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Cal Poly Heads to Pacific Northwest to Take On Gonzaga, Seattle

Cal Poly Heads to Pacific Northwest to Take On Gonzaga, Seattle

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Cal Poly will make its first of two trips to the Pacific Northwest this season in the week ahead, traveling to take on Gonzaga at 7 p.m. Friday before visiting Seattle U for a 1 p.m. kickoff Sunday. Only a week later, the Mustang women's soccer team will venture back to the northwest to continue non-conference play facing Washington State in Pullman on Sept. 16.

Gonzaga, off to a 2-1-1 start to the year, is led by India Jencks with two goals and an assist, while Madeline Gotta, a preseason All-WCC selection, has played a team-high 392 minutes in the back line.

Isabel Jones maintains a 0.93 GAA along with a .778 save percentage for the Bulldogs. A WCC-TV stream will be available from Spokane's Luger Field on Sept. 7.

Seattle U, which also begins this week 2-1-1, features a duo of Preseason All-WAC honorees in defenders Hannah Carrothers and Rachel Bowler, as well as 2017 all-conference pick Jessie Ray, back from a squad that made a record fifth consecutive appearance in the WAC Tournament Championship.

Ray has a team-leading four goals plus two assists for the Redhawks, while Ariana Romero & Mackenzie Curry have each split time between the posts in 2018, combining for a 0.95 GAA along with a .778 save percentage. A WAC Network broadcast will be streamed live from Championship Field on Sept. 9.

The Mustangs (0-3-2) are coming off a 1-1 draw with San Jose State followed by a 3-2 loss to Utah Valley at home this past Thursday and Sunday.

Against SJSU, Sydney Knauer scored Cal Poly's goal off a 34th-minute cross from fellow senior Ashley Kirchick, before the Spartans equalized eight minutes into the second half.

Georgina Stiegeler, a 2017 All-Big West Freshman Team selection, scored (15') on an assist from Chelsea Barry against the Wolverines, before Clare Murphy assisted fellow freshman Brooke Rubinstein (52') to provide a 2-1 lead. UVU rallied late, however, with goals in the 82nd & 85th minutes to leave Alex G. Spanos Stadium with the comeback victory.

BARRY ENTERS RECORD BOOK: Cal Poly senior defender Chelsea Barry moved into the Mustang record book in two categories this past week.

With her assist to Stiegeler against Utah Valley, she reached a career total of 10 while playing mostly in the back line, tying for No. 15 on Cal Poly's all-time assists leaderboard.

Additionally, the Utah Valley match was the 59th start of her career, tying Barry for No. 23 in school history.

Barry, selected to the Big West Preseason All-Conference Team Aug. 9, earned All-West Region third-team honors in 2017.

FRESHMEN FACTOR: The Murphy-Rubinstein combination against Utah Valley wasn't the first instance of freshmen making an immediate impact in the Mustang attack this fall.

Freshmen accounted for all five Mustang goals between two preseason events, a 2-2 Green vs. Gold intrasquad draw Aug. 4 and a 1-0 exhibition win over Westmont Aug. 8. The five goals included two in a five-day span by Mackenzie George, from Roseville, Calif. via Woodcreek High, one of 24 players called to attend the USWNT U-19 training camp this past May.

George tallied a 61st-minute equalizer for the Gold team in the intrasquad before scoring again (4') against Westmont.

Cal Poly's other goals during the scrimmage came courtesy of Brooke Rubinstein (15'), Brooke Oleson (40') and Ava McCray (55'). Two more freshmen have taken almost the entirety of corner kicks, as Monserrat Hernandez Marquez and Emily Talmi have lined up 12 and 11 corners apiece, respectively, through five matches.

JOHNSON KNOCKING ON THE DOOR: Mustang junior forward Jessica Johnson starts the week No. 1 in the Big West in shots on goal per game, averaging 1.8. Johnson is taking 3.8 total shots per match, for an on-target percentage of .474. Johnson, an All-Big West Freshman honoree in 2016, has tallied seven goals as a Mustang.

TOP 25 OPPONENTS: In addition to USC (which moved up to No. 4 this week, following a 6-1 win against the Mustangs on Aug. 24), Cal Poly will soon face three more foes ranked in the Top 25 of Tuesday's coaches poll: No. 1 Stanford (Sept. 13), No. 12 Santa Clara (Sept. 21) and No. 17 Washington State (Sept. 16), each on the road.

CONFERENCE PLAY STARTS SEPT. 28: Big West action commences Friday, Sept. 28 in Spanos Stadium against CSUN.

The top four schools in the conference's regular-season standings qualify for the Big West Tournament, scheduled for Nov. 1 (semifinals) and Nov. 4 (the championship match). The Big West table awards 3 points per win and 1 per draw.

Defending regular-season champion UC Irvine will host the tournament provided the Anteaters make the four-team field. If, however, UCI doesn't qualify, hosting rights would then go to this year's No. 1 seed, a new format for 2018.

FOLLOW THE MUSTANGS: Mustang tickets are available at GoPoly.com, by calling (805) 756-4849 or by visiting the sidewalk window at the on-campus Performing Arts Center from 12 noon to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. All Sunday games at Spanos Stadium are Youth Days, with free admission for kids 13-and-under. This fall's additional Youth Days are vs. Cal Baptist (on Sept. 23, part of Week of Welcome around campus, at 1 p.m.), UC Davis (Sept. 30 at 12 noon) and UC Santa Barbara (Oct. 28 for a 2 p.m. Blue-Green Rivalry Senior Day).

Families are also encouraged to sign up for the Mustang Kids Club ($10 per child 8th grade or under), as over $300 in benefits include ongoing free admission to all 2018-19 regular-season soccer, volleyball, wrestling & women's basketball events along with select football, men's basketball and baseball games; plus invitations to exclusive events; opportunities to be an honorary captain at Mustang home games; a birthday card from Musty; free gelato at SLO Sweets every month (along with birthday scavenger hunts) and a T-Shirt.

Cal Poly students always get into games for free, and are also invited to join the Stang Gang. Stang Gang, Cal Poly's student fan group, features several rewards for a $10 one-time lifetime registration fee, including prizes from sponsors such as Adidas, Amazon, SLO Sweets, Woodstock's Pizza, Eureka! Burger, Splash Café and Frank's Famous Hot Dogs, a member T-Shirt, and more upon reaching point levels by checking in at games.

Links to follow Mustang games live throughout the season can be found above, on the schedule page or via the GoPoly Front Row app.

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Photos © Owen Main