UC Santa Barbara defeated Cal Poly 3-1 in the non-conference edition of the Blue-Green Rivalry on Saturday, Oct. 5 in Harder Stadium. An own goal and a red card made dropped the Mustangs to 4-4-1 before the start of conference play. The match’s attendance of 9,748 people was the largest in the nation this season, according to Cal Poly Athletics.
The Mustangs will face UC Santa Barbara (7-2-2) in the second-leg of the Blue-Green Rivalry on Saturday, Nov. 2 in Spanos Stadium. The Mustangs’ home match against the Gauchos will count in conference standings.
UC Santa Barbara started the match Saturday with an early free kick as forward Will Baynham followed up with a shot only six yards from the net. However, sophomore goalkeeper Carlos Arce-Hurtado was quick off his line to smother the opportunity.
UC Santa Barbara continued to press forward and found a 1-0 lead in the 32nd minute through a goal from substitute Carter Clemmensen. A deflected cross by Gaucho forward Rodney Michael floated to the far post for an open header by Clemmensen, who made no mistake on the finish.
The Gauchos doubled their lead in the 52nd minute after an own goal from junior defender Josh Graham. Another threatening cross from Michael was targeted toward Clemmensen, but as Graham attempted to intercept the cross, the ball deflected off his foot into the net.
Senior forward Diego Alonso had a chance to cut the deficit in half in the 61st minute with a volley in the box, but the bodies in front of him resulted in a missed deflection. Cal Poly’s misfortune continued as graduate midfielder Colin Hyatt received a second yellow card in the 76th minute, putting the Mustangs down a man. Hyatt will miss the Mustangs’ next game as a result of the card.
With just more than 10 minutes left to play, a Cal Poly corner kick deflected off a teammate’s arm in the box. The ball found its way to junior forward Angel De Leon, who put the controversial chance away for Cal Poly’s lone goal of the match. The goal was De Leon’s second of the season, tying him with graduate forward Spencer Held for second-best on the team.
The Gauchos took only four minutes to respond as midfielder Finn Ballard McBride cut across the right side of the Mustangs’ defense and fired a low shot toward the left side of the goal. Arce-Hurtado dove for an attempted save, but the shot flew past him, ending any chance of a Cal Poly comeback.
Arce-Hurtado finished the match with a season-high six saves despite the three goals allowed. The sophomore goalkeeper made two vital saves in the 43rd and 49th minutes to keep Cal Poly in the game. However, UC Santa Barbara did well to neutralize junior midfielder Emmanuel Perez throughout the match, as the top goal scorer was unable to convert his opportunities.
Cal Poly kicks off Big West Conference play with a home match against UC Davis on Wednesday, Oct. 9 at 7 p.m.