Home Defense Opens versus UC Davis, UC Riverside
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – The Cal Poly men's soccer program opens a four-match Big West Conference home stand beginning with a Wednesday, Oct. 5 contest against UC Davis at 7 p.m. inside Alex G. Spanos Stadium. Action continues against UC Riverside on Sunday, Oct. 9 at 1 p.m. Idle for seven days following their 1-0 upset of No. 7 UC Irvine on Sept. 28, the Mustangs (4-3-2, 1-0-0) have won four-successive home decisions against UC Davis (3-5-2, 1-1-0) at Spanos Stadium and failed to concede a goal during their last three home matches against UC Riverside (6-3-1, 1-1-0).
FOLLOW THE MUSTANGS: GameTracker for Cal Poly's Wednesday matchup versus UC Davis and Sunday contest versus UC Riverside is available HERE.
CARD UPDATE: Senior right back Cameron Walters is ineligible for Wednesday's match versus UC Davis following two cautions and an accompanying red card during Cal Poly's 1-0 victory at No. 7 UC Irvine (Sept. 28).
CHASE WHAT MATTERS … VICTORIES: After recording a career-high eight saves during his first collegiate start to help Cal Poly stun No. 7 UC Irvine, 1-0 (Sept. 28), Mustang freshman goalkeeper Chase Hauser earned Big West Defensive Player of the Week praise on Monday. Senior center back Patrick Sigler's 53rd-minute penalty stood as the winning margin for Cal Poly which, playing a man down for the final 33 minutes, defeated its highest-ranked opponent in program history. The victory was also Cal Poly's first at UC Irvine since prevailing on Nov. 3, 2004. Hauser, who faced 18 total shots from the Anteaters, notched half of his eight saves during the final 32 minutes to preserve the decision. Prior to the game, Hauser's only other previous collegiate experience consisted of a 45-minute stint during Cal Poly's 3-1 loss against Denver (Sept. 25).
BACKLINE REMAINS THE BACKBONE: Cal Poly enters Wednesday's match versus UC Davis having produced a Big West-leading five shutouts, a total that doubles as the fourth-highest figure among Division I programs. Cal Poly's back four of left back Wes Feighner, right back Cameron Walters and center backs Patrick Sigler (above) and Connor Drechsler – who have started 27-successive matches together – have also helped the Mustangs post a conference-leading 0.72 goals-against average, a figure that ranks 25th in Division I. Additionally, Cal Poly has held an opponent to five shots or fewer on three occasions this year.
FRESH FACES EMERGE FOR MUSTANGS: An offseason transfer from Saint Louis, junior forward Benny Estes became the fourth different player to record his first goal as a Mustang when notching during the 72nd-minute against Denver on Sept. 25. Estes also leads Cal Poly with 16 shot attempts. Junior forward Dakota Collins, an offseason transfer from UCLA, leads the Mustangs with a pair of goals after scoring versus Seattle (Sept. 4) and Villanova (Sept. 9). Sophomore forward Ian Clark tallied his first goal as a Mustang during the program's 1-0 season-opening victory against UNLV (Aug. 27). Sophomore forward Mackenzie Pridham collected his first collegiate goal and notched the match-winning strike during a 2-1 victory versus Syracuse (Sept. 16).
SHOTS APLENTY: The Mustangs have scored just seven goals this season, though not through lack of opportunity. Entering Wednesday's match against UC Davis, Cal Poly is averaging 13.3 shots per game compared to the opponent's 8.8 figure. Cal Poly, which produced a season-high 20 shot attempts versus both then-No. 12 West Virginia (Sept. 11) and against Denver (Sept. 25), has outshot its opponent during all but two matches this year.
MUSTANGS ON BEST BEHAVIOR: Cal Poly finds itself at the bottom of the Big West disciplinary chart for the second-consecutive season. The Mustangs enter Wednesday's match versus UC Davis having committed a Big West-low 118 fouls and earning a conference-low 11 yellow cards through nine matches.
BIG WEST EXCELLENCE: Only one Big West program – central coast foe UC Santa Barbara – has totaled more conference points, produced more conference victories and suffered fewer conference defeats than Cal Poly since Mustang head coach Paul Holocher's 2006 arrival. Below are the composite Big West standings since the start of the 2006 conference schedule.
Big West Standings (2006-Present)
1. UC Santa Barbara (36-11-7) – 115
2. Cal Poly (26-15-12) – 90
3. UC Irvine (26-18-10) – 88
4. Cal State Northridge (21-21-12) – 75
5. UC Davis* (19-18-7) – 64
6. Cal State Fullerton(15-33-5) – 50
7. UC Riverside (9-37-8) – 35
*Joined Big West in 2007
FORTRESS SPANOS: Four of Cal Poly's initial five Big West contests will take place inside Alex G. Spanos Stadium, a venue where the Mustangs are 27-7-8 since the venue's 2007 opening. During the past four-plus seasons, the Mustangs have recorded 17 shutout victories at home and Cal Poly's goalkeepers have kept 19 clean sheets. Additionally, Cal Poly has drawn 1,000-plus spectators during 31 of its 42 matches at the complex.
HELD IN HIGH REGARD: Following Cal Poly's 1-0 upset of then-No. 7 UC Irvine – the highest-ranked opponent the program has ever defeated – the Mustangs are 7-13-8 against nationally-ranked opposition under sixth-year head coach Paul Holocher. UC Irvine also ranks as the only top-10 program the Mustangs have defeated at the Division I level.
MUSTANGS FACE NATION'S FINEST IN 2011: In what has become a hallmark of head coach Paul Holocher's tenure, Cal Poly is again facing one of the more testing schedules in Division I soccer during the 2011 campaign. Continuing with an Oct. 14 home clash versus No. 19 UC Santa Barbara, 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.
LOOKING AHEAD (OCT. 10-16): Cal Poly closes its four-match home stand when hosting Cal State Northridge on Tuesday, Oct. 11 before central coast rival and 19th-ranked UC Santa Barbara visits on Friday, Oct. 14. Both matches kick off at 7 p.m. Big West-leading Cal State Northridge (5-4-1, 2-0-0) visits No. 7 UC Irvine on Saturday, Oct. 8. The cellar-dwelling Gauchos (6-3-1, 0-2-0) host No. 3 Akron on Fox Soccer Channel on Wednesday, Oct. 5 before visiting UC Davis on Oct. 8.
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 63 of 64 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.
ETC.: Cal Poly's only victory when getting outshot this season was a 1-0 triumph at then-No. 7 UC Irvine (Sept. 28) … senior center back Patrick Sigler's match-winning penalty at UC Irvine (Sept. 28) was Cal Poly ninth converted penalty during its previous 10 opportunities from the spot dating to 2008 … a 2-0 halftime deficit versus Denver (Sept. 25) marks the only time Cal Poly has trailed at the break this season … senior forward Kyle Montgomery's 14th-minute strike versus Syracuse (Sept. 16) marks the only time Cal Poly has scored during a first half this season … Cal Poly's Aug. 27 victory versus UNLV marked sixth-year head coach Paul Holocher's 100th match in charge of the Mustangs … Cal Poly's five-match home stand to open the regular season was the third longest such streak in program history (the Mustangs went 4-0-3 to close the 1997 season and also played six-successive home matches during the 2006 campaign).