November 18, 1994 |
The sign hanging in the Cal State Fullerton student food court isn't much, just a plain white rectangle bearing a simple message in blue block letters--"Congratulations Titan Soccer." But it's there. Saturday night's first-round NCAA soccer playoff game between Fullerton and the University of San Diego at Titan Stadium isn't expected to draw much, maybe 2,000, meaning 8,000 bleacher seats won't be occupied. But it's there.
October 30, 1994 |
The night belonged to Al Mistri, coach of the underfunded, underfed and underappreciated Cal State Fullerton soccer team that jumps up every so often and chomps the nation's No. 1 team--Indiana, on this occasion--right on the shin bone. This was Mistri's not-ready-for-ESPN moment, but his moment nonetheless. It isn't often Fullerton beats the No. 1 team in the country in anything, so Mistri should have been pumping fists, slapping five, bouncing off walls, howling at the moon.
December 1, 1993 |
Yes, there is life after football at Cal State Fullerton, and it begins with a bouncing ball of a soccer coach named Al Mistri. Remember how the football fetishists wailed at the gates of Titan Stadium last fall? Oh, what have we done, throwing away $10 million on a 10,000-seat white elephant? Whatever shall we do now to pass the autumn months without our weekly fix of 48-7 pastings? It was a most harrowing mystery, but that was before Mistri.
November 26, 1993 |
Let's start with a story. It is 1985 and the Pacific Coast Athletic Assn. men's soccer ranks belong to a select few. "It was very difficult to schedule," said Al Mistri, Cal State Fullerton men's soccer coach then and now. "Everyone wants you to come to their place. Nobody wants to come here. At a league meeting, I was one of only two coaches who said we should play home and away series with league opponents. It would force some guys to come to our place.
October 20, 1987 |
A week ago, after losing two overtime matches to Pacific Coast Athletic Assn. opponents in one weekend, Al Mistri, Cal State Fullerton soccer coach, told his team that even one defeat in the season's final eight contests would be too many. "The remaining games--it's just do or die for every single one of them," Mistri told the Titans after losses to UC Santa Barbara and UC Irvine. One week later, and so far, so good.