The Cal Poly men’s soccer team did not disappoint in the first match since its overtime victory over UC Santa Barbara last Saturday. Taking on a scrappy Sacramento State team at home on Wednesday, the Mustangs (9-3-3, 4-1-2 Big West) comfortably won the Big West Conference match 2-0.
Goals from juniors forward Justin Dhillon and defender Bjorn Sandberg were the difference against the visiting Hornets (5-7-2, 2-4-1 Big West).
While Sacramento State may not sound like a soccer powerhouse, Cal Poly had reason to be wary of the Hornets going into the match. Sacramento State blew out conference leader UC Santa Barbara 5-2 a week ago and defeated the Mustangs at Alex G. Spanos Stadium last year. But two early goals from Cal Poly quickly put any hopes of a Hornet upset to rest.
“We dominated the game from the very beginning,” Cal Poly head coach Steve Sampson said. “We defended well and we kept our positioning well. I thought we took a very professional approach to the game. A lot of the guys had midterms so I am very satisfied that they were able to get the job done.”
Like many of Cal Poly’s victories this season, senior midfielder Chase Minter was heavily involved. In the 15th minute, a pass from Minter turned into a goal as Dhillon buried the ball into the corner of the net. It was Dhillon’s second goal of the year and Minter’s 13th point of the year.
But Minter wasn’t done yet. Barely five minutes later, he booted a free kick from the right side of the box to Bjorn Sandberg in front of the goal. Sandberg finished cleanly to put the Mustangs up 2-0 and record his first collegiate goal as a senior.
“It feels amazing. It has been three years of college soccer and no goals so it is about time,” Sandberg said.
Goalkeeper Wade Hamilton and the Mustangs’ back line kept the Hornets at bay all night and collected their fifth shutout of the season. Hamilton had five saves and Sacramento State never came close to threatening Cal Poly’s lead the whole match.
Minter, who tallied two assists on the night, tied the record for most career assists in Cal Poly history with 21. Minter leads the team with six assists on the year while also leading the team with 14 points. While the individual accomplishments are important, Minter was quick to point out that setting records is not something you can do on your own.
“The accolade I got is something you can’t do on your own. By nature, an assist takes two (people), so it is really about the team,” Minter said.
The Mustangs will venture south to Santa Barbara for the second installment of the Blue-Green Rivalry on Saturday. The match will feature two of the top soccer programs on the West Coast in Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara. The match gets underway at 7 p.m. at Harder Stadium in Goleta, California.