Sheila Sobchick

The Cal Poly men’s soccer team improved to 3-4-0 after a 4-1 victory over Sacramento State (3-2-1) in its home opener Friday night.

The Hornets stung first during the seventh minute with a goal off a corner kick by midfielder Pedro Lupercio, which was tipped in to the post by a Cal Poly defender.

The Mustangs finally came to life midway through the first half when sophomore midfielder Nikhil Erlebach tapped the ball to senior midfielder Moses Venegas, who fired the ball past the Hornet goalkeeper to tie the match 1-1.

“From the 15 minute mark to the middle of the second half, we showed we were the more dangerous team,” Cal Poly coach Wolfgang Gartner said.

Sacramento State nearly took the lead 24 minutes into the match when the Hornets slipped past Mustang goalkeeper Jeremy Coupe and rattled off three quick shots. But several Cal Poly defenders were there to make three team saves, keeping the game tied.

“This was a complete team effort,” said Gartner. “It was more of a battle rather than pretty play. Overall it’s who is the more relentless, who is the toughest, who is the most dangerous.”

Cal Poly was awarded a penalty kick after Sacramento State defender Jeff Buddenbohn tripped freshman midfielder Abdul Sesay on a break away.

Senior midfielder/defender Justin Woodward scored his first goal of the season to give the Mustangs a 2-1 edge.

During the 62nd minute Cal Poly freshman defender Marcus Griffin untangled himself from Hornet defender Utodi Madu to receive a cleared pass, and beat out the goalie for an open net shot, putting the Mustangs up 3-1.

Within seven minutes, junior defender Eric Ward intercepted a goal kick and put home Cal Poly’s fourth and final score.

“We felt we dominated the first fifteen minutes of the game. We just allowed them to come back into the game,” Sacramento State coach Michael Linenberger said. “You have to give Cal Poly credit for hanging in there and putting us away.”

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