Until the end of time, coaches will always harp the cliché that the most important game is the next game. But we all know that’s not really true, right? Everyone circles one date or another on the calendar, depending on what they’re looking for. Here are 10 such dates in Cal Poly sports for the rest of the fall season that we at the Mustang Daily recommend circling, in chronological order:
10. Men’s and women’s golf at the Coast BMW Intercollegiate at Monarch Dunes Golf Course in Nipomo, 8 a.m. Oct. 6 to 7
This will be the men’s only local play of the season, and one of just two for the women. The men will have to fill the voids of last year’s senior leaders in Brycen Wagner and Michael O’Brien, while the women’s squad returns all but one player from last season.
9. Men’s soccer vs. UC Santa Barbara, 8 p.m. Oct. 17
This rematch of last year’s 2-1 Cal Poly win (before a record-shattering crowd of 7,143 at Alex G. Spanos Stadium) is not only aptly on its one-year anniversary, but will be nationally televised by Fox Soccer.
8. Cross country at Cal Poly Invitational at Fairbanks Memorial Cross Country Course, 9 a.m. Oct. 18
Much like golf and tennis, this is the Mustangs’ only home event this fall.
7. Women’s soccer vs. UC Santa Barbara, 5 p.m. Oct. 19
The Gauchos were voted first in the Big West Conference preseason coaches poll.
6. Women’s volleyball vs. Long Beach State, 7 p.m. Nov. 8
Although the Mustangs have run roughshod over the Big West in recent years, the 49ers pose the conference’s toughest challenge. They went 14-2 in conference play last year (to Cal Poly’s 15-1), posting a 26-7 overall mark, and earned 68 points in the Big West preseason coaches poll to come in second.
5. Men’s tennis at UC Santa Barbara Invitational, Nov. 9 to 11
While not technically a home match, this is the Mustangs’ closest thing.
4. Women’s tennis at Cal Poly Invitational, Nov. 14 to 16
The Mustangs, in their only home action of the season, figure to be led by juniors Brittany Blalock and Steffi Wong, who advanced to the NCAA Championships last season as a doubles tandem – a first for Cal Poly.
3. Football vs. UC Davis, 4:05 p.m. Nov. 15
How big is this rivalry between half of the state’s Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) foursome? Just walk into Mott Gym, look for the trophy cases, and find the Golden Horseshoe Trophy – shaped like a giant horseshoe, naturally.
In 2003, the Mustang Maniacs and the Aggie Pack agreed to symbolize the fray with a trophy; UC Davis was to build its base, while Cal Poly would construct the horseshoe itself. Both, however, in their engineering prowess, built the entire trophy itself. Because UC Davis won the inaugural game, 36-33 in 2004, its trophy was chosen as the lone representation of victory and has been traded between the schools since. The past two years, however, it’s resided in San Luis Obispo. In the latest installment of the series (which UC Davis leads 16-15-2 all-time), Cal Poly rolled in Davis, 63-28.
Despite that slaughter, the Aggies received two first-place votes to Cal Poly’s three in the Great West Conference coaches preseason poll – and early in the season, they’ve looked like those ballots may have been warranted. In their season opener Aug. 30, they lost just 13-10 to Football Bowl Subdivision (I-A) foe San Jose State. While they may not have a future San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback like they did in J.T. O’Sullivan as late as 2001, they do have 19 starters back from last season, a stellar cast of receivers, and defensively, nose tackle John Faletoese, an NFL Draft prospect and the conference’s preseason Defensive Player of the Year.
2. Men’s basketball vs. Fresno State, 7 p.m. Dec. 29
Last year, the Mustangs lost 76-70 to the Bulldogs at the Save Mart Center before a crowd of 10,431 – easily the biggest they played in front of last season. It will also be something of a reverse-homecoming for Cal Poly senior center Titus Shelton, a Fresno native, and Mustangs assistant coach Wil Hooker, who from 1988 to 1992 scored 1,739 points for Fresno State – second in Bulldogs history.
1. Women’s basketball vs. UC Santa Barbara, 2 p.m. Feb. 14
The Gauchos eliminated the Mustangs in the semifinals of the Big West tournament last season and are led by senior center Kat Suderman, who played at Mission Prep High School in San Luis Obispo. UC Santa Barbara will be guided by first-year head coach Lindsay Gottlieb, an assistant at Cal last year.