Julian Del Gaudio
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The Cal Poly men’s soccer team kicked off the first of a three-match home stand against Northern Illinois on Friday night. The Mustangs wasted no time showing off their nose for goals, notching three in the first half, ultimately leading to a 4-1 defeat of the Huskies.
The scoring began with a through ball ahead to junior midfielder Justin Dhillon, resulting in a left-footed strike, lifting the Mustangs to an early one-goal lead.
In the 24th minute, a beautiful cross by junior defender Kip Colvey set up sophomore forward Kaba Alkebulan, who clinically finished his headed attempt, putting the Mustangs up 2-0.
“It was just a perfect cross,” Alkebulan said. “It came right to me, so all I really had to do was pop my head out.”
A minute later, senior midfielder Steve Palacios slotted home a third goal for the Mustangs off a pass from junior playmaker Chase Minter.
Minter has emerged as the driving force in the team’s attack, having a hand in more than half of Cal Poly’s goals in the 2014 campaign so far.
Northern Illinois would respond later in the second half, when midfielder Isaac Kannah drilled a shot from 18 yards out to the right side of the Cal Poly net. Kannah was the Huskies’ only consistent threat throughout the game.
Things got chippy in the second frame, but the referees let the teams play on without cards. First-year Cal Poly head coach Phil Ruskin was visibly frustrated with the referee on the sideline, unhappy with the lack of discipline shown to the reckless tacklers.
After nearly an entire second half played at a stalemate, freshman winger Joseph Bolous tapped in his first career goal with less than a minute to play.
Cal Poly enters the weekend atop of the Big West Conference in scoring with six different players combining for a 10 goal output through just three games.
The Mustangs(2-1-0) continue their homestand Sunday, hosting Massachusetts(0-0-3) in Alex G. Spanos Stadium at noon.