It was quite the year for Cal Poly Athletics. From women’s soccer winning the Big West regular season title for the first time since 2013 to beach volleyball securing their third straight Big West title and appearance in the NCAA tournament, the Mustangs competed at the highest of levels.
Despite not being a university known for its sports teams, there was plenty to remember. The Mustang News Sports Team broke down their favorite moments from Cal Poly sports this year:
Football wins a thriller – Noah Greenblatt
Watching football beat Idaho State was my favorite sports moment this year. My friends and I had all decided to go to the game, but we ended up leaving early. Luckily, one of our friends had pulled the game up on his phone and so we saw that Idaho state was about to tie the game. Once they tied it, we all ran to Spanos Stadium and got there just in time to watch Idaho State muff a punt, Jaden Ohlsen drill the game-winner and the defense make a final stop — all before we could even catch our breath.
Camille Lafaix’s game-winner – Nick Bandanza
Camille Lafaix’s overtime game-winning goal against Cal State Fullerton to open Big West play was my favorite moment to witness this year. Lafaix received the pass inside the box, took a slight touch to the right and placed the game-winner into the bottom right corner of the goal. Women’s soccer was the first team I covered at Cal Poly as a first-year. The team introduced me to Cal Poly athletics and Lafaix’s goal in the 93rd minute will forever stick with me as my earliest memory of Cal Poly sports.
Men’s Basketball shows grit in double OT matchup – Gabe Arditti
Sometimes victories and defeats do not tell the entire story, such as when men’s Basketball had one of their best games of the season in a losing effort against Cal State University, Northridge (CSUN) at home. Brantley Stevenson hit a buzzer-beating three-pointer to send the game to overtime and cap off a 14-2 Mustang run over the final 2:21.
Then, the Mustangs took a lead with six seconds left, before CSUN had a last second shot of their own to take the game to double over time. The Matadors outscored the Mustangs 16-11 in the frame, but Cal Poly showed the community what they were made of on this night.
A big night from Alimamy Koroma – Matthew Ho
My favorite moment from the men’s basketball season was their home win against UC Irvine. The Mustangs were previously blown out by Irvine 48-72, but came back in their homestand and won 65-54. Center Alimamy Koroma had one of his best games of the season, scoring 27 points and grabbing seven boards.
He scored in a variety of ways, from his right hand hook over to cleaning up missed shots and shooting pick-and-pop threes. They played with energy and executed on the offensive end. It was a glimpse into what the men’s basketball team could be moving forward.
Kirsty Brown enters the record books – Gwendalyn Garcia
Before finishing up her career at Cal Poly, graduate forward Kirsty Brown made her official mark on the record books on March 3. With a starting appearance on the court, despite injury, Brown officially became the women’s basketball program’s all-time leader in games played. Securing 125 games under her belt, she surpassed the previous record holder, Jonae Ervin, who played 124 games. This was a sweet moment to end Brown’s fifth and final season as a Mustang.
The rise of Truax and Wick – Derek Righetti
Seeing the wrestling superstars of Evan Wick and Bernie Truax evolve into a powerful 1-2 combo and watching the two of them feed off of each other was incredible to see. Capping off an amazing 2022 season with two All-Americans was my highlight. The two of them are setting up Cal Poly’s wrestling program for the future and proving that this program is not one to mess with.
Back-to-back slams for Maddie Amos – Kyle Har
Hitting two home runs in back-to-back at-bats is rare, but hitting grand slams in back-to-back at bats is unheard of. Amos’ eight RBIs in a 14-2 victory against Cal State Bakersfield set a new program record while matching the Big West single-game record. The victory itself was also a part of the Mustangs’ 10-game conference win streak, which was impressive after the team was winless in its first 13 games.
Kaylyn Noh leads women’s golf to title – Mia-Isobel Craig
It was Cal Poly versus Hawaii in the Big West Championship. The Mustangs were down by nine strokes before going into the final six holes. Freshman Kaylyn Noh managed to close the gap and tie the two teams after a par on the 18th hole. In the one-hole playoff, Cal Poly beat Hawaii by four strokes and won their second straight Big West title, while Noh was crowned Golfer of the Year.
Baseball’s installment of the Blue/Green rivalry – Kylie Hastings
My favorite sports moment was going to the Friday UC Santa Barbara versus Cal Poly baseball game. It was packed with students and community members and one of many sellouts at Baggett Stadium this season. When the Mustangs tied the game in the sixth, and then again in the ninth, the crowd erupted. It was so fun to be a part of that and to see so much school spirit for a Cal Poly sports team.
Beach volleyball goes back-to-back-to-back – Miles Berman
Coming into the Big West tournament at home, the Mustang beach volleyball team was third in their very own conference. They had yet to beat someone ranked ahead of them. However, the mix of true freshman, players fighting for a spot and staples in the lineup, like Tia Miric and Jayelin Lombard, beach volleyball won four straight matches with two consecutive comebacks to earn their third ticket in a row to the NCAA championship event. The Cal Poly home crowd witnessed excellence in front of their eyes.
A proper farewell for Brooks Lee – Diego Sandoval
Brooks Lee may be one of the best athletes to ever come through Cal Poly. It was only fitting that in his final week at Baggett Stadium, the projected lottery pick in the 2022 MLB Draft blasted a homerun in each of his final four games in San Luis Obispo playing for his dad, head coach Larry Lee. Watching each homer fly through the air was special for everyone in the stadium, as it felt like he was cementing his legacy in Mustang history before our eyes.