SANTA BARBARA – Junior goalkeeper Eric Kam (above) recorded a pair of saves, but in front of 11,424 spectators inside Harder Stadium – the 12th-largest regular season attendance figure in NCAA history – the Cal Poly men's soccer program finished in the first scoreless draw with Blue-Green rival UC Santa Barbara in seven years on Saturday evening.
In the first scoreless draw between the two rival programs in 14 meetings and since a 0-0 finish in San Luis Obispo on Oct. 4, 2009, the Mustangs were outshot 8-2, but saw a goal disallowed in the first half for a foul and during the second for offsides.
The draw was Cal Poly's third in as many years at UC Santa Barbara after the Mustangs forced 2-2 decisions in 2014 and 2015. Including a 2012 victory at Harder Stadium, Cal Poly in unbeaten at UC Santa Barbara in four of the last five trips south.
Saturday's decision marked the 17th time in the last 20 meetings between Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara that a match in the series has been decided by a single goal or drawn. Four of the last six matchups between the two sides have gone to overtime.
With Saturday's draw, Cal Poly (3-9-3, 1-5-2; five points) moved within four points of third-place UC Davis (7-8-2, 3-5-0; nine points) in the Big West Conference North Division standings. The two sides meet on Wednesday, Oct. 26 in Davis. UC Santa Barbara (9-5-3, 5-0-3) retained its grip on first place with 18 points while Sacramento State (8-6-2, 4-3-1) stayed second and improved to 13 points after defeating UC Davis earlier Saturday, 2-1.
The top three teams in the Big West North Division standings qualify for the Nov. 5, 9 and 12 Big West Tournament.
With his 79th career start for Cal Poly Saturday evening, senior defender Kody Wakasa matched the program record held by defender Patrick Sigler (2008-11).
UC Santa Barbara enjoyed the game's first scoring opportunity, but Wakasa cleared a fifth-minute shot from Gaucho forward Nick DePuy off the goal line after Kam had been drawn out following an initial attempt by forward Ahinga Selemani.
The Mustangs responded with their first attempt on eight minutes, but sophomore forward Grote saw his scissor kick from 15 yards collected by UC Santa Barbara goalkeeper Titouan Le Roux.
The Gauchos enjoyed the next two chances to find the opening goal, but DePuy headed an attempt off the crossbar in the 23rd before heading over the bar following a 30th-minute free kick from defender Randy Mendoza.
Ninety seconds into the second half, Cal Poly saw a goal from Wakasa ruled offsides before senior forward Justin Dhillon whistled a free kick over the Gaucho crossbar in the 55th minute.
At the other end of Harder Stadium, Kam kept the match scoreless by diving to his right to parry away a 73rd-minute shot from Selemani.