Cal Poly rebounded from its 4-2 loss at Long Beach State Friday to knock off UC Irvine 2-1 at Anteater Stadium Sunday.
Fueled by goals from senior Becky Clark and junior Heidi McQuitty, Cal Poly improved to 9-2-3 overall and 1-1 in Big West Conference play.
“It was a tale of two halves,” coach Alex Crozier said at a news conference Monday.
Crozier said that the first half was one of the best the team had played and that the second half was one of the worst.
Clark got the scoring started in the 17th minute as teammate Sarah Squires lofted a free kick to Clark near the goalpost and Clark rifled it into the net for her sixth goal of the season.
A red card in the 31st minute led to Cal Poly junior Kelsey Carroll’s ejection, leaving the Mustangs shorthanded for the remainder of the game.
Despite being a player down, Cal Poly scored again in the 46th minute. Cal Poly’s Alix Cohen sent a free kick into the Irvine’s box, setting up McQuitty for her first goal of the season.
Using the player advantage to its favor, Irvine stayed competitive. The Anteaters scored in the 64th minute as freshman Kathleen Lemieux delivered a corner kick into the box. The Anteaters’ Makenzie Beahm came up with the ball and beat Mustang goalie Liz Hill, cutting Cal Poly’s lead to 2-1.
Irvine couldn’t muster enough offense to score the equalizer. Cal Poly’s defense clamped down with two-time Big West defensive player of the year, Sierra Simmons, leading the Mustangs.
Hill finished the day with two saves. Irvine goalie Rosie Aguilera had three saves.
Cal Poly out shot Irvine 8-6 in a highly penalized match – Irvine was whistled for 21 fouls to Cal Poly’s 17.
Besides Carroll’s red card, Cal Poly’s Sharon Day also received a yellow card, her first of the season.
Carroll will be unable to participate in Friday’s game against Cal State Fullerton due to the red card. Carroll’s absence may turn out good for the team Crozier said.
“It’s going to allow someone to step up and maybe bring a new dynamic onto the field,” Crozier said.
Cal Poly plays its next match on Friday at Mustang Stadium against the Titans (10-3, 2-1) at 7:30. The Mustangs also host UC Riverside on Sunday at 1 p.m.