SAN LUIS OBISPO – The Cal Poly men's soccer team made senior midfielder Chase Minter's 26th-minute volley stand as the game-winning goal Friday evening as the Mustangs stayed unbeaten in 2015 by edging Air Force inside Alex G. Spanos Stadium, 1-0.
Senior goalkeeper Wade Hamilton matched a season high with six saves for the Mustangs, whose 3-0-1 start to the season is the program's best since the 2004 Cal Poly squad opened its year with the same mark. The Big West Conference's leader with a 0.47 goals against average, Cal Poly has played 380 minutes in 2015 and failed to trail at any point.
The 3,461-fan attendance figure for Friday's match pushed the program's total attendance since Spanos Stadium's 2007 opening past the 200,000-fan mark. Through 80 all-time matches at Spanos Stadium, Cal Poly has averaged 2,503 fans per game.
Air Force (2-2-0), which outshot the Mustangs 16-10, enjoyed Friday's first attack as the Cal Poly defense was dispossessed before Falcon forward Zach Hill fired wide of the left post in the eighth minute.
Hamilton was forced into his first save four minutes later and Air Force fired two more attempts wide of the Mustang net before Cal Poly recorded its first shot attempt on 23 minutes.
The Mustangs, however, found the game winner with attempt No. 2 as freshman defender Noah Chapleski lobbed a pass to Minter (above), who volleyed the ball past Falcon goalkeeper John Wendt for his first goal of 2015.
Cal Poly was whistled for a penalty less than a minute later, but Air Force midfielder Joey Haug struck his potential match-tying effort off the crossbar. The errant shot marked the second penalty Cal Poly's opponents have missed this season.
Hamilton made two more saves in the first half and Cal Poly missed chances to double its lead late in the period when LaGrassa – who enjoyed a match-leading four shots – saw an attempt stopped by Wendt in the 40th minute before junior forward Justin Dhillon fired wide in the 43rd.
Into the second half, LaGrassa and Minter both fired wide inside of four minutes. Hamilton, however, preserved Cal Poly's lead with saves in the 50th and 54th.
The Mustangs forced Wendt into two additional saves in the second half, but made the one-goal lead stand.
Cal Poly returns to action and opens a two-match road trip at Santa Clara on Sunday, Sept. 13. Match time is 7:30 p.m.