The Cal Poly men’s soccer team started its weekend home stand with a 0-0 tie against Cal State Fullerton Thursday night.
This marks the second straight double overtime tie for Cal Poly (6-2-3, 1-0-2 Big West) following last Saturday’s 1-1 tie at UC Irvine.
For the majority of regulation, it was a back and forth affair. Fullerton (7-4-1, 2-0-1) nearly scored in the first minute, but was called offside to save the Mustangs from an early deficit. Sophomore forward Ishmail Seremba had a shot in the 34th minute but couldn’t find the net in the Mustangs’ closest chance of the first half.
In the second half, senior midfielder Matt LaGrassa had a shot from the box but he wasn’t able to corral the entry pass and the ball glanced off the right side of his foot and went wide right. That was the closest chance Cal Poly had in the second half before heading to overtime.
“We were trying to play through our midfield and create opportunities,” head coach Steve Sampson said. “I think we improved the style of soccer we were playing and kept better possession of the ball to create more chances.”
The overtime periods had more promise for the Mustangs as Seremba had an opportunity but knocked the ball wide right. Senior midfielder Chase Minter had a cross in the waning minutes of the first overtime but Fullerton’s keeper David Elias snatched it up.
“We put a lot of emphasis on attacking them,” said Minter. “We felt like they were on their back heels and we were on the forefront.”
A goal by the Mustangs with two minutes left in the second overtime was called offside and put an end to any hopes of overcoming the scoreless stalemate.
Despite the tie, the team’s spirits are high going in to the second half of Big West Conference play. Senior keeper Wade Hamilton was aggressive all night; his two saves on the final box score don’t reflect how many chances and crosses he intercepted.
“We feel good. This was a good performance to build on,” said Minter. “Unfortunately it wasn’t a win but there were a lot of positive notes on both sides of the ball.”
“All it takes is a little bit more precision on our part and those shots are going to fall,” said Sampson.
This tie puts the Mustangs in second place in the Big West North and four points behind UC Santa Barbara. They will look to close that point gap in Saturday’s game against visiting UC Riverside (5-5-0, 1-1-0) at 7 p.m.