Mustangs Set for Home Clashes against UC Davis and UC Santa Barbara
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SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – The Cal Poly men's soccer program opens its final regular season home stand at Alex G. Spanos Stadium when welcoming UC Davis on Tuesday, Oct. 22 and UC Santa Barbara on Friday, Oct. 25 for the opening leg of the 2013 Blue-Green rivalry series. Both matches kick off at 7 p.m. for Cal Poly (9-6-0, 2-3-0), which climbed to second place in the Big West Conference North Division standings on six points alongside UC Davis (6-7-1, 2-3-0) with a 2-1 victory at Sacramento State (Oct. 19). The Aggies, meanwhile, enter Tuesday's match coming off a 3-2, double-overtime home loss against division-leading UC Santa Barbara (10-4-0, 5-0-0). Winners of six successive matches, the Gauchos host Sacramento State on Tuesday before visiting Cal Poly. The best-attended series in the history of collegiate soccer, matches involving Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara have drawn 10 of the top 32 regular season crowd figures in NCAA history. With two victories this week, Cal Poly can match the single season program record of 11 wins set in 1995 and equaled in 1998, 2007, 2008, 2012.
FOLLOW CAL POLY THIS WEEK: Dave Grant (Twitter: @DaveCPMustangs) returns to the headset to provide play-by-play detail for Cal Poly's matches versus UC Davis and UC Santa Barbara for GoPoly.com. The pre-match show, which includes an interview with eighth-year Mustang head coach Paul Holocher, gets underway 20 minutes prior to the scheduled kickoff time. Live stats and streaming video from both matches will also be available through GoPoly.com.
MUSTANGS SET THE SCORING TREND: With a 2-1 victory at Sacramento State (Oct. 19), Cal Poly kept its stranglehold as the top goal-scoring team among 198 Division I programs. Aside from ranking first nationally with 35 goals, the Mustangs are second in Division I with 102 points, fourth with 32 assists, fifth with 5.80 points per match and eighth with 2.13 assists per match.
CAL POLY VERSUS UC DAVIS: Through 1-0 scorelines, Cal Poly defeated UC Davis home and away last year and the Mustangs have won five of their previous six home matchups versus the Aggies. Cal Poly leads the Division I series, 9-8-0.
CAL POLY VERSUS UC SANTA BARBARA: Cal Poly looks to improve its home unbeaten run against the rival Gauchos to five successive matches. Following a scoreless draw between the two sides in 2009, Cal Poly topped UC Santa Barbara 2-1 at home in 2010 and 2011 before midfielder George Malki's 77th-minute goal last year provided the Mustangs a 1-0 triumph. Thanks to a 2-1, come-from-behind, overtime win at UC Santa Barbara last year – Cal Poly's first at Harder Stadium in 15 attempts and 14 seasons – the Mustangs swept the 2013 season series from the Gauchos. UC Santa Barbara, however, leads the Division I series 22-12-3.
CENTRAL COAST SERIES A TIGHTLY-CONTESTED AFFAIR: UC Santa Barbara's 2-0 home victory against Cal Poly to close the 2011 regular season broke a streak of nine successive matches between the two programs that were either drawn or decided by one goal. Overall, 11 of the last 12 matches have been decided by one goal or drawn. Each of Cal Poly's five victories in 16 attempts against UC Santa Barbara under head coach Paul Holocher has been a one-goal triumph. Six of those 16 matches since 2006 have gone to overtime. The last time either side scored three goals against the other came on Nov. 3, 2007, when UC Santa Barbara topped Cal Poly at Harder Stadium, 3-1. The Mustangs are undefeated at home against the Gauchos for four straight years and Cal Poly's 2-1, come-from-behind win at UC Santa Barbara last season was the program's first win at Harder Stadium in 14 years and 15 attempts.
