Credit: Emmy Scherer | Mustang News

Cal Poly women’s soccer kept their first place spot in the Big West Conference after a 3-0 shutout victory against CSUN on Sunday, Oct. 10 inside Alex G. Spanos Stadium.

“This is the best our team has done in a while for the program,” sophomore forward Nikki Trucco said. “I think we all just really want to win the conference.” 

Trucco got the scoring started early for the Mustangs (9-6-0, 5-1-0 Big West) after slotting in a shot under the keeper in the 10th minute. The goal, which gave Cal Poly a 1-0 lead, is Trucco’s team-leading eighth of the season.

“We just are really effective when we’re in the box,” Trucco said. “I think when we do have the chance, we try to capitalize on it and score.”

Junior forward Brooke Rubinstein and sophomore forward Olivia Ortiz both collected their fifth assists of the season in the victory and are now tied for second in the Big West. 

CSUN (2-13-0, 1-4-0 Big West) tried to get back into the game in the 19th minute with a shot from Cindy Arteaga, but were unsuccessful as it sailed wide of the upper left corner. 

In the 27th minute, Cal Poly junior defender Emily Talmi intercepted a pass near the half-field line, dribbled the ball all the way into the penalty box and converted a left-footed shot into the bottom right corner for her second goal of the season, doubling the Mustang lead to 2-0.

“It was crazy, before the game I was talking with one of my teammates and we were making a funny bet about if I got a goal,” Talmi said. “So I kind of manifested that one and it was a great moment for me.”

10 minutes later, CSUN received a penalty kick due to a Cal Poly handball interference, but freshman goalkeeper Mackenzie Samuel pulled off a heroic double-save to preserve the score going into the half.  

“I just think there are times where you have to put your team on your back and make those big time saves because your teammates are supporting you from the 18-yard box,” Samuel said. “It’s a great feeling, just a lot of adrenaline rushing through your veins.”

Despite the Mustangs keeping a clean sheet and leading by two in the first half, CSUN maintained a 47% possession rate compared to Cal Poly’s 53% and had one more shot on goal.

In the 69th minute, after two missed attempts on goal from the Mustangs, freshman midfielder Kate Reedy chipped the ball over every Matador defender in the penalty box and recorded her fourth goal of the season. Ortiz tallied the assist on the score that made the game 3-0, which would eventually be the final.

“We’re putting players in good positions to finish and they’re doing that,” head coach Alex Crozier said. “It’s just a result of keeping the ball and getting players up higher.”

The Mustangs closed out the game with seven shots on target from 13 attempts compared to CSUN’s four shots on goal off of nine attempts. 

“Really we’re looking to get better and better,” Crozier said. “We’re kind of holding ourselves to a standard of winning games which is fantastic.”

Cal Poly will play its final home game of the season against UC San Diego on Sunday, Oct. 17 at 12 p.m. inside Alex G. Spanos Stadium.

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