LOS ANGELES – First-half goals from sophomore winger Chase Minter and senior forward Mackenzie Pridham provided the Cal Poly men's soccer program a commanding early lead and senior forward Chris Bernardi rounded off victory with a late strike as the Mustangs defeated their highest ranked opponent in program history with a 3-0 triumph versus No. 6 UCLA at Drake Stadium on Thursday evening.
Junior midfielder Steve Palacios, freshman forward John Chronopoulos and senior midfielder George Malki all added assists for Cal Poly (2-1-0), which defeated just its second top-10 opponent in program history following a 1-0 win at then-No. 7 UC Irvine on Sept. 28, 2011. Sophomore goalkeeper Wade Hamilton chalked up three saves for the Mustangs, who delivered just their second win against UCLA in nine Division I meetings and first since a 1-0 win in the opening round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament.
Cal Poly's first shot on goal Thursday led to the match winner with Palacios forcing UCLA senior goalkeeper Earl Edwards Jr. into an 11th-minute save. The rebound rolled out to Minter, who fired his first collegiate goal past Edwards.
Sophomore winger Kip Colvey tested Edwards a minute later before Pridham doubled Cal Poly's lead in the 25th. It was Chronopoulos earning his first career assist, whipping in a cross from the right side for Pridham, who scored his team-leading third goal of the season from five yards.
UCLA (1-1-1), which upended previously top-ranked Indiana 1-0 on Sept. 1, saw its best chance to break through come in the 49th minute. Freshman defender Nathan Smith was the first to test Hamilton, who saved the attempt before closing down senior forward Reed Williams from short range to preserve his first clean sheet of 2013.
Cal Poly cemented victory in the 84th minute, as Bernardi notched his first goal of the year after streaking down the right flank, collecting a pass from Maliki and firing past Edwards toward the lower left post.
The Mustangs, who completed a three-game road trip Thursday, outshot UCLA, 14-9.
Cal Poly opens its 2013 home schedule when hosting Gonzaga on Sunday, Sept. 8. Match time at Alex G. Spanos Stadium is set for 1 p.m.