The Cal Poly men’s soccer team had never gone undefeated at home for an entire regular season before Wednesday night. After a 0-0 draw against UC Davis (7-8-3, 3-3-3 Big West) at Alex G. Spanos Stadium, the Mustangs (9-3-5, 4-1-4) can finally say they played a whole season without recording a loss at home.
“Spanos Stadium is different than a lot of other fields,” senior midfielder Chase Minter said. “The dimensions are narrow and we have great fan support here. I think we just have a lot of experience on this field so we know the best way to play on it.”
Cal Poly finished 7-0-2 at home during the season, including 3-0-2 in conference play, and beat powerful non-conference opponents like Air Force and UNLV.
Wednesday was also senior night for the Mustangs and featured a pregame ceremony honoring the team’s longest-tenured members. Among the names called were Minter, defender Kip Colvey and goalkeeper Wade Hamilton.
The Mustangs had reason to be on edge before the match, as UC Davis handed Cal Poly its only conference loss of the season with their 3-2 victory earlier in the year.
The first 45 minutes of play were a defensive battle that yielded few opportunities for either team. The only player to manage a shot on goal was Cal Poly senior forward Matt LaGrassa, the result of steady defense from both sides.
“Anytime you get a clean sheet you have to praise your defense,” Cal Poly head coach Steve Sampson said. “We got in some 1-on-1 matchups with a few quick players and we were able to shut them down.”
The rest of the match was simply an extension of the defensive play displayed in the first period. The Mustangs were able to get more legitimate opportunities at the goal but failed to convert for the remainder of the match. Junior forward Justin Dhillon had possession of the ball close to the net several times but couldn’t muster much more than a couple of shots.
Six of Cal Poly’s nine conference matches have gone to overtime, including Wednesday night’s contest. The Mustangs were able to manage some hard shots in the opening seconds of the second overtime but it was all for naught as the match ended in a draw.
Better placement could have helped Cal Poly come away with a win on Wednesday. The Mustangs managed 18 shots, only three of which were on goal. All three of UC Davis’ shots were on goal.
With one more regular season game to play, Cal Poly has already locked up a spot in the Big West Conference Tournament. They are currently in second place in the North Division with a chance to jump ahead of division leader UC Santa Barbara if the Mustangs win at Sacramento State on Saturday.