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The Cal Poly women’s soccer team (4-6-0) suffered a tough 2-1 loss at the hands of Saint Mary’s (6-5-0) Friday evening in Alex G. Spanos Stadium.
With no score throughout the entire first half, the game was far from unexciting. The Mustangs kept possession and control in the first 20 minutes, but took on more pressure from the Gaels toward the end of the half.
The turning point in the match came in the 32nd minute, as junior defender Robin Mertens was forced to take down a Saint Mary’s attacker on a breakaway. Mertens shirt grab and prevention of a clear goal-scoring opportunity earned her a red card, the first for the Mustangs this season.
“(The red card) was probably a deserved one,” said Cal Poly head coach Alex Crozier. “Robin got put in the position where she did everything she could just to keep the gal from scoring, so she saved us a goal there.”
Down a player, the Mustangs were forced into a shell, forcing them to resort to counter-attacks.
In the 62nd minute, the Gaels made a blistering surge up the right flank, resulting in a foul inside the box. Saint Mary’s leading scorer Samantha Dion stepped up, and despite junior goalkeeper Alyssa Giannetti getting a hand on the ball, the Gaels went up 1-0.
The lead was short-lived, as the Mustangs evened things up in the 73rd minute. Junior forward Elise Krieghoff stepped up to a free-kick from 25 yards out and drilled it to the top corner of the far post for her ninth, and probably best, goal of the season.
Saint Mary’s came close to gaining the lead once again in the last 10 seconds of the game, but the ball they put in the back of the net was disallowed thanks to an offside call.
The golden-goal overtime period led to quick disappointment for the Mustangs when Dion finished off a rebound after Giannetti lost touch with the ball.
Despite the loss, the Mustangs remained positive, and Giannetti moved up to No. 2 on the Cal Poly all-time saves list.
The Mustangs attempted a total of only seven shots throughout the game, while Saint Mary’s attempted 18.
Cal Poly will host San Francisco Sunday at 12 p.m. in Alex G. Spanos Stadium, the Mustangs’ last match before Big West Conference play begins.