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Second-Half Surge Sends Streaking Mustangs to Historic Victory

Second-Half Surge Sends Streaking Mustangs to Historic Victory

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Junior forwards Ian Clark (right) and Chris Bernardi delivered second-half strikes for the Cal Poly men's soccer program on Friday evening as the Mustangs matched a program record with their fifth successive victory by rallying past Harvard at Alex G. Spanos Stadium, 2-1.

Winners of five straight for the first time since 1994 (Cal Poly's inaugural season at the Division I level), the Mustangs (5-2-0) also produced their first triumph of 2012 when trailing at halftime. Harvard, the first Ivy League program to ever face Cal Poly, took the initial lead during the 28th minute as senior midfielder Zack Wolfenzon picked up a loose ball on the Mustang side of the halfway line and dribbled past three Cal Poly defenders before slotting a shot past Mustang sophomore goalkeeper Chase Hauser. The goal marked the first time Cal Poly had trailed in 388 minutes, a streak dating back to a 2-0 loss at Washington on Aug. 26.

Five minutes later, however, Crimson freshman goalkeeper Evan Mendez was issued a red card after punching away a loose ball outside of the Harvard penalty area. Decimated to 10 men, Harvard (1-4-1) produced just one additional shot on target during the final 62 minutes.

The Mustangs, meanwhile, were held without a shot attempt until junior forward Mackenzie Pridham saw an attempt turned away by Mendez in the 22nd minute.

Held to one shot on target during the opening 52 minutes, the Mustangs finally equalized in the 53rd as Clark, with his back to goal inside the Crimson penalty area, trapped a feed from junior midfielder George Malki before spinning around his defender and firing his second goal of the season into the bottom left corner of the Harvard net.

Nearly 20 minutes later, the Mustangs found the match winner as Bernardi produced his third goal of 2012 by firing into the top left corner of the Harvard goal after freshman midfielder Chase Minter laid on the assist.

Hauser produced one save in earning his fourth victory of 2012.

The Mustangs seek a program-record sixth straight victory when hosting No. 12 UCLA on Sunday, Sept. 23 at 4 p.m. The Bruins (4-1-2) chalked up a 1-1 draw at No. 3 UC Santa Barbara earlier Friday evening.

Cal Poly last produced five straight victories when downing The Master's College (3-1), Santa Clara (2-0), Menlo College (5-0), San Diego State (4-2) and New Mexico (4-0) between Oct. 14-30, 1994.