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Cal Poly men’s soccer prepares for Sunday’s Blue-Green rivalry

Posted at 1:23 PM, Sep 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-27 22:00:57-04

The Cal Poly men’s soccer program completes Big West Conference preparations and plays its first non-conference match versus UC Santa Barbara in 19 years when the Mustangs open the 2018 Blue-Green rivalry series versus the Gauchos on Sunday, Sept. 30. Kickoff is 7 p.m. for a matchup that has sold out all 11,075 seats at Alex G. Spanos Stadium for the past seven seasons. Overall, the 12 meetings between Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara during the previous six seasons are the 12 highest attended collegiate soccer matches in the nation. The 2018 series opener features two of the nation’s stingiest defenses with Cal Poly (3-4-1) ranking 13th among 205 NCAA Division I programs at 5.38 saves per match and UC Santa Barbara (6-3-0) sitting 45th with just eight goals conceded in nine matches. Cal Poly enters the matchup on an eight-day break after topping Westmont inside Spanos Stadium, 2-0 (Sept. 22). UC Santa Barbara, meanwhile, comes into the matchup having won four of its last five after edging Gonzaga on Tuesday, 2-1.

POINTS (NOT) ON OFFER: With the Big West reverting to an eight-team, single-table standings format in 2018 (moving away from the four-team, two-division format in place from 2012-17), each program will play the remaining seven sides just once (on a home-and-home basis, rotating each season). The new format means no points are on offer Sunday. The countable game in the Big West standings between the two programs occurs during the regular season finale at UC Santa Barbara on Saturday, Oct. 27.

CAL POLY VERSUS UC SANTA BARBARA: Following Cal Poly’s 4-1 home victory against UC Santa Barbara to close the 2018 regular season – the first time in 16 years either side had scored four goals versus the other and the first time in 15 years a game in the series had been decided by at least three goals – the Mustangs are undefeated versus the Gauchos inside Spanos Stadium in seven of the last nine years. In six matchups versus UC Santa Barbara under fourth-year head coach Steve Sampson, Cal Poly maintains a 2-1-3 record. UC Santa Barbara, however, leads the all-time series, 25-14-8.

CENTRAL COAST SERIES A TIGHTLY CONTESTED AFFAIR: Eighteen of the last 21 matches between Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara have been decided by one goal or drawn. Six of Cal Poly’s seven victories in the last 26 attempts against UC Santa Barbara has been a one-goal triumph. Twelve of those 26 matches since 2006 have gone to overtime. Just three times since 2007 has one side scored as many as three goals against the other (Cal Poly’s 4-1 home victory versus the Gauchos to close 2017 marked the first time since Nov. 9, 2001 that once team had put four goals past the other). The Mustangs are undefeated at home against the Gauchos in seven of the last nine years while UC Santa Barbara has lost just once at home to Cal Poly in the last 20 matchups at Harder Stadium.

CAL POLY-UC SANTA BARBARA SERIES REMAINS THE CENTRAL COAST’S TOP DRAW: The best-attended sporting events annually in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties, the Cal Poly-UC Santa Barbara series has drawn 20 of the top 53 regular season crowd figures in NCAA history with all matches occurring during the previous 11 seasons. The matchup inside Spanos Stadium has sold out all 11,075 seats for the past seven seasons – a figure that marks the 14th largest regular season crowd figure in NCAA history. The 12 combined matches between Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara during the last six years are the 12 highest attended collegiate soccer games in the United States, outranking every NCAA Championship and College Cup contest since the beginning of the 2012 season. Since the start of the 2007 season, 234,077 total spectators and an average of 9,753 fans per match have witnessed Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara clash on 24 occasions.

GOLDEN GLOVES: Buoyed by season high nine-save performances at Seattle (Aug. 31) and at Saint Mary’s (Sept. 9), senior goalkeeper Simon Boehme enters Cal Poly’s Sunday matchup versus UC Santa Barbara ranked 13th among NCAA Division I players with 38 total saves and 24th with 4.75 save per game. With a pair of shutouts in his last three outings, Boehme has conceded just two goals in the past 295 minutes. On pace to become one of the most accomplished goalkeepers in Cal Poly program history, Boehme ranks third all-time in save percentage (.773) and fifth in goals against average (1.36).

SPREAD THE WEALTH: Cal Poly’s opening eight matches have elicited seven different goalscorers. Following sophomore midfielder Emmanuel Perez’s two-goal effort in Cal Poly’s Aug. 24 season-opening victory versus Fresno Pacific, senior forward Sean Goode’s double at CSU Bakersfield (Sept. 15) allowed the Mustangs to become one of only two Big West programs (alongside CSUN) to feature two players with multi-goal matches. Goode, who also scored versus Westmont (Sept. 22), ranks seventh among Big West players with 17 shot attempts and 10th with three goals. Also scoring their first career goals for Cal Poly versus Fresno Pacific were junior forward Diego Alonso and sophomore defender Addison Parrish. Junior forward George Grote scored his first goal in three seasons during the program’s 2-1 loss at Seattle (Aug. 31) while junior defender Eddie Melgoza found the back of the net for the only time in 25 career appearances during a 2-1 loss at Portland (Sept. 3). Cal Poly’s most recent goalscorer, freshman defender Brecc Evans, contributed the second strike in the 2-0 victory versus Westmont.

RIVERA LIFTS CAL POLY OVER THE LINE: With a two-assist performance in Cal Poly’s 2-0 victory against Westmont, senior midfielder Jose Rivera – who contributed the program’s 27th multi-assist match in the Division I era – now ranks fifth among Big West players with a team leading three assists.

HOME IS WHERE THE WINS ARE: Cal Poly enters its Sept. 30 match versus UC Santa Barbara unbeaten in 21 of its last 27 home matches at Alex G. Spanos Stadium. Overall, Cal Poly is 64-25-16 since the venue’s 2007 opening. During the last 12 seasons, the Mustangs have recorded 32 shutout victories at home while Cal Poly’s goalkeepers have kept 39 clean sheets. Additionally, Cal Poly has drawn 1,000-plus spectators during 69 of 105 (65.7 percent) matches at Spanos Stadium and sold out the 11,075-capacity complex eight times.

SPANOS STADIUM – WHERE ATTENDANCE RECORDS ARE RETIRED: Thirteen of the top 54 (24.1 percent) best attended regular season matches in the history of collegiate soccer have occurred at Alex G. Spanos Stadium and all have been recorded since the start of the 2007 season. In total, Cal Poly has been involved in 20 of the top 54 (37.0 percent) best-attended regular season matches in collegiate soccer history.

ETC.: Cal Poly improved to 15-9-0 in season-opening matches at the Division I level with its 4-1 decision versus Fresno Pacific (Aug. 24).

Provided by Cal Poly