Cal Poly Women’s Soccer ended their season with a 1-1 draw against Blue-Green rival UC Santa Barbara inside Alex G. Spanos Stadium on Oct. 28.
The game concluded the Mustangs’ 19 match season, leaving the program with a 2-12-5 overall record. In the Big West Conference, Cal Poly (2-4-2 Big West) finished in seventh place with seven points, failing to qualify for the Big West Tournament beginning on Nov. 1.
UC Santa Barbara (12-6-1, 5-2-1) would have clinched the Big West Conference championship title with a win over Cal Poly, but landed in second place behind Long Beach State (10-5-3, 5-1-2 Big West) as a result of the draw.
The Mustangs dominated the first half of the game, totaling seven shots on UC Santa Barbara goalkeeper Hanna DeWeese. The best chance for the Mustangs came from a corner kick by senior defender Stephanie Magellan. The cross into the box was redirected off the head of freshmen defender Ava McCray , forcing DeWeese to make a diving save in the 24th minute to keep the game scoreless. McCray registered another two shots against DeWeese before the end of the half.
Two minutes into the second half, the Gauchos broke the 0-0 deadlock with a goal from freshman midfielder Hannah Wendelken. The goal, which was Wendelken’s first of the season, came as a result of a cross into the box by UC Santa Barbara junior Katherine Sheehy.
However, the Mustangs quickly halted the Gauchos’ momentum when freshman forward Mackenzie George scored an equalizer three minutes later.
George picked up the ball at the midfield line and made a solo run through four different UC Santa Barbara players before firing the ball past DeWeese for her second career goal for Cal Poly.
“When I had the ball, it kind of just went by in a minute, so I didn’t really think about it,” George said. “But after, it was the greatest feeling. It’s always a great feeling being able to equalize [the game].”
Cal Poly goalkeeper Sophia Brown was called on to make a save in the 84th minute off a shot from Gaucho midfielder Shaelan Murison. Brown registered six saves in the game, bringing her total for the season to 113.
The Mustangs came into the first period of overtime on the attack and had chances in the 91st and 98th minutes, but failed to capitalize on them. With momentum on Cal Poly’s side, the Mustangs continued their attack into double-overtime, with two more chances in the final 10 minutes of their season.
With just over 60 seconds left in the match, senior midfielder Kelly Kessloff took a chance from 25 yards out and drove a low shot across the box towards the far post. The power on the shot was too much for DeWeese to control as she deflected the ball back into the feet of senior defender Ashley Kirchick, who struck the ball into the net for what seemed to be the late golden-goal.
Cal Poly players began to rush the field to celebrate, only to realize the goal had been called back due to Kirchick being offsides on the play.
The draw against the two teams is the third consecutive Blue-Green Rivalry match to end with a score of 1-1. It was also the Mustangs’ eighth double-overtime game of the year.
Following the match, head coach Alex Crozier shared his thoughts on why so many of the Mustangs’ matches have gone into overtime or ended in a draw.
“That’s the thing with Division I soccer — there’s so much parity,” said Crozier. “It just takes little moments: one thing here, a miscleared ball, a couple passes later it’s a goal. So all those little things make the difference.”
Before the match, Cal Poly honored the nine graduating seniors on the team. Among them are Kirchick, Magellan, Kessloff and midfielder Sydney Knauer. Knauer led the team in goals scored this year with a total of three.
Freshman forward George said she will miss the graduating seniors but remains optimistic about the years ahead.
“It’s going to be rough. I mean there’s nine of them and they’ve all been great people to play with and great people to be around in general,” George said. “We have a very young team and we have lots of freshmen so I think we’ll be okay but it’s hard to say goodbye.”