COMPLETE WEEKLY PREVIEW (pdf)
SAN LUIS OBISPO – The Cal Poly men's soccer program opens its lengthiest home stand in two seasons – a four-match stretch at Alex G. Spanos Stadium – against CSUN on Thursday, Oct. 6 and UC Irvine on Saturday, Oct. 8. Kickoff both evenings is 7 p.m. for Cal Poly (2-6-1, 0-2-0), which is undefeated in a program record 12 straight home matches and has conceded just one goal in three games and 290 minutes at Spanos Stadium this season. Owners of the nation's 10th toughest schedule, Cal Poly enters Thursday's meeting with CSUN leading the Big West in fewest goals conceded (12). CSUN (5-4-1, 2-0-0) arrives Thursday having won three straight matches and as the Big West South Division leader with six points. UC Irvine (2-9-0, 0-2-0), meanwhile, sits bottom of the South Division on zero points after dropping seven of its previous eight matches.
FOLLOW CAL POLY THIS WEEK: Max Milander (@MustangMax1) provides play-by-play detail for Cal Poly's Saturday matchup versus UC Irvine for GoPoly.com HERE. Live stats and streaming video for both of this week's matchups will also be available via GoPoly.com HERE.
CAL POLY VERSUS CSUN: A 1-0 victory against the Matadors last season and a 2-1 triumph at home in 2014 provides Cal Poly its first winning streak against the Matadors since earning three straight decisions from 1994-96. CSUN, however, leads the all-time series 15-10-6 with Cal Poly having defeated the Matadors at home just once (Oct. 5, 2014) in the previous four matchups at Spanos Stadium.
CAL POLY VERSUS UC IRVINE: After a 1-0 victory during last year's Big West Tournament opening round, Cal Poly takes a three-match unbeaten run against UC Irvine into Saturday's matchup (the Mustangs produced 1-1 draws against UC Irvine during the 2015 and 2014 regular seasons). The Anteaters lead the all-time series, 14-10-8.
CLOSE, BUT ... : Four of Cal Poly's six defeats this season have been by a solitary goal. Including a 1-0 victory against No. 6 UCLA (Sept. 23), Cal Poly is 1-4-1 in one-goal matches thus far.
BEST OF THE BEST: Cal Poly's 17-match schedule ranks as the 10th toughest among 206 Division I programs with Mustang opponents chalking up a 43-22-7 combined record entering play this week. Only one other Big West program ranks among the nation's top 40 teams – UC Irvine, whose combined opponents are 52-31-13.
DHILLON REMAINS CAL POLY'S OFFENSIVE CATALYST: Scorer of five of Cal Poly's seven goals this season after notching the game-winner against No. 6 UCLA (Sept. 23), senior forward Justin Dhillon enters Thursday's match versus CSUN ranked third among Big West players in goals and goals per game (0.56) and fifth in shot attempts (25). Dhillon, averaging 0.20 goals per shot attempt, recorded the ninth hat trick in program history during a 4-1 win against Fresno Pacific (Sept. 11). Cal Poly's leading active goalscorer, Dhillon ranks 10th in program history for both career goals (13) and points (36).
KAM SECURES CAL POLY BETWEEN THE POSTS: Cal Poly's starter in goal for six successive matches and in seven of the last eight, junior Eric Kam enters Thursday's clash against CSUN ranked third among Big West goalkeepers in goals against average (1.11) and fifth in save percentage (.724). Kam, who chalked up his second career shutout during Cal Poly's 1-0 home victory versus UCLA (Sept. 23), has conceded just three goals in his last 417 minutes played.
WAKASA THE COMMUTATE MUSTANG: On pace to become the most capped player in program history, senior defender Kody Wakasa requires just five more appearances to eclipse the 79-match record held jointly by defender Patrick Sigler (2008-11) and forward David Zamora (2007-10). Wakasa has started 30 successive matches for Cal Poly and started during 73 of his 75 total appearances (97.3 percent). Ranked third all-time in starts and sixth in appearances, Wakasa remains one of just nine players in program history with 70-plus starts. Offensively, Wakasa scored his second career goal during a 2-1 loss at Cal State Fullerton (Sept. 29).
HIGGINS MAKING HIS MARK: A starter in eight of nine matches, freshman midfielder Kenneth Higgins is the only Mustang aside from Justin Dhillon and Kody Wakasa to have notched a goal this season after producing the eventual game-winner versus Fresno Pacific (Sept. 11). Higgins also ranks second in Cal Poly's lineup with 15 shot attempts.
MUSTANGS FACE NATION'S FINEST IN 2016: Four of Cal Poly's 17 regular season matches will take place against programs ranked or receiving votes in the NSCAA Division I poll. Additionally, Cal Poly's Sept. 11 opponent – Fresno Pacific – was ranked No. 14 in the NSCAA Division II poll and the Mustangs also hosted No. 1 Stanford for an Aug. 17 exhibition.
HOME IS WHERE THE WINS ARE: Undefeated at home last year and unbeaten through three matches in 2016, Cal Poly's undefeated streak at Alex G. Spanos Stadium stands at 12 successive matches (the Mustangs have never lost at home under second-year head coach Steve Sampson). Overall, Cal Poly is 56-19-15 since the venue's 2007 opening. During the last 10 seasons, the Mustangs have recorded 30 shutout victories at home while Cal Poly's goalkeepers have kept 37 clean sheets. Additionally, Cal Poly has drawn 1,000-plus spectators during 63 of 90 (70.0 percent) matches at Spanos Stadium and sold out the 11,075-capacity complex six times.
SPANOS STADIUM – WHERE ATTENDANCE RECORDS GO TO DIE: Ten of the top 46 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 16 of the top 46 best-attended regular season matches in collegiate soccer history.
ETC.: Matchups at No. 8 North Carolina (Aug. 26) and No. 5 Wake Forest (Aug. 28) marked the first time in program history that Cal Poly had opened a season against successive ranked opponents ... Cal Poly fell to 14-9-0 in season opener at the Division I level following a 3-0 defeat at No. 8 North Carolina (Aug. 26) ... Cal Poly matched a program record by conceding just three shot attempts to No. 11 San Diego State as part of a scoreless draw (Sept. 17) ... Cal Poly's 1-0 victory against No. 6 UCLA (Sept. 23) was the program's first win against a top 10 first victory against top 10 ranked opponent since defeating UCLA – also ranked sixth at the time – in Los Angeles on Sept. 5, 2013 ... Cal Poly fell to 7-7-2 in Big West openers and dropped its first Big West-opening game since 2006 with a 2-1 loss at Cal State Fullerton (Sept. 29).