The Cal Poly men’s soccer team split two matches in Akron, Ohio this weekend defeating Syracuse, but falling to No. 4 Akron and moved its record to 3-2-2 on the young season.
On Friday, the Mustangs took on a third consecutive opponent from the Big East and netted two goals in one game for the first time this season.
Forward Kyle Montgomery wasted little time putting the Mustangs on the board in the 14th minute, his first goal in nearly two years.
The Mustangs made it 2-0 just after halftime with Mac Pridham’s first goal at Cal Poly. The Orange were able to cut into the lead shortly after, but goalkeeper Patrick McLain’s three saves after the 60th minute preserved the victory.
On Sunday, the Mustangs took the field against the Zips, a team that, after their 1-0 defeat of Cal Poly, has not lost 42 consecutive home matches, an NCAA record.
The Mustangs hung with the Zips for 83 minutes, putting pressure on the Akron defense by forcing a season high 11 corner kicks.
Sophomore midfielder George Malki even banged a shot off the crossbar in the first half and Cal Poly forced the Zips goalkeeper David Meves to make three saves.
Cal Poly’s defense kept the Zips from pressuring McLain most of the day as he only had to make one save.
The lone goal came in the 83rd minute as freshman defender DeAndre Yedlin dribbled into the box but was brought down forcing a penalty kick.
On the penalty kick, McLain guessed correctly, diving low to the right but Scott Caldwell’s shot slipped through and gave the Zips a 1-0 lead.
After the goal, the Mustangs continued to attack earning three corners in a row and sent McLain forward in an attempt to get a head on the ball. Each time the Mustangs left empty handed, and the Zips left victorious.
Akron is the final team currently ranked in the top 25 that the Mustangs will face for the remainder of the regular season.
The matches over the weekend marked the first time the Mustangs were out shot this season, but Cal Poly still leads its opponents in shot attempts 97-53 and average nearly 14 per game.
Of those 97 shots, 36 were on goal but only five found the back of the net.
They also forced the opposing goalkeepers to save over twice as many shots as McLain, 31 to 15.
McLain was named Big West Defensive Player of the Week and added to TopDrawerSoccer.com’s Team of the Week after blanking Villanova and West Virginia. McLain now has four shutouts on the season.
The Mustangs face the University of Denver, a team they defeated in 2010, on Sunday at 1 p.m. in their final non-conference game before starting the Big West schedule.
They play four conference matches in a row at home starting on Oct. 5 against UC Davis and finishing on Oct. 14 against UC Santa Barbara.