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Mustang Men's Soccer Hits the Road in Pursuit of Big West Lead

Mustang Men's Soccer Hits the Road in Pursuit of Big West Lead

COMPLETE WEEKLY RELEASE (pdf)

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – The Cal Poly men's soccer program finds itself deadlocked in a three-way knot for second place in the Big West Conference standings for the second-successive week as the Mustangs visit Cal State Fullerton on Wednesday, Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. and UC Davis on Saturday, Oct. 22 at 3 p.m. The Mustangs (6-5-2, 3-2-0), playing away from Alex G. Spanos Stadium for the first time in 21 days, are locked in the second-place struggle with UC Davis (5-6-2, 3-2-0) and Cal State Northridge (6-6-1, 3-2-0). All three programs trail a seventh-ranked UC Irvine (12-3-0, 4-1-0) team that hosts UC Davis on Wednesday. Cal State Fullerton (6-4-3, 0-3-1), meanwhile, sits bottom of the Big West table on one point.

FOLLOW THE MUSTANGS: Streaming video for Cal Poly's Wednesday matchup at Cal State Fullerton and GameTracker for the Saturday showdown at UC Davis is available via GoPoly.com.

CAL POLY VERSUS CAL STATE FULLERTON: Under sixth-year head coach Paul Holocher, Cal Poly has won eight of nine matches against Cal State Fullerton and prevailed during the last three meetings at Titan Stadium. Cal Poly's last visit to Titan Stadium resulted in 1-0, Big West-opening victory on Sept. 30, 2009.

CAL POLY VERSUS UC DAVIS: UC Davis snapped a four-match losing streak at Spanos Stadium on Oct. 5 and the Aggies enter Saturday's matchup versus Cal Poly with a similarly adept home mark versus the Mustangs. Cal Poly has never won a match at Aggie Soccer Field since UC Davis joined the Big West in 2007, chalking up a 0-4 mark during the last four visits north.

WIN, LOSE OR ... WIN OR LOSE: Cal Poly has played Cal State Fullerton 24 times at the Division I level and faced UC Davis a further 14 times, but, through 38 combined matches against the Titans and Aggies, the Mustangs have never drawn against either opponent. 

BACKLINE REMAINS THE BACKBONE: Cal Poly enters Wednesday's match at Cal State Fullerton having conceded just 11 goals in 13 matches and owning conference bests for shutouts (six) and goals-against average (0.80). Nationally, Cal Poly's six clean sheets rank as the fifth highest total among Division I sides while the program's goals-against average is 27th. Leading Cal Poly's defensive prowess is the back four of left back Wes Feighner, right back Cameron Walters (above) and center backs Patrick Sigler and Connor Drechsler, who have started 30 of the previous 31 matches together. Already this season, Cal Poly has held an opponent to a single-digit shot total on seven occasions.

MUSTANGS SPREAD THE WEALTH: Cameron Walters became the ninth different Mustang to find the back of the opposition net this season when notching the equalizing goal during a 2-1 home triumph against then-No. 13 UC Santa Barbara (Oct. 14). The 2009 Mustangs set the program record for individual goalscorers at 13. Additionally, 13 different Mustangs have registered a point this season. That total marks a program record established by the 2008 Mustangs and matched a season later.

FRESH FACES EMERGE IN FRONT OF GOAL: Freshman forward Nolan Moore became the fifth different player to record his first goal as a Mustang when notching during the 85th minute against UC Riverside (Oct. 9). An offseason transfer from Saint Louis, junior forward Benny Estes bagged his first Mustang goal against Denver (Sept. 25). Estes ranks second among Mustangs with 21 shot attempts this year. Junior forward Dakota Collins, an offseason transfer from UCLA, co-leads the Mustangs with a pair of goals after scoring versus Seattle (Sept. 4) and Villanova (Sept. 9). Also scoring for the first time in a Mustang shirt are sophomore forwards Ian Clark and Mackenzie Pridham, who brought their season tallies to two goals apiece after finding the back of the net during Cal Poly's 5-0 romp versus UC Riverside.

MUSTANGS ON THE SPOT: Patrick Sigler's 90th-minute penalty against then-No. 13 UC Santa Barbara (Oct. 14) marked Cal Poly's 10th conversion during its last 11 attempts from the spot dating to the 2008 campaign. A perfect 5-for-5 from the spot in 2009, the Mustangs hit all three penalties last year. The Mustangs missed against Denver (Sept. 25), but Sigler converted a penalty during Cal Poly's 1-0 upset victory at No. 7 UC Irvine (Sept. 28).

SHOTS APLENTY: Five of the program's 14 goals this season came during one match, but Cal Poly's inability to find the back of the net isn't due to lack of opportunity. Entering Wednesday's match at Cal State Fullerton, Cal Poly is averaging 14.1 shots per game compared to the opponent's 9.1 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 10 of 13 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 at Cal State Fullerton having committed a Big West-low 157 fouls and rank second with just 19 yellow cards.

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.

FORTRESS SPANOS: Ten of Cal Poly's opening 13 matches occurred inside Alex G. Spanos Stadium, a home where the Mustangs are 29-9-8 since the venue's 2007 opening. During the past four-plus seasons, the Mustangs have recorded 18 shutout victories at home and Cal Poly's goalkeepers have kept 22 clean sheets. Additionally, Cal Poly has drawn 1,000-plus spectators during 34 of 46 matches at Spanos Stadium and twice sold out the 11,075-capacity complex.

HELD IN HIGH REGARD: The Mustangs improved to 8-13-8 against nationally-ranked opposition under sixth-year head coach Paul Holocher following the 2-1, come-from-behind home victory against then-No. 13 UC Santa Barbara (Oct. 14). Cal Poly, however, has only defeated one opponent ranked among the top 10 nationally since 2006. That victory came at No. 7 UC Irvine (Sept. 28).

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. Ending with a Nov. 4 clash at No. 16 UC Santa Barbara, Cal Poly will have contested six matches this season against programs that qualified for the 2010 NCAA Tournament.

RECORD-SMASHING DAY: Cal Poly had notched just seven goals in 10 games before producing a 5-0 dismantling of UC Riverside (Oct. 9). The five-goal haul marked Cal Poly's highest output in 44 matches at Spanos Stadium as well as serving as the largest margin of victory at the complex. Cal Poly's highest tally since putting eight past Division II Cal State Monterey Bay on Sept. 1, 2000, the five-goal total also marked the program's highest output in a Big West match. Finally, Cal Poly's victory marked just the second time the Mustangs had hit five goals during Paul Holocher's six-season tenure as head coach.

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: Six of the top-22 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 eight of the top 22 best-attended matches.

LOOKING AHEAD (OCT. 24-30): The Mustangs contest just one match next week, but the program's Oct. 29 fixture at Cal State Northridge figures to have seeding implications for the Nov. 9 and 12 Big West Tournament. The Mustangs are unbeaten during their previous four trips to Cal State Northridge (6-6-1, 3-2-0), which plays at UC Riverside on Wednesday, Nov. 22 and at No. 8 UCLA on Oct. 22.

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 65 of 66 games during his career, was 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) … a 2-0 halftime deficit versus Denver (Sept. 25) marks the only time Cal Poly has trailed at the break 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 and the program's 5-0 slaughtering of UC Riverside on Oct. 9 marked his 50th victory at Cal Poly … 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).