While Cal Poly lost on the road to UC Irvine 2-0 Saturday, Oct. 26, the Mustangs punched their tickets to the Big West Conference Tournament for the first time since 2015.
Cal Poly (7-7-1, 3-3-0 Big West) secured a spot in the tournament after UC Santa Barbara’s game against CSUN finished in a scoreless draw.
The Anteaters (7-5-5, 4-1-1 Big West), who sit atop of the table, benefitted from two goals from midfielder Christian Gutierrez.
Gutierrez first scored in the 36th minute after a pass from Anteaters defender Seamus McLaughlin put Gutierrez in prime position. The midfielder directed his shot to the right and past sophomore goalkeeper Carlos Arce-Hurtado for the Anteaters’ first goal of the night.
In the 78th minute, Gutierrez scored a firecracker of a goal from 30 yards out to double the Anteaters’ lead and secure victory.
What a rocket🚀🚀🚀🚀 Gun Gun makes it 2-0🐜🍴 pic.twitter.com/DycMr3bVxM
— UCI M Soccer (@UCImsoc) October 27, 2019
The Mustangs were just limited to two shots-on-goal during the game.
Senior midfielder Diego Alonso gave Cal Poly its first shot on goal after just 34 seconds in the first half. Alonso’s shot, however, was thwarted by Anteaters goalkeeper Ford Parker.
67 minutes elapsed before the Mustangs’ next shot on goal from senior forward JoeMack Leonardo. His shot in the 68th minute was also saved by Parker.
UC Irvine outshot Cal Poly 17-6 in the game as the Anteaters logged four shots on goal compared to the Mustangs’ two. Arce-Hurtado secured two saves in the game to bring his season total to 34 saves.
Cal Poly will host Blue-Green rivals UC Santa Barbara at Alex G. Spanos Stadium in the final game of the regular season Saturday, Nov. 2. A sellout crowd of 11,075 is expected as the game has reached maximum capacity every year since 2011.
A win or draw against the Gauchos can allow the Mustangs to host a first-round tournament game Wednesday, Nov. 6.
Kick-off for the home leg of the Central Coast derby is at 5 p.m.