After starting with an early lead, the Cal Poly men’s soccer team was overwhelmed by UC Davis, leading to a 2-1 loss at Alex G. Spanos Stadium Oct. 25. The game-deciding point came on an own-goal.
Seventeen minutes into the match, Cal Poly scored their first and only goal of the night when senior defender Adam Olsen headed the ball into the net after an assist from graduate midfielder Alex Sanchez.
The Mustangs managed to put together solid play for most of the game, but at the end of each half, their mental focus slipped. The distracted play allowed the Aggies to tie the game with just two minutes left in the first half. Redshirt freshman goalkeeper Jason Hernandez blocked the first shot, but the ball ricocheted to another UC Davis player who knocked it in for the score.
“I got the first shot, I deflected, the guy hit it the first time, it hit my hip, and I lost the ball after that and I think they got another shot,” Hernandez said.
The second goal came 84 minutes into the game. A UC Davis player shot the ball and missed, but the ball bounced off senior defender Tony Scimeca and into the net for an own-goal.
“We play really, really strong for 20, 25, sometimes even 30 minutes, and then one or two or even three individuals might have just a little bit of lapse of concentration or not track their man back,” head coach Steve Sampson said. “Good teams will take advantage of that.”
Olsen said a lot of the team’s struggles come down to experience and that these issues will get better as the team spends more time on the field.
“I think it’s kind of been the same thing all year, it’s like a maturity thing,” Olsen said. “As the team grows each year, as guys return and return it will be better.”
Sampson believes the team will be even better next year.
“I’m really excited about this team for the future,” Sampson said. “The freshman class, the sophomore class, they’re truly exceptional. We’ve had some junior college transfers that have come on and they’ve done quite well.”
Although the Mustangs are already eliminated from the playoffs, they came out with a 4-1 win against UC Santa Barbara Oct. 28.
“The last thing we want to do is let them win on Spanos,” Sampson said before the game. “There will be no shortage of effort on Saturday night for the Cal Poly boys.”