SAN LUIS OBISPO – Junior midfielder Diego Alonso's 64th-minute goal helped decide the 2018 Blue-Green rivalry opening match Sunday evening as the Cal Poly men's soccer program – in front of a sellout crowd of 11,075 fans that matched the 14th largest regular season crowd figure in NCAA history – edged UC Santa Barbara inside Alex G. Spanos Stadium, 1-0.
Senior goalkeeper Simon Boehme chalked up three saves for Cal Poly (4-4-1), which saw Alonso (above, center) notch just his second career goal in 34 appearances. It was senior defender Nick Carroll – making just his fourth appearance of the season – who earned the assist after taking a pass from senior midfielder Jose Rivera and centering for Alonso.
With his second shot of the evening, Alonso's attempt deflected off of a UC Santa Barbara defender, over the arms of Gaucho goalkeeper Ben Roach and under the crossbar for the 1-0 lead.
Boehme, who produced his first save in the 37th minute and two more in the 59th and 60th, preserved his sixth career shutout by tipping a loose ball over the cross bar two minutes from full time.
Sunday's crowd figure of 11,075 marked the largest NCAA crowd of 2018, the eighth consecutive season that Cal Poly's matchup versus UC Santa Barbara at Spanos Stadium has sold out and the Mustang program's ninth total home sellout.
The 13 combined matches between Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara during the last seven years are the 13 highest attended collegiate soccer games in the United States, outranking every NCAA Championship and College Cup contest since the beginning of the 2012 season.
In the first non-conference match between the two sides in 19 seasons, Sunday's match marked the 19th time in the last 22 meetings between Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara that a game was decided by a single goal or drawn.
Cal Poly opens Big West action with a 3 p.m. matchup at No. 17 UC Davis on Wednesday, Oct. 3.