SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Junior forward Chris Bernardi (above) scored twice and midfielders Chris Gaschen and George Malki each found the back of the Temple net as the Cal Poly men's soccer program furthered its winning streak to three matches with a 4-1 triumph against the Owls inside Alex G. Spanos Stadium.
Cal Poly (3-2-0) peppered the Temple net early and often en route to a season-high 18 shot attempts. Senior forward Benny Estes established Cal Poly's intent by forcing Temple junior goalkeeper Bobby Rosato into a seventh-minute save. Less than a minute later, Mustang sophomore midfielder Nolan Moore picked out Malki with a pass over the top of the Temple defense. Malki then dribbled 25 yards on to the Temple net to register his first collegiate goal.
The Mustangs kept the pressure on Rosato and the Owls with junior forward Mackenzie Pridham striking the Owls crossbar twice during a two-minute span midway through the opening half.
Held without a shot on target during the opening 24 minutes, Temple secured an equalizing strike in the 26th minute as freshman midfielder Jared Martinelli's initial attempt was blocked by sophomore goalkeeper Chase Hauser. The rebound came straight out to sophomore forward Chas Wilson, who fired past Hauser to deadlock the scoreline.
Despite the goal, the Mustangs continued their furious pace at the other end of the pitch. Bernardi fired right of the Temple goal on a 32nd-minute breakaway before sophomore midfielder Steve Palacios missed on the left in the 35th. Freshman midfielder Matt LaGrassa fired high in the 42nd before Bernardi – who finished with a match-leading five attempts – forced Rosato into one of his three saves shortly before halftime.
"I thought we really controlled the first half and created enough chances to be up by a few goals," seventh-year Cal Poly head coach Paul Holocher said. "We made some adjustments based on what Temple showed. We knew the second half would be more open and the guys took their chances well."
Three more Mustang attempts followed during the opening minutes of the second half before Bernardi tallied the eventual match-winning strike in the 62nd. LaGrassa earned the assist after feeding a pass back in front of goal.
Gaschen, Cal Poly's active career leader with eight goals, added his second of 2012 in the 77th, accepting a short corner kick opportunity from freshman midfielder Chase Minter and dribbling on the Temple goal before slotting a shot into the right corner.
Bernardi then killed off the match 90 seconds from the final whistle. After taking an upfield feed from Malki, Bernardi charged toward the right post before rolling a shot past Rosato.
The goal allowed Bernardi to solidify the first multi-goal game by a Mustang since forward David Zamora hit Cal State Northridge for a hat trick during a 3-1 home victory on Oct. 24, 2009.
"The guys really enjoy how we're playing, both the style and the system," Holocher added. "We're a very good young team that has enthusiasm and each game we're gaining experience.
"We're finding the ball in good spots. We want these guys to be dynamic and ask lots of questions of the defense with their movement. We did that tonight."
Cal Poly continues its five-match home stand on Sunday, Sept. 16 versus Army at 1 p.m.