SACRAMENTO – Graduate forward Spencer Held's first goal in 11 games marked the difference Wednesday afternoon for the Cal Poly men's soccer program as the Mustangs dealt Sacramento State a 1-0 defeat at Hornet Soccer Field.
Scoreless through the opening 68 minutes, Held (above) took a feed from graduate midfielder Robert Knights and, after a touch, drove his third goal of 2019 from the top of the penalty area and past Sacramento State goalkeeper Ryan Curtis at the right post. The goal was Held's first since hitting a brace during Cal Poly's 3-0 home victory against Fresno Pacific (Sept. 10) while Knights chalked up his first assist as a Mustang.
The Mustangs outshot Sacramento State, 10-7, and held the Hornets without a shot on goal. Mustang sophomore goalkeeper Carlos Arce-Hurtado enjoyed his second successive shutout and fourth of the season while furthering his streak without conceding a goal to 235 straight minutes.
With the victory, Cal Poly (7-6-1, 3-2-0) retained fourth place in the Big West Conference standings on nine points, but moved within one point of the top spot after UC Santa Barbara (10-3-3, 3-1-1) and UC Davis (9-4-2, 3-1-1) finished in a 1-1 draw Wednesday afternoon. Sharing the points, UC Davis and UC Santa Barbara moved into first place alongside UC Irvine (6-4-5, 3-0-1) on 10 points. UC Irvine dropped a 2-1 decision at Cal State Fullerton late Wednesday.
Cal Poly plays its final road game of the regular season at UC Irvine on Saturday, Oct. 26. Kickoff is 7 p.m.
Sacramento State produced Wednesday's first scoring opportunity as midfielder Oscar Govea struck a free kick on the perimeter of the Mustang penalty area that slammed off the crossbar.
Cal Poly, however, enjoyed the first shots on target with senior captain Diego Alonso stopped by Curtis on 18 minutes before junior midfielder and reigning Big West Offensive Player of the Week honoree Emmanuel Perez was thwarted in the 37th.
Into the second half, Cal Poly produced the game-winning strike with its third shot on target. The Mustangs tested Curtis twice more to close the match with junior defender Freeman Dwamena stopped in the 75th and junior midfielder Enrique Bustamante turned away in the 83rd.