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Pridham Goal, Hamilton Penalty Save Send Mustangs Past Army

Pridham Goal, Hamilton Penalty Save Send Mustangs Past Army

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Junior forward Mackenzie Pridham notched his team-leading third goal during the 80th minute and freshman goalkeeper Wade Hamilton (right) turned away Army senior midfielder Michael Kim's 88th-minute penalty attempt as the Cal Poly men's soccer team produced a 1-0 victory against the Black Knights on Sunday afternoon at Alex G. Spanos Stadium.

Winners of four successive matches for the first time since 2007, Cal Poly (4-2-0) forced Army sophomore goalkeeper Winston Boldt into five saves during the opening 80 minutes before Mustang junior midfielder Mike Hocker looped a pass from the right edge of the Black Knight penalty area toward the left post. Pridham outdueled Boldt in the air and headed down the game-winning goal from two yards away.

Eight minutes later, however, Mustang senior forward Benny Estes was assessed his second yellow card of the match after an errant ball in the penalty box struck his left arm. Kim stepped to the spot, but saw his low rolling shot near the right post pawed away by a sprawling Hamilton.

Making just his third collegiate start, Hamilton produced his first career shutout with three total saves.

"Wade did exactly what we needed him to do," seventh-year Mustang head coach Paul Holocher said. "He made all of the saves, especially the big one. In college soccer, a lot of times you're asking your guy to come up with one big save and he was up to the test today."

The Black Knights produced the opening shots on Sunday, but it was Cal Poly that fired the game's first scoring opportunities. After turning away a 10th-minute attempt from Pridham, Boldt stopped Mustang freshman midfielder Chase Minter in the 12th before seeing a follow-up shot from Pridham sail over the crossbar.

Mustang senior defender Alex Loeffelman and Estes were both stopped by Boldt later in the first half and junior forward Chris Bernardi was turned away in the 70th before Pridham found the match winner.

"Last year, these games sometimes didn't go our way and this year we're making one or two more plays," Holocher added. "It wasn't necessarily the prettiest game, but our guys battled hard and we continued to play the way we want to."

Sunday's victory marked Cal Poly's 50th contest at Alex G. Spanos Stadium. Since the venue's 2007 opening, the Mustangs are 32-10-8 overall, have outscored opponents, 80-35, produced 21 shutout victories and drawn 1,000-plus fans 38 times.

Cal Poly continues its five-match home stand and opens the 2012 Nike Central Coast Challenge against Harvard on Friday, Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. The Mustangs also face No. 13 UCLA on Sunday, Sept. 23 at 4 p.m.