In Cal Poly men’s soccer’s first game without former head coach Steve Sampson, the team fell to Sacramento State 4-0 on Wednesday, Oct. 19 at Alex G. Spanos Stadium.
The Mustangs (1-11-3, 1-3-3 Big West) received news on Tuesday that Coach Sampson would be retiring from the program effective immediately before their matchup against the Hornets (8-6-2, 3-4 Big West).
“It’s definitely a difficult thing,” sophomore midfielder and captain Nate Colley said. “Your head coach is your biggest leader, your first guy, and to not have him on that sideline was definitely a different element now.”
“Did we let it affect us too much? Definitely.”
The team came out strong on the offensive end with multiple runs to the goal. Sophomore striker Drew Patterson was particularly aggressive with a header and a shot early in the game.
However, the Hornets scored a goal in the eighth minute, and the Mustangs lost the offensive momentum they had early in the game. In this tie-breaking score, Sacramento State put up a goal after their striker, who won a jump ball over a Cal Poly defender, dished it to a running teammate with a clean shot.
The Hornets kept the pressure on with a header in the 22nd minute and, in the 28th minute, the Mustangs committed a foul in the penalty box, and the Hornets converted to take a 3-0 lead that would last into halftime.
In the second half, Sacramento State scored off a free kick from 10 yards outside of the penalty box to put them up 4-0.
The Mustangs sent out a more offensive-oriented lineup to make up for the six points needed to get into the tournament, but they couldn’t find the back of the net.
With this loss, Cal Poly sits in ninth place in the Big West, three points behind UC San Diego, Sacramento State and UC Irvine.
“Hopefully the distance between Steve’s retirement and the next game allows them to make themselves more prepared,” interim head coach Billy McNicol said. “I think as much as we tried to cheer them up and say get over it that obviously affected you know, the boys are hurting.”
“Right now, we’re in a little bit of disarray.”
The Mustangs’ next matchup is against rival UC Santa Barbara for the second installment of the Blue-Green Rivalry this season on Saturday, Oct. 22 at 7 p.m. at Harder Stadium.