The sky fills with fan-thrown tortillas as the Gauchos celebrate their first goal. Zach Donnenfield | Mustang News

Shooting troubles plagued the Cal Poly men’s soccer team Saturday night as they finished their season with a 2-0 loss against UC Santa Barbara at Harder Stadium.

Men’s soccer lost at @UCSBMensSoccer this weekend, ending their hopes of attending the @BigWestMSOC Tournament.

— Mustang News (@CPMustangNews) October 30, 2018

The Mustangs (5-9-2, 1-5-1 Big West) had eight shots throughout the match, with only one of those shots being on goal. In comparison, eight of the Gauchos’ (10-6-1, 4-2-1 Big West) 17 shots in the match were on goal.

“[UC Santa Barbara’s] technical speed on this size a field was better than ours, to be honest,” head coach Steve Sampson said. “[The] tracking of players, making sure that we [stayed] inside of them was so critical … we knew that was coming [because] we talked about it at half-time about how we needed to counter-attack in behind those spaces on those flanks and be able to hold the ball. I just thought that [UC Santa Barbara] did a very good job of defending, and then countering and playing very direct when they got the ball.”  

Senior forward Jared Pressley recorded the Mustangs only shot on goal. Zach Donnenfield | Mustang News

Throughout the first half of the match, the Mustangs and the Gauchos traded chances at scoring. Senior goalkeeper Simon Boehme recorded his first of six saves in the match by leaping to stop a shot from Gauchos midfielder Axel Mendez in the 28th minute.

“I just get my feet right and go for it,” Boehme said about his technique and save against Mendez. “We’ve trained [for] that so many times in training. Repetition, that’s all there is.”

Senior forward Jared Pressley recorded the lone shot on goal for the Mustangs in the 29th minute when his shot was stopped by Gauchos goalkeeper Ben Roach. 

In the 33rd minute, senior forward Sean Goode got a cross off to Pressley inside the penalty box. However, Pressley was unable to capitalize on the cross as his shot went high.

UC Santa Barbara began the second half charging, as Gaucho forward Thibault Candia’s shot was saved by Böehme in the 50th minute. Things got dreary for the Mustangs just one minute later, when Gauchos forward Sahid Conteh slotted the ball past Boehme into the right side of the net to put UC Santa Barbara up 1-0.

The Gauchos did not have to wait long for another goal. In the 61st minute, Gaucho forward Kaya Fabbretti scored for a 2-0 lead and sealed the win for UC Santa Barbara.

With the win over Cal Poly, UC Santa Barbara went undefeated at home throughout the season. Zach Donnenfield | Mustang News

For Boehme, Pressley and several other seniors, this was their last match as Mustangs, since they were eliminated from Big West Conference tournament contention.

“I’m just a kid from Ohio, [and it’s] not a big soccer state,” Pressley said about his time at Cal Poly. “Steve Sampson recruited me [and] I didn’t know much about San Luis Obispo, the town, Cal Poly, the great university it’s been but it’s become my second family. I spend 30, 40 hours a week, I live with these guys and I wouldn’t change anything about my career here.”

Pressley plans on getting a job once he graduates, but would still like to play soccer if he can. In contrast, Boehme plans on making the transition to professional soccer after graduation.

“Boehme tonight proved once again why he’s one of the best goalkeepers in the country,” Sampson said. Boehme finished his career at Cal Poly with .771 save percentage and a 1.33 goals-against average, placing him in the top five in program history for both categories.

“I don’t think you’re gonna go pro if you’re not confident,” Boehme said. “I definitely want to believe that I can. I’ve spoken to coaches about it [and] now I can actually focus on that and the season’s over. Now it’s time to look forward.”

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