POSTGAME REACTION: PAUL HOLOCHER | MACKENZIE PRIDHAM | RUBEN DURAN
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Junior forward Mackenzie Pridham found the back of the UC Irvine net twice – including notching the game-winning strike in the 92nd minute – and freshman midfielder Ruben Duran (right) scored his first collegiate goal as the Cal Poly men's soccer team edged the Anteaters in overtime on Sunday at Alex G. Spanos Stadium, 3-2.
Less than two minutes into overtime, Duran slid a pass up the left wing for Mustang freshman Chase Minter, who whipped a cross through the penalty area. Pridham, Cal Poly's leader with seven goals, latched on to the end of the pass and thumped the game-winning effort past UC Irvine freshman goalkeeper Michael Breslin. Pridham became Cal Poly's first seven-goal scorer since four-time All-Big West selection David Zamora notched seven in 2009.
UC Irvine (3-9-1, 0-4-0) enjoyed the early run of play with sophomore midfielder Enrique Cardenas forcing Mustang freshman goalkeeper Wade Hamilton into an opening-minute save. After freshman forward Cameron Iwasa fired wide moments later, however, the Mustangs held UC Irvine without a shot attempt for the ensuing 20 minutes.
Cal Poly (7-5-0, 2-2-0) took control of the game in the 16th minute as senior midfielder Chris Gaschen played a pass through the Anteater penalty area for Duran, who bested Breslin in a one-on-one situation. The assist was Gaschen's team-leading fourth of 2012.
Pridham headed wide moments later and juniors Chris Bernardi and George Malki forced saves from Breslin, but Cal Poly – despite outshooting UC Irvine during the first half, 8-3 – couldn't solidify its lead.
UC Irvine opened the second half by twice testing Hamilton before Iwasa broke through for the Anteaters in the 56th. Junior midfielder Gor Kirakosyan earned the assist after sliding a pass through the Mustang back line for Iwasa, who rolled his attempt past Hamilton.
The Anteaters nearly took the lead the 66th, but Kirakosyan struck the right post from short distance.
It was Cal Poly which broke the deadlock in the 72nd minute as junior midfielder Mike Hocker swung a cross in from the right for Pridham, who fired from five yards out before seeing the ball squirt past Breslin.
UC Irvine, however, answered back for the second time on Sunday in the 77th as Kirakosyan picked out Iwasa once again with a short cross from the left.
Cal Poly's best chance to snatch victory in regulation occurred in the 83rd minute, but sophomore midfielder Steve Palacios had a back heel attempt thwarted by Breslin.
Hamilton finished with a career-high six saves for Cal Poly, which produced seven corner kick attempts to UC Irvine's three.
Cal Poly hits the road to open play against Big West North Division opposition when facing Sacramento State on Friday, Oct. 12. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m.
GOLDEN HORSESHOE RECIPIENTS (AWARDED BY CAL POLY SOCCER BOOSTERS): Ruben Duran, Mackenzie Pridham.