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In Front of Nation’s Largest Crowd, Cal Poly Rolls Past UCSB, 4-1

In Front of Nation’s Largest Crowd, Cal Poly Rolls Past UCSB, 4-1

SAN LUIS OBISPO – Seniors Adam Olsen and Kaba Alkebulan (above) both found the back of the UC Santa Barbara net in their final matches at Alex G. Spanos Stadium as the Cal Poly men's soccer program, in front of a sellout crowd of 11,075 fans – the 14th largest regular season crowd figure in NCAA history and the largest crowd to see a collegiate match in 2017 – scored four unanswered goals to rout the Gauchos, 4-1.

Junior Jared Pressley and sophomore Kenneth Higgins bookended the scoring Saturday for the Mustangs (7-10-1, 3-6-1), who snapped a four-match winless drought versus Blue-Green rival UC Santa Barbara (6-7-5, 4-3-3).

Saturday's attendance figure marked the Cal Poly program's eighth sellout of Spanos Stadium since 2008.

The best-attended sporting event annually in San Luis Obispo County, the Cal Poly-UC Santa Barbara series has drawn 20 of the top 53 regular season crowd figures in NCAA history with all matches occurring during the previous 11 seasons. The 12 combined matches between Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara during the last six years are the 12 highest attended collegiate soccer games in the United States, outranking every NCAA Championship and College Cup contest since the beginning of the 2012 season.

The 11,075-fan figure also helped Cal Poly surpass the quarter-million mark for attendance at Spanos Stadium. In 103 matches at Spanos Stadium since the first game at the complex – a 1-0 victory versus Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Sept. 9, 2007 – the Cal Poly men's soccer program has drawn 259,809 combined spectators.

Saturday's result marked the first time one squad in the Blue-Green rivalry series had scored as many as four goals against the other since UC Santa Barbara defeated Cal Poly 5-1 on Nov. 9, 2001. It also marked just the third time in 24 meetings since 2007 that one side has defeated the other by more than a single goal.

Cal Poly, previously eliminated from contention for the Nov. 1, 4 and 10 Big West Conference Tournament, placed six of its eight shots on target. UC Santa Barbara, which entered Saturday's match in second place in the Big West North Division standings on 15 points, can be overtaken – and lose the opportunity to host an opening-round match in the Big West Tournament – by third-place Sacramento State should the Hornets defeat North Division champion UC Davis on Sunday.

During Saturday's match, UC Santa Barbara opened the scoring in the 19th minute as forward Rodney Michael's shot from 15 yards was deflected into the Mustang net.

Cal Poly's first shot on target Saturday came on 28 minutes with Angle De Leon turned away by UC Santa Barbara goalkeeper Alan Carillo.

The Mustangs, however, broke through two minutes before the break. Having entered the match just 37 seconds prior, Pressley flicked a pass from the left of UC Santa Barbara's net in front of goal for Higgins, who smashed his first goal of 2017 past Carillo to level the game.

Cal Poly then grabbed the lead four minutes into the second half as senior defender Tony Scimeca latched on to a loose ball in the Gaucho penalty area and slid a pass out right for Olsen, who fired his team-leading sixth goal of the season past Carillo.

Three minutes later, Olsen lobbed a ball toward the left post for Alkebulan. Cal Poly's active leader for career appearances, Alkebulan – in his 69th and final game for the Mustangs – headed his fourth goal of 2017 to the far post.

Pressley then completed the scoring 24 minutes from full time as he took an upfield pass from sophomore forward Diego Alonso and lashed a shot from 20 yards into the upper right corner.

Photo courtesy of Alexander Boehlen.