Mackenzie Samuel (pictured) pitched a shutout on Sunday. Credit: Kayla Stuart | Mustang News, 2022

Cal Poly women’s soccer won a physical match with UC Irvine by a score of 2-0 on Sunday, Oct. 23 at Alex G. Spanos Stadium.

The Mustangs (8-6-3, 5-1-3) outshot the Anteaters (6-5-6, 2-2-5) 15-4, and controlled possession for 60% of the match.

UC Irvine opened the game aggressively and physically, too aggressive in the eye of the referee as only eight minutes in, Destinee Manzo picked up a caution card for a reckless foul.

Senior midfielder Camille Lafaix would get the scoring started in the 23rd minute when senior defender/forward Madison Demijohn received a pass into the box from senior defender Kylie Rojas and appeared to slightly mishandle it. 

However, it fell right in front of a charging Lafaix who slotted it in through the five-hole of the keeper to make it 1-0.

“There’s chemistry that you have to start to build, it starts to show at the end of the season,” Lafaix said. “We didn’t even have time to communicate at that point. It’s just that silent chemistry we have that ends in a goal.”

Just six minutes later in the 29th, Lafaix had another great opportunity off a ball over the top, but the shot to the goalkeeper’s right was saved by Glo Hinojosa.

In the 40th minute, Anteater Alex Jaquez would pick up a yellow card after fouling senior forward Olivia Ortiz three separate times on the same play.

The Mustangs would enter the break dominating possession and holding the Anteaters to zero shots total while taking nine shots of their own.

UC Irvine opened the second half by being aggressive on the ball and pressing high on the pitch, getting their first shot three minutes in.

Cal Poly, however, would be the ones to almost find the back of the net in the 64th minute, as a ball put into the box by Cal Poly pinballed all around the Irvine box before sophomore midfielder Peja Balanon put the shot on net. It beat Hinojosa, but the Anteater defense was on the goal line and cleared it away.

The Mustangs found an insurance goal in the 83rd minute. Freshman forward Caylie Button dribbled near the top of the box until UCI defender Maddy Chavez brought her down, and the referee pointed to the spot. Senior midfielder Megan Hansen stepped up and slotted it to her left to give the Mustangs a 2-0 advantage. 

The Anteaters promptly played ultra-attacking soccer, but with the help of a yellow card by senior midfielder Monserrat Hernandez Marquez for time wasting in the 88th, they couldn’t find a single goal and the Mustangs walked away with the 2-0 victory.

“Coming off of Thursday night we all had emotions and feelings towards the end of that game that ended a four-game shutout streak,” sophomore goalkeeper Mackenzie Samuel said. “We all talk about locking it down the first five of every half, so I think getting the shutout cements us defensively.”

This win, coupled with a Long Beach State loss at UC Santa Barbara, brought the Mustangs into a tie for first atop the Big West standings. 

Cal Poly will travel to UC San Diego to take on the Tritons on Thursday, Oct. 27 inside Triton Soccer Stadium at 7 p.m. for the final match of the regular season.