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SAN LUIS OBISPO – Returning to the Big West Conference Tournament for the first time in four seasons, the Cal Poly men's soccer program hosts Cal State Fullerton in an opening-round match on Wednesday, Nov. 6. Kickoff time inside Alex G. Spanos Stadium is 7 p.m. for Cal Poly (7-8-1, 3-4-0), which finished the regular season tied for fourth place in the Big West standings on nine points alongside Cal State Fullerton (11-6-1, 3-4-0). The Mustangs, however, earned the opening-round home match after having defeated Cal State Fullerton during the regular season on Oct. 16, 3-1. Cal Poly last hosted a Big West Tournament game in 2015 when the Mustangs eliminated UC Irvine, 1-0, to record the program's first and only Big West Tournament victory. It was Cal State Fullerton, however, that eliminated Cal Poly from that last Big West Tournament appearance with a 3-1 decision at Titan Stadium (Nov. 11, 2015).
LOOKING AHEAD AT THE BIG WEST TOURNAMENT: The advancing program from Wednesday's Cal Poly-Cal State Fullerton match will visit No. 1 seed and Big West regular season champion UC Davis (11-4-2) in a semifinal matchup on Saturday, Nov. 9 at 2 p.m. On the other side of the Big West Tournament bracket, third-seeded UC Irvine hosts No. 6 CSUN in Wednesday's other opening-round match with that advancing program visiting second-seeded UC Santa Barbara in Saturday's second semifinal. The highest remaining seed will host the Big West Tournament championship match on either Friday, Nov. 15 or Saturday, Nov. 16.
2019 Big West Conference Tournament
Wednesday, Nov. 6 (Opening Round)
Cal State Fullerton (5) at Cal Poly (4), 7 p.m.
CSUN (6) at UC Irvine (3), 7 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 9 (Semifinal)
CSF/Cal Poly at No. 1 UC Davis, 2 p.m.
CSUN/UC Irvine at No. 2 UC Santa Barbara, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 9 (Championship)
Semifinal Winners at Highest Remaining Seed, TBA
FOLLOW CAL POLY AT THE BIG WEST TOURNAMENT: Zachary Anderson-Yoxsimer (@Zach_And_Yox) returns to the mic to provide play-by-play detail for Wednesday's matchup versus Cal State Fullerton for GoPoly.com … video and live stats from Wednesday's game will be available via GoPoly.com.
CAL POLY IN THE BIG WEST CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT: The Mustangs have qualified for eight of the 12 Big West Tournaments since the competition began in 2008, but have progressed beyond the opening round just once. That occasion occurred in 2015, when the Mustangs defeated UC Irvine in the opening round (1-0) before being eliminated at Cal State Fullerton (3-1) in the semifinals. Previously, Cal Poly has twice been eliminated at UC Santa Barbara (2008, 2010) and at CSUN (2012-13) and at home by UC Irvine (2009) – each time in the opening round. Cal Poly's only result in Big West Tournament play came in 2008 at UC Santa Barbara as the Mustangs forced a 2-2 draw before being eliminated on penalties, 4-3.
CAL POLY VERSUS CAL STATE FULLERTON: The Mustangs snapped a seven-match winless slide versus the Titans with a 3-1 home triumph on Oct. 16. That victory remains Cal Poly's only home win against the Titans in the last four matchups dating to 2013. The Titans lead the Division I series, 19-13-1.
PEREZ REMAINS AMONG THE NATION'S GOAL-SCORING ELITE: Having scored all nine of his goals in Cal Poly's last 13 matches, junior midfielder Emmanuel Perez enters Wednesday's match versus Cal State Fullerton co-leading the Big West and ranked 37th among NCAA Division I players in total goals. Perez also ranks 16th nationally in game-winning goals (four), 20th in shot accuracy (57.8 percent), 37th in goals, 37th in goals per game (0.60), 43rd in points per game (1.40), 44th in total points (21) and 62nd in shots per game (3.00). Perez, who scored in five straight matches from Sept. 10-26, needs one more goal to record just the sixth double-digit scoring season in program history. His nine goals and 21 points both rank sixth in Cal Poly single season history.
ARCE-HURTADO CEMENTS PLACE BETWEEN THE POSTS: With just three goals conceded from open play during Cal Poly's last 425 minutes, sophomore goalkeeper Carlos Arce-Hurtado has lowered his season goals against average to 1.16. His 16 conceded goals in 15 appearances rank as the third fewest total among Big West goalkeepers. Arce-Hurtado, who owns four shutouts this season, has twice recorded a season high six saves against UC Santa Barbara (Oct. 5) and during Cal Poly's 2-0 home victory versus CSUN (Oct. 20). In Cal Poly program history, Arce-Hurtado – after just 16 collegiate appaearances – ranks third with a 1.14 career goals against average.
ALONSO'S HELPING BOOT: Senior captain Diego Alonso ranks 10th among Big West players with a team leading four assists after setting up Emmanuel Perez's ninth goal of the season during Cal Poly's 2-0 victory against CSUN (Oct. 20). Alonso, second in Cal Poly's lineup with 29 shot attempts, scored his first goal of 2019 to open Cal Poly's 2-1, overtime home win versus No. 24 Loyola Marymount (Sept. 26). Cal Poly's active appearances leader with 55 caps, Alonso also ranks eighth in program history with 11 career assists.
DE LEON'S CAREER YEAR: Having found the back of the net twice in Cal Poly's last seven games – including the 23rd-minute game-winner versus Cal State Fullerton (Oct. 16) – junior forward Angel De Leon ranks second in Cal Poly's lineup with three goals. De Leon, whose only other Cal Poly goal came as a freshman in 2017, also owns two assists to sit second in the Mustang lineup with eight points.
HELD TO A HIGHER STANDARD: An offseason graduate transfer from California, forward Spencer Held ranks second in Cal Poly's lineup alongside Angle De Leon after scoring his third goal of the year to fuel a 1-0 victory at Sacramento State (Oct. 23). The first Mustang with a multi-goal goal effort this season after scoring the opening two during a 3-0 triumph versus Fresno Pacific (Sept. 10), Held ranks third in Cal Poly's lineup with 27 shot attempts.
HOME IS WHERE THE WINS ARE: Cal Poly enters its Nov. 6 matchup versus Cal State Fullerton unbeaten in 29 of its last 39 home matches at Alex G. Spanos Stadium. Overall, Cal Poly is 72-30-16 since the venue's 2007 opening. During the last 13 seasons, the Mustangs have recorded 37 shutout victories at home while Cal Poly's goalkeepers have kept 44 clean sheets. Additionally, Cal Poly has drawn 1,000-plus spectators during 78 of 118 (66.1 percent) matches at Spanos Stadium and sold out the 11,075-capacity complex 10 times.
SPANOS STADIUM – WHERE ATTENDANCE RECORDS ARE RETIRED: Fifteen of the top 60 (25.0 percent) 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 24 of the top 60 (40.0 percent) best-attended regular season matches in collegiate soccer history.