Oct 30, 2012 7:58 PM by Andrew Masuda

Cal Poly women's soccer prepares for Big West Conference semifinals

The Cal Poly women's soccer team will make its first appearance in the Big West Conference Tournament in three years on Thursday. The Mustangs, who are seeded third, battle second seeded Cal State Northridge in the semifinals. The two squads finished tied for second in the regular season at 6-1-2 in conference.

The Matadors and Mustangs played to a 2-2 draw less than two weeks ago in Spanos Stadium. Cal Poly scored two early goals, but allowed CSUN to tie it in the final minute of regulation. Santa Maria native Marisa Miller assisted on both CSUN goals.

The Mustangs will rely on their potent offense led by freshman Elise Krieghoff, who leads the conference with 11 goals. St. Joseph High grad Sara Epps, a redshirt freshman, is tenth in the conference in total points with 4 goals and 4 assists.

Head coach Alex Crozier says his team needs to clean up on both ends of the field to make a run at a championship. "We just need to defend a little better because we have given up quite a few goals this year. And if we do that, pressure the ball a little higher, win it a little higher, hopefully it will give us more chances to score early. In the last couple of conference games we haven't played as well as we could have. So there's a little bit of hunger there," said Crozier.

The Mustangs play at 5 pm Thursday at UC Irvine. Regular season champion Cal State Fullerton, the top seed, plays host UC Irvine, the fourth seed in the other semifinal at 7:30 pm.

The winners advance to the Championship game at 1pm on Sunday for an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.

The Mustangs last won a conference tournament when they won back-to-back in 2003 and 2004. Cal Poly lost to rival UCSB in penalty kicks in the 2009 championship game.



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