Men's soccer will begin conference play this weekend after a convincing 2-0 win over Loyola Marymount. | John Shaffer Photography

The Cal Poly men’s soccer team closed out the nonconference portion of the season with a win over Loyola Marymount on Sunday. The Mustangs (5-2-1) beat the Lions 2-0, coupling a brilliant defensive effort with scores from junior forward Justin Dhillon and senior midfielder Chase Minter.

Loyola Marymount (5-5-0) failed to get a shot on goal during the entire match. Last year’s Big West Conference Goalkeeper of the Year, senior Wade Hamilton, didn’t need to show up as the Mustangs’ defense proved more than capable in the field. The shutout marked the 56th straight start at goalkeeper for Hamilton.

Mustang midfielder Austin Wilcox came close to scoring with a shot off the cross bar just 1 minute into the game. Dhillon eventually scored with a shot off the far post in the 23rd minute. Both Wilcox and Minter received credit for the assist to Dhillon.

Minter was not done yet. He extended the Mustangs’ lead in the 84th minute with a commanding free kick from 25 yards out.

After the first eight matches, the state of the men’s soccer team looks promising. Its two losses of the year were away matchups against UCLA and Santa Clara, with its lone tie coming against Gonzaga in a 1-1 stalemate after double overtime.

The next match for the Mustangs will be at Cal State Northridge on Thursday, the first of 10 Big West Conference matches of the year. Cal Poly looks to continue its fine play during the toughest stretch of the season.

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