CAL POLY-UC SANTA BARBARA SERIES A MASSIVE CENTRAL COAST DRAW: Topping CollegeSoccerNews.com's list of the 14 Greatest Rivalries in College Soccer, the Cal Poly-UC Santa Barbara series has drawn 10 of the top 32 regular season crowd figures in NCAA history with all matches occurring during the previous seven seasons. Last year's matches between the two squads – Cal Poly's 2-1 win at UC Santa Barbara and 1-0 home triumph against the Gauchos – drew 13,467 and 11,075 fans, respectively. The two matches were the two highest attended collegiate soccer games in the United States last year, outranking every NCAA Tournament contest. Since the start of the 2007 season, 114,916 total spectators and an average of 8,208 fans per match have witnessed Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara clash on 14 occasions.
OFFENSIVE RECORDS UNDER ASSAULT: With five matches remaining in the regular season, Cal Poly is approaching single-year program records for team goals, team goals per game, team assists, individual goal scorers and players providing at least one assist and one point:
Team Goals: The program record is 40, established in Cal Poly's inaugural 1994 Division I season. The 2013 Mustangs have already scored 35 times.
Team Goals Per Game: 2.17, set in 1995. The Mustangs lead the Big West with 2.33 goals per match.
Team Assists: 40, also set in 1994. Cal Poly has 32 assists this year through 15 matches.
Individual Goal Scorers: 11, established by the 2009 Mustangs. Ten different players have already scored in 2013.
Individual Players with an Assist: 12, set in 2007 and equaled in 2008. Ten separate Mustangs have assisted on a goal in 2013.
Individual Players with a Point: 16, set in 2007. Twelve different Mustangs have earned a point in 2013.
PRIDHAM REMAINS CAL POLY'S CATALYST: One of 34 players selected to the Hermann Trophy Watch List for most outstanding player in Division I, senior forward Mackenzie Pridham enters Tuesday's match versus UC Davis ranked fourth among Division I attackers with 11 goals, sixth nationally with 24 points and 10th with 0.73 goals per match. An 11-goal scorer for the second successive season, Pridham also leads the Big West in goals and ranks second in points, goals per game and shot attempts (45). Five of 11 goals have been equalizers or game-winning strikes for Pridham, who became just the eighth player in program history to record a hat trick after scoring three times in Cal Poly's 5-1 rout of Air Force (Sept. 27).
PRIDHAM ON THE VERGE OF HISTORY: One of the top attacking talents in program history, Mackenzie Pridham moved to within two goals of the Cal Poly career record of 26 following his two-goal game at Sacramento State (Oct. 19). Set by Clay Harty (1995-96) and equaled by David Zamora (2007-10), the Cal Poly goal-scoring record is one of many career and single season marks Pridham has the opportunity to break this season:
CAL POLY SINGLE SEASON RECORDS
1. Clay Harty (1995): 16
T3. Mackenzie Pridham (2013): 11
T3. Mackenzie Pridham (2012): 11
1. Ryshiem Henderson (1994): 37
T3. Mackenzie Pridham (2013): 24
4. Mackenzie Pridham (2012): 23
1. Clay Harty (1995): 5
T3. Mackenzie Pridham (2013): 3
T4. Mackenzie Pridham (2012): 2
CAL POLY CAREER RECORDS
T1. David Zamora (2007-10), Clay Harty (1995-96): 26
2. Mackenzie Pridham (2009-): 24
1. David Zamora (2007-10): 64
4. Mackenzie Pridham (2009-): 51
1. Clay Harty (1995-96): 6
2. Mackenzie Pridham (2009-): 5
T5. Ari Lassiter (2013-): 2
CHASE WHAT MATTERS – GOALS: The Mustang most responsible for setting up Cal Poly's offensive success this year has been sophomore winger Chase Minter, who leads the Big West and ranks 11th among NCAA Division I players with seven assists. The seven assists – four of which have come on equalizing or game-winning goals – rank fourth in Cal Poly single season history for Minter, who has started 14 of 15 matches for Cal Poly in 2013.
LAGRASSA ENJOYING BREAKOUT ROLE: Forward Matt LaGrassa netted just one goal in 19 appearances and three starts last year, but the sophomore has already found the back of the opposition net six times in 2013. Cal Poly's first TopDrawerSoccer.com National Team of the Week selection in five years after producing the equalizer in a 3-2, come-from-behind win versus Penn (Sept. 13), LaGrassa scored twice in a 6-1 romp past San Jose State (Sept. 15) and currently ranks second among Mustangs in goals after netting most recently at No. 4 Cal State Northridge (Oct. 13). A starter in 12 of 15 games, LaGrassa enters Tuesday's clash versus UC Davis ranked third among Big West players with six goals and ninth with 12 points. Among Division I attackers, LaGrassa ranks 48th in goals scored.
