Cal Poly men’s soccer is still tied for first place in the Big West Conference after a win Saturday over Cal State Northridge.
Both teams got off to a slow start with a scoreless first half.
Cal Poly head coach Paul Holocher said his players were lacking energy early in the game.
“In the first half, we were second to a lot of balls,” he said. “We didn’t have good movement.”
Cal Poly notched their first goal of the match in the 68th minute with a header by David Zamora from a cross from Chris Gaschen.
Holocher credited Gaschen, a second-half substitute, with giving the Mustangs a boost in their play.
“In the second half, we put a freshman, Chris Gaschen, in who gave us a little bit of a spark. He had some energy up top,” he said.
A run by Zimora a minute later resulted in a penalty kick and two yellow cards to Northridge players.
Zimora said that he had been frustrated going into the match because he hadn’t scored in a while.
“As a forward, you need to score to build confidence, and my first goal gave me that,” he said. “The second goal came after a good run. I saw that the guy was not running as hard as he should, the defender, so I just went for the ball, and luckily I was able to draw the PK.”
Zimora took the penalty kick himself and put the ball past Michael Abalo, the Northridge goalie, for a two-goal lead.
The second hat trick in two weeks was completed in the 73rd minute by Zimora. The goal came off a rebound after a shot by Gaschen. This was Zimora’s first career hat trick and only the seventh in school history. Zimora’s hat trick comes 10 days after Junior Burgos scored his own hat trick against Cal State Fullerton.
The Matadors got on the board in the 74th minute with a goal by Cameron Sims off of a free kick right outside the box.
There was a scuffle initiated by a Northridge player after the goal that resulted in the Mustangs’ Brian Jones receiving a red card. Jones had received a yellow card earlier in the match for a dangerous challenge.
Cal Poly captain Josh Didion said even though they were down a player, they did not want to be timid.
“We had to keep pressuring. We didn’t want to sit in too much,” he said.
Northridge player Chad Barak received a red card after a Northridge shot in the 80th minute; the reason for the red card was unclear. Whatever the reason, Northridge head coach Terry Davila was not happy and received a red card of his own for running on the field.
Next Wednesday, the Mustangs will take on University of California, Riverside, which is struggling this year with only one win on the season and none in the Big West Conference. Cal Poly will then travel to UC Davis, whom the Mustangs already beat this season.
“Every Big West team is a good team. Unfortunately with Riverside, they can’t finish off games,” Didion said. “We have to concentrate on Riverside first and get those three points, and then we’ll focus on Davis.”