Fresh off arguably their most successful season at the Division I level, the Cal Poly men’s soccer team released its 2009 season schedule Monday afternoon.
The Mustangs, who won their first Division I postseason game 1-0 over UCLA in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last year, will kick off their season Aug. 26 by hosting San Diego State in an exhibition match.
Cal Poly will compete in two preconference tournaments next season including the Cal Legacy Classic where they will take on Cal and Stanford. The Golden Bears advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament last year before falling to national champion Maryland. They will also visit the Pacific Northwest to battle Portland and Washington in the Husky Fever Classic.
Other notable games include an Oct. 7 visit to rival UC Santa Barbara and a Nov. 4 return matchup of the two conference foes. Last season the two teams combined to draw a sellout crowd of 11,075 to Alex G. Spanos Stadium, making it the third-highest attended regular season collegiate match in history.
The Gauchos, perennial Big West Conference frontrunners, defeated Cal Poly 1-0 in double overtime in a game nationally televised on Fox Soccer Channel.
Cal Poly will also get another crack at UC Irvine, the team that knocked them out in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The teams will meet in Irvine on Oct. 21.
If the Mustangs are to get back to the NCAA Tournament this year, they will have to do so without some key members from last season. Goalkeeper Eric Branagan-Franco was a member of the Big West Conference first team and also named conference Goalkeeper of the Year last year.
Defensive midfielder Anton Peterlin also finished his eligibility last season. Peterlin recently made his Everton debut in a preseason loss to Bury last Friday. The former Cal Poly star is the first former Mustang to play professionally for an English Premiere League side.
While Cal Poly will miss several players, they will look to some returning faces to further improve on their game.
Junior forward David Zamora, a former conference Freshman of the Year and Freshman All-American, was fourth in the Big West last season with eight goals. Zamora is already sixth on the Cal Poly all-time goals list and needs just one to tie Ryshiem Henderson for fifth.
Sophomore midfielder Wes Feighner and defender Patrick Sigler will return looking to build on their successes as freshman. Feighner scored four times for Cal Poly and trailed only Zamora with 38 shots while Sigler was named co-Freshman of the Year and a conference first team member.
Cal Poly head coach Paul Holocher will return for his fourth season after guiding the Mustangs to an 11-6-6 record last season. He will welcome in his third full recruiting class that includes Fresno standout forward Paul Islas.
Islas was named the No. 34 recruit in the country by TopDrawSoccer.com and has scored at least 20 goals the last two years at the high school level.
The Mustangs will officially kick off their season hosting UNLV at 7 p.m. on Sept. 1.
This is the year for poly, ladies and gentleman. Get out to every home game and support your nationally ranked team!
Cal Poly is wonderful, we have blondes, brunettes, and soccer.
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