Mustangs Welcome Villanova, No. 12 West Virginia
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – The Cal Poly men's soccer program completes a five-match home stand at Alex G. Spanos Stadium and opens a three-match stretch against Big East Conference opposition when hosting Villanova on Friday, Sept. 9 at 7 p.m. and No. 12 West Virginia on Saturday, Sept. 11 at 1 p.m. The Mustangs (1-1-1), who saw an eight-match home unbeaten run snapped with Sunday's 2-1, double-overtime loss against Seattle, registered a 2-2-2 mark against ranked opponents last season. West Virginia (2-1-0), which reached the second round of the 2010 NCAA Tournament before falling against eventual national champion Akron, plays at sixth-ranked UC Santa Barbara on Friday evening. Villanova (2-0-1) rounds off its road trip at UC Santa Barbara on Sunday.
FOLLOW THE MUSTANGS: GameTracker for all of Cal Poly's home matches during the 2011 season is available HERE.
CAL POLY VERSUS VILLANOVA AND WEST VIRGINIA: The Mustangs have never previously played either Villanova or West Virginia and, through 18 Division I seasons, faced just two Big East Conference opponents (Cal Poly dropped a 2-1 decision at Boston College on Aug. 31, 1997 before falling at Notre Dame last season, 5-1).
BACKLINE THE BACKBONE: During a 1-0 victory versus UNLV (Aug. 27) and a scoreless draw against New Mexico (Sept. 2), Cal Poly's back four of left back Wes Feighner, right back Cameron Walters and center backs Patrick Sigler and Connor Drechsler – who have started 21-straight contests together – helped match a five-year-old program record by allowing just three total shots during each contest. Under sixth-year head coach Paul Holocher, Cal Poly has held an opponent to eight shots or fewer during 22 of 102 matches. Cal Poly also failed to concede a goal for the opening 272 minutes of the season, a streak eclipsed only by the 1998 Mustangs, who posted three-successive shutouts to begin the year.
McLAIN CONTINUES FINE FORM: An All-Big West Conference second team selection last season, senior goalkeeper Patrick McLain recorded a single save during Cal Poly's scoreless draw against New Mexico (Sept. 2) to chalk up his 12th career clean sheet. McLain, who set a Cal Poly program record last year by recording a .835 save percentage, enters Friday's match versus Villanova with a 0.58 goals-against average.
COLLINS MAKES HIS MARK: Junior forward Dakota Collins, an offseason transfer from UCLA, scored his first collegiate goal during Cal Poly's 2-1 double-overtime loss against Seattle (Sept. 4). Collins, who has come on as a substitute during all three matches this season, leads Cal Poly with nine shot attempts.
MUSTANGS HIT HOME STRETCH: Cal Poly's five-match home stand to open the regular season is the third longest such streak in program history. The lengthiest home stand in program history occurred in 1997, when the Mustangs closed the year with a 4-0-3 mark. Cal Poly also played six-successive home matches during the 2006 campaign.
FORTRESS SPANOS: Cal Poly's first five matches and four of its initial five Big West contests take place inside Spanos Stadium, a venue where the Mustangs have compiled a 26-6-7 mark since the 2007 opening. During the past four seasons, the Mustangs have recorded 16 shutout victories at home and Cal Poly's goalkeepers have kept 19 clean sheets. Additionally, Cal Poly has drawn 1,000-plus spectators during 28 of its 39 matches at the complex.
MUSTANGS FACE NATION'S FINEST IN 2010: In what has become a hallmark of sixth-year head coach Paul Holocher's tenure, Cal Poly will again face one of the more testing schedules in Division I soccer during the 2011 campaign. Continuing with a Sept. 11 home clash versus No. 12 West Virginia, Cal Poly will contest six total matches this season against programs that qualified for the 2010 NCAA Tournament.
MUSTANGS RETURN TO THE SMALL SCREEN: Fox Soccer Channel optioned Cal Poly's Nov. 4 match at UC Santa Barbara, marking the second-successive season and third time in four years that the two rivals have appeared on national television. On FSC last season and before 8,125 spectators – the 13th-largest regular season attendance figure in NCAA history – Chris Gaschen's 93rd-minute strike delivered the Mustangs a 2-1 home victory against UC Santa Barbara. FSC also carried Cal Poly's 2008 home match versus the nationally-ranked Gauchos.
SPANOS STADIUM – WHERE ATTENDANCE RECORDS GO TO DIE: Five of the top-21 best-attended regular season matches in the history of collegiate soccer have occurred at Spanos Stadium and all have been recorded since the start of the 2007 season. In total, Cal Poly has been involved in seven of the top 21 best-attended matches.
FEIGHNER SELECTED FOR LOWE'S SENIOR CLASS AWARD: Wes Feighner (Los Alamitos, Calif.) made athletics department history on Aug. 17 by becoming the first men's soccer player and just the second Cal Poly athlete to be named as a candidate for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. Feighner, a three-year captain who has started 54 of 55 games during his career, is one of 30 finalists for the honor, which recognizes outstanding performances in the classroom, community and on the playing field. A kinesiology major, Feighner was honored in March as Cal Poly's Big West Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year for the 2010-11 academic term. A seven-time selection to the Dean's List at Cal Poly, Feighner was also named to the Big West Academic Fall All-Conference team in 2009 and 2010. On the field, Feighner earned All-Big West and NSCAA All-Far West Region second team praise last year after starting all 18 of Cal Poly's matches and compiling three assists. Feighner's disciplinary record is nearly spotless, with just one yellow card in 55 matches. In the community, Feighner volunteers time for clinics at local schools through Cal Poly's Student of the Game program and has helped local AYSO coaches organize practices and strategize for matches. As a kinesiology major and through the department's PolyFIT program, Feighner helps administer body composition tests for students to be aware of potential cardiovascular disease and other health risks. The list of 30 candidates for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award will be narrowed to 10 finalists midway through the regular season.
LOOKING AHEAD (SEPT. 12-18): Cal Poly hits the road for the first time this season to face Syracuse (Sept. 16) and No. 4 Akron (Sept. 18) at the University of Akron Tournament. Defending national champion Akron is unbeaten in an NCAA-record 40-straight matches at FirstEnergy Stadium–Cub Cadet Field. The Zips (2-0-1) visit Saint Louis (Sept. 10) before hosting New Mexico on Fox Soccer Channel. Syracuse (1-2-0) hosts Adelphi (Sept. 8) and American (Sept. 11) before facing Cal Poly.
ETC.: Cal Poly's Aug. 27 victory versus UNLV marked sixth-year head coach Paul Holocher's 100th match in charge of the Mustangs … after converting just three of nine penalty attempts from 2006-08, Cal Poly has buried its last eight tries from the spot.