H-SPORTS

Sep 22, 2013 8:20 PM by Chris Giovannetti

Cal Poly comes from behind for dramatic win against Yale

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - Capped by senior forward Mackenzie Pridham's 99th-minute game-winning goal, the Cal Poly men's soccer program scored three times without reply on Sunday afternoon to complete a 3-2 overtime victory against Yale at Alex G. Spanos Stadium.

Trailing 2-0 at halftime, Cal Poly (6-2-0) halved Yale's lead in the 51st minute as senior defender Connor Drechsler headed a free kick from senior forward Chris Bernardi past Bulldogs junior goalkeeper Blake Brown. The goal was the third of Drechsler's career on just his third collegiate shot on target.

The Mustangs registered seven more shot attempts in the second half, including an 85th-minute flurry where freshman forward John Chronopoulos had an attempt blocked before Bernardi saw a shot on goal turned away by Brown. Senior midfielder George Malki and Drechsler then had attempts halted by Brown in successive minutes.

Cal Poly, however, produced the equalizing goal 69 seconds from full time as sophomore winger Chase Minter whipped his team-leading fourth assist into the Yale penalty area from the right edge. Sophomore forward Matt LaGrassa latched on to the pass and headed his fourth goal of 2013 past Brown to deadlock the scoreline.

The Mustangs, who held Yale to just one combined shot on target during the second half and overtime period, then went on to win the match in the 99th, as Bernardi played his third assist of the season up the middle of the park toward Pridham, who buried his team-leading fifth goal of the year from 12 yards out.

"We dug ourselves a hole today by giving away an early goal and then gave away a second on a counter attack," eighth-year Cal Poly head coach Paul Holocher said. "But we kept ourselves level-headed and talked at halftime about having more quality and moving the ball around the entire field to find our chances. We trust in our way of playing and we know that it sometimes takes 90 minutes to reap the rewards. I would rather lose trying to play this way than win in another way. I think our fans appreciate how we get things done as much as the outcome."

Sophomore goalkeeper Wade Hamilton chalked up four saves for Cal Poly, which concluded a five-match home stand by producing its fourth successive victory. Cal Poly's win streak is it's longest since winning five straight from Sept. 2-21, 2012.

Cal Poly has also scored 14 goals during the four-game winning streak - the program's best offensive production over a four-match span since totaling 14 to open the 1995 season.

"I love this team and these young men," Holocher added. "They have a collective warrior mentality that they've grown into. I don't feel I am over-stating things. I would have been equally as proud of them if we had lost today because they showed the effort and the mentality of a champion."

Yale (1-5-0) opened Sunday's scoring in the 19th minute as senior forward Scott Armbrust won a ball in midfield and dribbled on to the Mustang goal before sliding a pass to freshman forward Cameron Kirdzik, who fired past Hamilton near the left post.

The Bulldogs went up 2-0 six-and-a-half minutes later with senior forward Peter Jacobson heading a ball from sophomore forward Avery Schwartz past Hamilton from four yards.

Cal Poly outshot the Bulldogs 19-8 and produced 11 corner kick attempts to Yale's one.

The Mustangs conclude their pre-Big West Conference preparations when visiting Air Force on Friday, Sept. 27 and Denver on Sunday, Sept. 29.

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