Cal Poly Men’s Soccer broke their four game losing streak with a 3-0 victory against Sacramento State on Oct. 17 inside Alex G. Spanos Stadium. All three goals came in a 14 minute period to secure the Mustangs’ first win in Big West Conference play.
Cal Poly (5-7-2, 1-3-1 Big West) came into the game at a fast pace, attempting three shots in the first five minutes. Senior forward Sean Goode led the beginning efforts, forcing a save in the third minute by Sacramento State to keep the Mustangs from gaining an early lead. Goode, who totaled five shots against the Sacramento Hornets, currently leads the team in amount of goals scored.
The Mustangs registered another four shots in the next 15 minutes before Sacramento State (4-9-2, 2-3-0 Big West) broke through on their first chance at goal — a low floating shot saved by senior goalkeeper Simon Boehme.
Boehme is considered one of the top collegiate goalkeepers in the nation and was ranked 35th among NCAA Division I players with 50 saves going into Wednesday’s game against Sacramento State. The goalkeeper registered three saves against the Hornets, completing his seventh career shutout for Cal Poly.
In the opening minutes of the second half, Sacramento State sophomore Tyler Moss almost found the back of the net after cutting inside the box onto his left foot and striking a curling shot toward Boehme, whose diving save again kept the game locked at 0-0.
Goode had another chance denied when his goal in the 60th minute was disallowed due to a foul on Cal Poly during the play. However, with momentum building since the beginning of the game, the Mustangs finally broke the scoreless draw in the 69th minute.
It was once again Goode whose quick throw-in fell onto the feet of sophomore midfielder Emmanuel Perez, who turned and fired the ball into the goal.
Less than five minutes later, junior forward George Grote sent a low cross into the center of the box after an attacking run down the right side of the field. The cross was deflected into the net by Goode, scoring his team-leading fifth goal of the season.
To put an end to any chance at a comeback, the Mustangs continued their heavy attack on Sacramento State. With eight minutes left in regulation time, freshman forward Reagan Rice slipped past his defender and buried his shot toward the right post to score his first career goal for Cal Poly.
“You can see how beautifully he holds the ball, how quick on the turn he is,” head coach Steve Sampson said. “Getting that goal will be great for his confidence. I really think he has an incredibly bright future here.”
While reflecting on his goal, Rice noted that there is still work to be done to secure a spot in the Big West Conference Tournament.
“It felt great. I’ve been looking for it for a long time so it felt really good to score that first goal,” Rice said. “We just got to keep working hard, stay focused, and work for each other as a group.”
The win puts Cal Poly in a tie with UC Davis (8-4-3, 1-3-1 Big West) for seventh place in the Big West Conference standings. The top six teams will play in the Big West Tournament beginning on Oct 31, which puts the Mustangs in a must-win position ahead of their final two games against UC Irvine on Oct. 21 and UCSB on Oct. 27. Sampson said he has high expectations for the Mustangs next match.
“Against Irvine, we need to play a complete game,” Sampson said. “Defensively, we need to come prepared and continue to get in behind like we’ve been showing.”
UC Irvine (10-4-2, 4-0-1 Big West), the only remaining team unbeaten in conference play, currently sits at the top of the Big West Conference and is four points clear of the second-place UC Riverside.
The Mustangs’ match against UC Irvine kicks off at 7 p.m. on Oct. 21 in Alex G. Spanos Stadium.