FRESHMEN MAKING AN IMPACT: Cal Poly's 2012 incoming freshman class was ranked No. 12 and its 2013 class No. 34 among CollegeSoccerNews.com's Top Recruiting Classes and both groups are playing starring roles in the program's success this year. Winger Ari Lassiter recorded his second two-goal game of the year in Cal Poly's 5-1 rout of UC Riverside (Oct. 4). Lassiter, who has started five of 15 contests, enters Tuesday's match at UC Davis third among Mustangs and fifth among Big West players with five goals. Lassiter's 13 points also rank second among Mustangs and seventh in Big West play. Winger Justin Dhillon has enjoyed two multi-assist games, most recently setting up Lassiter twice against UC Riverside. Dhillon, who has appeared in 13 of 15 matches with one start, currently ranks fourth among Big West players and 49th nationally with five assists. Forward John Chronopoulos, who redshirted last season, has started 11 of 14 games, scored twice and ranks fourth among Mustangs with three assists.
DRECHSLER GOING OUT WITH A BANG: Senior Connor Drechsler had never registered a collegiate shot on goal in three previous years, but scored with each of his first three career shots on target in victories against Penn (Sept. 13), San Francisco (Sept. 20) and Yale (Sept. 22). Fourth among Mustangs with three goals and a Sept. 24 member of both the TopDrawerSoccer.com and CollegeSoccerNews.com National Teams of the Week, Drechsler has started all 70 games for Cal Poly and is one of only six Mustangs with 70-plus caps.
MUSTANGS FACE NATION'S FINEST IN 2013: In what has become a hallmark of head coach Paul Holocher's eight-season tenure, Cal Poly is again facing one of the more testing schedules in Division I soccer during the 2013 campaign. Continuing with Friday's clash versus UC Santa Barbara, Cal Poly is on pace to contest at least six total matches this season against opponents that are ranked or receiving votes in the NSCAA/Continental Tire Division I Poll.
BIG WEST CONFERENCE EXCELLENCE: Only one Big West program – central coast rival UC Santa Barbara – has totaled more conference points, produced more conference victories and suffered fewer conference defeats than Cal Poly since Mustang head coach Paul Holocher's 2006 arrival.
HELD IN HIGH REGARD: The Mustangs are 10-17-8 against nationally ranked opponents under eighth-year head coach Paul Holocher. Cal Poly's last win against a ranked program was a 3-0 triumph at No. 6 UCLA (Sept. 5), a win that doubles as the best result in program history against a ranked opponent. Cal Poly, which has twice defeated a top-10 opponent at the Division I level, owns six victories against ranked opponents since 2010.
FORTRESS SPANOS: Seven of Cal Poly's opening 12 matches kicked off inside Alex G. Spanos Stadium, a home where the Mustangs are 41-15-8 since the venue's 2007 opening. During the previous six seasons, the Mustangs have recorded 23 shutout victories at home while Cal Poly's goalkeepers have kept 27 clean sheets. Additionally, Cal Poly has drawn 1,000-plus spectators during 49 of 64 matches at Spanos Stadium and sold out the 11,075-capacity complex three times (by contrast, Cal Poly's football team has produced just six sellouts).
SPANOS STADIUM – WHERE ATTENDANCE RECORDS GO TO DIE: Seven of the top 32 best-attended regular season matches in the history of collegiate soccer have occurred at Alex G. Spanos Stadium and all have been recorded since the start of the 2007 season. In total, Cal Poly has been involved in 11 of the top 32 best-attended regular season matches.
