big West Tournament final is scheduled Saturday at the home site of the highest remaining seed.

UCI, which has defeated UCSB in each of the last two conference tournament title matches, is aiming for its third straight berth into the NCAA Tournament.

— From staff reports

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