COMPLETE WEEKLY RELEASE (pdf)
SAN LUIS OBISPO – Unbeaten through the previous four matches, the Cal Poly men's soccer program returns to Alex G. Spanos Stadium and closes regular season action versus Big West Conference South Division opposition when hosting Cal State Fullerton on Thursday, Oct. 8 (7:30 p.m.) and UC Riverside on Saturday, Oct. 10 (7 p.m.). The Big West's top defensive squad with just nine goals allowed and a 0.86 goals against average, the Mustangs (6-2-2, 1-0-1; four points) enter the week second in the Big West North Division standings while Cal Poly's two defeats are the fewest by a conference program this season. Unbeaten through three matches inside Spanos Stadium this season, the Mustangs have conceded just two goals at home. With 85 total goals scored and 1.70 goals per match since 2013, the Mustangs also remain the Big West's highest scoring program during the previous two-plus years. Cal State Fullerton (2-0-0, 7-4-0; six points) arrives at Spanos Stadium Thursday leading the Big West South Division and having conceded just 10 goals through its opening 11 games. UC Riverside (5-5-1, 1-1-0; three points), meanwhile, sits second in the South Division.
FOLLOW THE MUSTANGS THIS WEEK: Dave Grant (@TheDaveGrant) returns to the mic to provide play-by-play detail of Thursday's match versus Cal State Fullerton for GoPoly.com. The pre-match show begins at 7:15 p.m. Live stats and video from both Thursday's match versus Cal State Fullerton and Saturday's game against UC Riverside will also be available through GoPoly.com.
CAL POLY VERSUS CAL STATE FULLERTON: In 28 meetings at the Division I level, the Mustangs and Titans have never drawn a match. The Titans, however, have won the last two meetings – a 3-2 decision in Fullerton (Oct. 11, 2014) and a 1-0 match (Oct. 6, 2013) in San Luis Obispo – and lead the all-time series, 15-13-0.
CAL POLY VERSUS UC RIVERSIDE: The Mustangs have won eight of their previous nine matches versus the Highlanders, including a 1-0 road triumph last fall. In each of UC Riverside's last two visits to Spanos Stadium on Oct. 4, 2013 and Oct. 9, 2011, the Mustangs have put five goals past the Highlanders and lead the all-time series, 14-7-1.
RPI UPDATE: Cal Poly completed the opening week of its Big West Conference schedule ranked No. 19 in the Oct. 5 edition of the NCAA Division I RPI ratings. The Mustangs are the Big West's second highest rated program, three spots behind No. 16 UC Santa Barbara.
MUSTANGS KEEP DAMAGE TO A MINIMUM: A 4-1 loss at UCLA (Sept. 18) marked the first and only time this season that Cal Poly had conceded multiple goals during a match. Of the Big West-low nine goals Cal Poly has conceded in 2015, 44.4 percent occurred versus the aforementioned Bruins.
MUSTANGS LEAD FROM THE FRONT: The Mustangs have trailed just twice this season and for only 74 total minutes following a 1-0 defeat at Santa Clara (Sept. 13) and 4-1 loss at UCLA (Sept. 18). During the 2015 season, Cal Poly has led during 565 of a possible 940 minutes. Not only has Cal Poly scored the opening goal during nine of its 10 matches, the Mustangs have done so each time in the first half.
HAMILTON SAVES THE DAY: The fulcrum of Cal Poly's standout defense, senior goalkeeper Wade Hamilton enters Thursday's match versus Cal State Fullerton leading his Big West colleagues in goals against average (0.86) and ranked second in shutouts (four) and fifth in save percentage (.750). Overall this season, Hamilton has conceded just eight goals from open play in 940 minutes (an average of one goal every 117.5 minutes). Just once this season has Hamilton conceded multiple goals during a match. One of the most productive players in Mustang history, Hamilton ranks second all-time with 251 saves and third with a 1.25 goals against average, a .758 save percentage, 14 shutouts and 61 starts. Having started 58 successive matches for Cal Poly, Hamilton has played every minute of every game and all 4,701 minutes since the start of the 2013 season.
