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Cal Poly Hosts Fresno Pacific Friday, Visits Gonzaga Monday to Open 2018

Cal Poly Hosts Fresno Pacific Friday, Visits Gonzaga Monday to Open 2018

COMPLETE WEEKLY PREVIEW (pdf)

SAN LUIS OBISPO – Highlighted by the return of six starters and six of 10 goalscorers from a year ago, the Cal Poly men's soccer program opens its 25th Division I season when hosting Division II Fresno Pacific inside Alex G. Spanos Stadium on Friday, Aug. 24. Kickoff time is 7 p.m. for Cal Poly, which then begins a five-game road trip – the program's lengthiest in 10 years – when visiting Gonzaga on Monday, Aug. 27. Cal Poly, which also returns 16 letterwinners from last season, opens the year at home for just the second time in the previous seven years. Overall, Cal Poly is 14-9-0 in season-opening matches at the Division I level. Friday's match marks the only Division I opponent for Fresno Pacific (8-10-0, 7-6-0 PacWest in 2017) this season. Gonzaga (6-9-2, 0-6-1 WCC), the first of four West Coast Conference opponents on Cal Poly's 2018 schedule, saw its Aug. 19 home exhibition versus NAIA Corban cancelled due to poor air quality in Spokane, Wash. The Bulldogs open the regular season at Bradley on Friday.

FOLLOW CAL POLY THIS WEEK: Max Milander (@MustangMax1) provides play-by-play detail for Cal Poly's Friday game versus Fresno Pacific at GoPoly.com, beginning with the pre-match show at 6:45 p.m. Streaming video and live stats of both Friday's game versus Fresno Pacific and Monday's matchup at Gonzaga will also be available via GoPoly.com.

CAL POLY VERSUS FRESNO PACIFIC: The Mustangs have faced Fresno Pacific just once prior in regular season action, handing the Sunbirds a 4-1 defeat on Sept. 11, 2016 inside Alex G. Spanos Stadium. Former Mustang and current LA Galaxy II forward Justin Dhillon recorded just the ninth hat trick in Cal Poly program history during the matchup.

CAL POLY VERSUS GONZAGA: The Mustangs look to snap a three-match winless run versus the Bulldogs dating to a 1-0 victory in Spokane on Oct. 12, 2003. The last matchup between the two sides finished in a 1-1 draw on Sept. 3, 2015 in Spokane. Gonzaga leads the overall series, 6-3-1.

CAL POLY CLIFSNOTES, A BRIEF MUSTANG 2018 PRIMER: Senior captain Simon Boehme returns in goal for Cal Poly a year after starting the program's first 14 matches and finishing 40th among NCAA Division I goalkeepers with 4.43 saves per match. A 2017 All-Big West honorable mention selection, Boehme also led all Big West goalkeepers last season in save percentage (.775) and fewest goals allowed (18, two of which were converted penalties) … in front of Boehme, Cal Poly's backline is shored up by senior Nick Carroll and sophomores Freeman Dwamena and Andrew Forth. Carroll, the program's active leader with 41 career starts, notched his first career goal to fuel Cal Poly's 1-0 home victory versus Saint Mary's last year. Dwamena (1,559) – a 2017 Big West All-Freshman Team selection – and Forth (1,541) led all Cal Poly players in minutes played last season. The trio also helped the 2017 squad set a single season program record for fewest shots on goal allowed (70), in addition to producing four shutouts … in attack, senior forward Sean Goode is Cal Poly's leading returning scorer after finding the back of the opposition net four times during his 2017 debut season. Senior forward Jared Pressley (above) – Cal Poly's active leader with 50 career games played and the program's leader last season with 14 reserve appearances – and senior midfielder Jose Rivera each scored twice last year. Also back to fuel Cal Poly's attack is junior forward Diego Alonso, who finished fifth among Big West players with a team leading five assists last season.

HOME IS WHERE THE WINS ARE: Cal Poly enters its Aug. 24 match versus Fresno Pacific unbeaten in 19 of its last 24 home matches at Alex G. Spanos Stadium. Overall, Cal Poly is 62-24-16 since the venue's 2007 opening. During the last 11 seasons, the Mustangs have recorded 31 shutout victories at home while Cal Poly's goalkeepers have kept 38 clean sheets. Additionally, Cal Poly has drawn 1,000-plus spectators during 67 of 102 (65.7 percent) matches at Spanos Stadium and sold out the 11,075-capacity complex eight times.

SPANOS STADIUM – WHERE ATTENDANCE RECORDS ARE RETIRED: Thirteen of the top 54 (24.1 percent) 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 20 of the top 54 (37.0 percent) best-attended regular season matches in collegiate soccer history. Below is a listing of the best-attended matches in NCAA regular season history.