Oct 20, 2013 7:34 PM by Donovan Aird
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - The Cal Poly women's soccer team tallied all of its goals in the first half Sunday afternoon, as the Mustangs held on to sole possession of first place in the Big West Conference standings by defeating UC Riverside 3-1 in Alex G. Spanos Stadium.
The Mustangs (5-1-0 Big West, 9-7-0 overall) came into the day alone atop the conference table, with 12 points, and claimed three more to up the total to 15. A trio of teams - UC Santa Barbara and UC Irvine, in addition to the Highlanders - began Friday bunched-together in a second-place tie by virtue of accruing nine points each. The Gauchos will try to stay within a one-match striking distance of the Mustangs when they play at Cal State Fullerton at 6 tonight.
Megan Abutin opened the scoring Friday in the 32nd minute by heading in a ricocheted ball that had been placed in the middle of the box on a corner kick by senior midfielder Haley Walker.
In the ensuing minute, Walker threaded a pass up to freshman forward Kendra Bonsall, who blasted a strike from the perimeter of the penalty area into the back-right portion of the net.
Then in the 40th minute, Abutin sent a cross in from the left side to forward Elise Krieghoff, who fired a nearly point-blank shot that bounced off the bottom of the crossbar before arcing in for an insurance goal.
The three goals represented a first-half season-high for the Mustangs.
The flurry of offense involving Abutin and Bonsall continued a trend from last week's pair of matches, when Abutin earned conference offensive player of the week honors after producing two goals, while Bonsall posted a goal of her own and an assist, during a four-day venture to Cal State Northridge (a 1-0 Mustang win) and Hawai'i (a 3-2 double-overtime victory).
UC Riverside (3-3-0 Big West, 6-10-1 overall) prevented the shutout in the second half, as Sammy Arellano took advantage of a rebound about 8 yards out by shooting into the upper-right corner for her third goal of the season. The two teams finished the day with an even 14-14 margin in the overall shots column.
Alyssa Giannetti made seven saves in the win. The sophomore incurred just one defeat at home all of this year between the posts, and now holds a 9-0-0 record this season in games in which her side got on the board first.
For Krieghoff, the goal was her 18th of the season, increasing the sophomore's ongoing single-season school record. She came into the game ranked second in the country in total goals, but is now tied with Illinois junior Jannelle Flaws for the national lead again. Flaws, who reached 18 with a hat trick earlier this week, was held scoreless Sunday.
Before the start of the match, a class of eight Cal Poly seniors was honored on Senior Day, as Cristina Farrington, Braelyn Fetsch, Brittainy Gebo, Kacey Held, Amanda Turini, Walker, Jordyn Zander and Andrea Zimkowski all took the pitch at home for the last time.
If UCSB can leave Orange County with a victory this evening, it would set up a battle with first place on the line next week; Cal Poly will travel to face the Gauchos for a Blue-Green Rivalry showdown slated for a 7 p.m. start Friday. (After that, Cal Poly will visit UC Davis for the regular-season finale at 2 p.m. Oct. 31.)
The top four teams in the regular-season standings will be seeded into the Big West Tournament semifinals, which will be held Nov. 7 at Titan Stadium in Fullerton.
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