MINTER ROUNDING OFF STELLAR CAREER WITH NATIONAL PRAISE: Senior midfielder Chase Minter – the only Mustang with multiple goals and assists – enters Thursday's match versus Cal State Fullerton co-leading Cal Poly with three goals. Second among Mustangs with two assists and Cal Poly's leader with eight assists, Minter ranks second in program history with 17 assists and seventh with 41 points. Named in August as one of 30 players to the Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy Watch List for national collegiate player of the year, Minter has started all 50 of Cal Poly's matches since the start of the 2013 season. The only Big West player selected to the Hermann Trophy Watch List, Minter is the third Mustang in program history to earn Hermann Trophy Watch List recognition and the first since former forward Mackenzie Pridham in 2013. Defender Patrick Sigler was also named to the watch list prior to the 2009 season.
LAGRASSA BACK IN SCORING FORM: Among Cal Poly's top three scorers in each of the last three seasons, senior midfielder Matt LaGrassa snapped a five-match scoring drought by notching the opener in a 2-1 home win versus the College of Charleston (Sept. 20). Cal Poly's co-leader with three goals in 2015, LaGrassa ranks eighth among Big West players. Ranked seventh in Cal Poly program history with 16 goals and 37 points, LaGrassa remains the Big West's active leader in both categories. He also needs just four more appearances to become only the ninth Mustang with 70-plus caps.
ALKEBULAN MAKES THEM COUNT: Four of sophomore Kaba Alkebulan's six career goals have been game-winning efforts and the forward has already struck twice in 2015 to enter Thursday's match versus Cal State Fullerton as Cal Poly's second leading scorer. Averaging one goal every 197 minutes this season, Alkebulan's strike rate leads Cal Poly.
FORTRESS SPANOS: Just three of Cal Poly's opening 10 matches kick off inside Alex G. Spanos Stadium, a home where the Mustangs are 50-19-12 since the venue's 2007 opening. During the last nine seasons, the Mustangs have recorded 27 shutout victories at home while Cal Poly's goalkeepers have kept 31 clean sheets. Additionally, Cal Poly has drawn 1,000-plus spectators during 58 of 81 matches at Spanos Stadium and sold out the 11,075-capacity complex five times (by contrast, Cal Poly's football team has produced just seven sellouts with the same capacity).
SPANOS STADIUM – WHERE ATTENDANCE RECORDS GO TO DIE: Nine of the top 41 best-attended regular season matches in the history of collegiate soccer have occurred at Alex G. Spanos Stadium and all have been recorded since the start of the 2007 season. In total, Cal Poly has been involved in 14 of the top 41 best-attended regular season matches in collegiate soccer history.
MUSTANGS ON THE SPOT: Despite going just 3-for-6 from the penalty spot last season, Cal Poly has converted 15 of its previous 21 attempts (71.4 percent) dating to the start of the 2009 season. Only three current Mustangs, however, have attempted a penalty with Chase Minter 2-for-4 during his career, John Chronopoulos 1-for-2 and Matt LaGrassa 0-for-1. Cal Poly finished 5-for-5 from the spot in 2009, 3-for-3 in 2010, 2-for-4 in 2011, was not awarded a penalty attempt in 2012 and went 2-for-2 in 2013. By contrast, Cal Poly's opponents have converted 13 of their previous 18 penalties (72.2 percent) dating to the start of the 2009 season.
ETC.: Cal Poly defeated Division II Fresno Pacific 4-0 in an Aug. 22 exhibition home match ... Cal Poly improved to 14-8-0 in Division I season openers and 9-2-0 in season openers at home with a 2-1 victory against UNLV (Aug. 28) ... Cal Poly's attendance figure in nine seasons at Spanos Stadium passed the 200,000-fan mark with 3,461 spectators for a 1-0 victory versus Air Force ... Cal Poly earned the program's 50th all-time victory at Alex G. Spanos Stadium with a 2-1 victory versus the College of Charleston (Sept. 20) ... Cal Poly's 2-0 victory at Loyola Marymount (Sept. 27) marked the first time in his four-year career that Mustang goalkeeper Wade Hamilton failed to face a shot on goal ... Cal Poly won its seventh Big West-opening game in the previous eight seasons and improved to 7-6-2 all-time in Big West openers with a 1-0 victory at CSUN (Oct. 1).