MUSTANGS ON THE SPOT: Including Ari Lassiter's strike during a 6-1 win against San Jose State (Sept. 15), Cal Poly has converted 12 of its previous 13 penalty attempts dating to the start of the 2009 season. Cal Poly finished 5-for-5 from the spot in 2009, 3-for-3 in 2010, 2-for-4 in 2011 and was not awarded a penalty attempt in 2012. Aside from Lassiter, Mackenzie Pridham converted a penalty in Cal Poly's win at Drake (Aug. 30) to help the Mustangs to a 2-for-2 start in 2013. By contrast, Cal Poly's opponents have converted 11 of their previous 14 penalties dating to the start of the 2009 season.
MUSTANGS RETURN TO THE SMALL SCREEN: For the fifth time in six years, Cal Poly's Blue-Green rivalry matchup versus UC Santa Barbara will be broadcast live with the Saturday, Nov. 9 showdown at Harder Stadium set for Fox Sports West. The Nov. 9 matchup marks the third successive season that the rivalry has been televised from Harder Stadium. Topping CollegeSoccerNews.com's list of the 14 Greatest Rivalries in College Soccer, the Cal Poly-UC Santa Barbara series has drawn 11 of the top 28 regular season crowd figures in NCAA history. Last year's match at Harder Stadium, televised nationally on Fox Soccer Channel, drew 13,467 fans – the seventh-largest regular season crowd figure in NCAA history and best-attended match in 2012. Since the start of the 2007 season, 114,916 total spectators and an average of 8,208 fans per match have witnessed Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara clash 14 times. On the field, 11 of the last 12 matches between Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara have been decided by a single goal or drawn.
NIGHT TO REMEMBER: Cal Poly's 3-0 triumph at No. 6 UCLA (Sept. 5) produced three historic achievements:
• UCLA was the highest-ranked opponent Cal Poly had ever defeated, eclipsing a 1-0 win at then-No. 7 UC Irvine on Sept. 28, 2011.
• The result was just Cal Poly's second victory against the Bruins in nine attempts and first win at UCLA's Drake Stadium since a 1-0 triumph during the opening round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament.
LOOKING AHEAD (OCT. 28-NOV. 3): Cal Poly wraps the home portion of its 2013 regular season schedule when hosting Sacramento State on Saturday, Nov. 2 at 7 p.m. Cal Poly has won three of its previous four home matchups against Sacramento State, but the Hornets prevailed in last season's Oct. 12 contest at Spanos Stadium, 3-2. The Hornets visit UC Santa Barbara (Oct. 22) and UC Davis (Oct. 26) before heading south for Cal Poly.
ETC.: Cal Poly's 4-2 win at Drake (Aug. 30) improved the program's record in season openers to 13-7-0 … Cal Poly's four-goal outing at Drake marked the program's first four-goal effort since smashing Temple 4-1 on Sept. 14, 2012 … senior midfielder Mike Hocker went four years and 39 appearances between scoring his first (versus Sacramento State; Sept. 18, 2009) and second (at Drake; Aug. 30, 2013) collegiate goals … the 2013 season marks the third successive year Cal Poly has hosted a five-match home stand … Cal Poly is unbeaten in eight successive matches against San Jose State following a 6-1 win (Sept. 15) … Cal Poly's six goals versus San Jose are the third-highest single game total in the nation this year, eclipsed only by Furman's 8-0 victory against Presbyterian (Sept. 13) and New Mexico's 7-2 win against Villanova (Aug. 30) … Chris Bernardi's 45th-minute strike during a 2-0 home win against San Francisco (Sept. 20) was Cal Poly's 100th goal in the seven-year history of Spanos Stadium … Cal Poly's five-match winning streak from Sept. 13-27 matched a program record set Oct. 14-30, 1994 and equalized Sept. 2-21, 2012 … Cal Poly's 19 goals during the five-match winning streak set a program record for offensive productivity over a five-match span … Cal Poly's Oct. 6 home loss against Cal State Fullerton was its first at Spanos Stadium in five matches versus the Titans under eighth-year head coach Paul Holocher … Cal Poly's 3-1 loss at No. 4 Cal State Northridge marked a meeting between the nation's two top-scoring teams while the Matadors were the second-highest ranked opponent in Mustang program history … Cal Poly's 2-1 triumph at Sacramento State (Oct. 19) was the program's first at Hornet Field in six trips north.