Frank Stranzl

Well, last weekend sucked, to put it frankly.

The football team should have won, the volleyball team could have won and the men’s soccer team has not won (a Big West Conference game). The lone bright spot is that the women’s soccer team still has a shot at making the Big West playoffs.

The women’s soccer team suffered a heartbreaking 4-3 loss in overtime to Cal State Northridge to start the weekend, meaning the Mustangs’ playoff hopes would be on the line playing at home against Pacific on Sunday.

Senior leadership shined as the defense muffled the Tigers’ attack, leading Cal Poly to a 1-0 victory.

The win puts Cal Poly in sixth place in the Big West, but only the top four go to the conference playoffs. You might ask, how in the world do the Mustangs have a chance at making the playoffs with just one game remaining? Check this out:

Cal State Fullerton (4-1-0) and UC Riverside (4-0-2) are locks.

Long Beach State (3-2-0) has two Big West games remaining and a tie or win in either game guarantees it a playoff berth. The catch: its final games are against Cal State Fullerton and UC Riverside, so neither game will be a cakewalk.

Cal State Northridge (3-4-0) kept their playoff hopes alive in beating Cal Poly Friday. They are currently tied for the fourth and final playoff spot with Pacific (3-4-0). Neither of these teams have conference games left to play.

Cal Poly (2-3-1) sits in sixth place, but with a chance to move up. A win Friday at UC Santa Barbara means the Mustangs would leapfrog Pacific and Northridge for the final playoff spot, because the Mustangs’ would have one fewer loss at 3-3-1.

Meanwhile, Santa Barbara (2-4-0) is hoping to knock off Cal Poly on Friday to keep its playoff chances alive. A win over Cal Poly puts the Gauchos into a three-way tie with Pacific and Northridge, creating even more chaos.

If Long Beach State loses its final two games, a possibility considering who the 49ers opponents are, there could be a four-way tie for the final two playoff spots.

That’s assuming Cal Poly loses. Of course, if Cal Poly wins and Long Beach State loses its final two games, there would be a three-way tie for the final playoff spot.

Sound confusing? It could be if certain scenarios play out. For the Mustangs, however, the future is in black and white. A win means they’re in and a loss means they’re out.

That said, the stage is set for another huge rivalry game between Cal Poly and Santa Barbara.

Last year, at about this time, Santa Barbara and Cal Poly dominated the Big West. Santa Barbara tied for the best regular season record with Fullerton at 7-1-1 while Cal Poly nipped at their heels with a 5-1-3 record.

The last time Cal Poly finished .500 or below in conference play, Bill Clinton was beginning his second term in office, I was playing seventh grade basketball and “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” was airing in its final season. It was the Mustangs’ third season of Division I competition and its first year in the Big West.

Moral of the story: If you plan on joining the famed Halloween festivities in Santa Barbara this weekend, be sure to take a timeout from your partying to check out the Cal Poly women’s soccer team at 7 p.m. on Friday.

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