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SAN LUIS OBISPO – Featuring nine home games – including five straight inside Alex G. Spanos Stadium from Sept. 10-26 and a Saturday, Nov. 2 regular season finale versus Blue-Green rival UC Santa Barbara – the Cal Poly men's soccer program released its 16-match, 2019 regular season schedule on Tuesday afternoon.
AUG. 17-OCT. 5 (NON-CONFERENCE)
Following the program's annual Green versus Gold intrasquad match on Saturday, Aug. 17 and exhibition tuneups at UNLV (10-10-1, 5-5-1 WAC last season) on Tuesday, Aug. 20 and at home versus Division II Cal State Monterey Bay (7-9-0, 5-7-0 CCAA) on Saturday, Aug. 24, Cal Poly begins its 26th season of Division I action at first-time opponent Utah Valley (9-9-0, 6-4-0 WAC) on Friday, Aug. 30. Cal Poly's season-opening road trip concludes at San Diego (7-7-5, 3-1-3 WCC) on Sunday, Sept. 2.
The Mustangs open their five-match home stand at Spanos Stadium on Tuesday, Sept. 10 versus Division II Fresno Pacific (14-3-1, 9-2-0 PacWest), which qualified for last year's NCAA Championship. The home run continues versus Gonzaga (2-14-2, 0-7-0 WCC) on Sunday, Sept. 15, NAIA Westmont (10-6-2, 5-3-0 GSAC) on Thursday, Sept. 19 and Seattle (13-6-1, 7-4-0 WAC) on Monday, Sept. 23 before concluding against Loyola Marymount (6-12-0, 3-4-0 WCC) on Thursday, Sept. 26.
Cal Poly completes Big West Conference preparations with a pair of road matchups, beginning at San Francisco (6-10-1, 5-3-1 WCC) on Monday, Sept. 30.
The Mustangs then visit UC Santa Barbara (10-6-2, 4-2-1 Big West) on Saturday, Oct. 5 in a non-conference matchup. Kickoff at Harder Stadium for the opening leg of the 2019 Blue-Green rivalry is 7 p.m. Despite staying unbeaten inside Harder Stadium in four of the previous five years, Cal Poly has won just once at UC Santa Barbara in the past 20 years and 21 games.
The best-attended sporting events annually in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties, the Cal Poly-UC Santa Barbara series has drawn 22 of the top 57 regular season crowd figures in NCAA history with all matches occurring during the previous 12 seasons. The matchup inside Spanos Stadium has sold out all 11,075 seats for the past eight seasons – a figure that marks the 14th largest regular season crowd figure in NCAA history. The 14 combined matches between Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara during the last seven years are 14 of the 15 highest attended collegiate soccer games in the United States, outranking every NCAA Championship and College Cup contest since the beginning of the 2012 season. Since the start of the 2007 season, 252,470 total spectators and an average of 9,710 fans per match have witnessed Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara clash on 26 occasions.
Nineteen of the last 23 matches between Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara have been decided by one goal or drawn. Seven of Cal Poly's eight victories in the last 26 attempts against UC Santa Barbara have been a one-goal triumph. Eleven of those 26 matches since 2007 have gone to overtime. Just three times since 2007 has one side scored as many as three goals against the other (Cal Poly's 4-1 home victory versus the Gauchos to close 2017 marked the first time since Nov. 9, 2001 that one team had slipped four goals past the other). The Mustangs are undefeated at home against the Gauchos in eight of the last 10 years while UC Santa Barbara has lost exactly once at home to Cal Poly in the last 21 matchups at Harder Stadium.
OCT. 9-NOV. 2 (BIG WEST CONFERENCE)
The Big West maintains its eight-team, single-table format in 2019 with each program playing the remaining seven sides just once (on a home-and-home basis, rotating each season). The top six sides in the standings qualify for the Nov. 6, 9 and 16 Big West Tournament.
Three of Cal Poly's opening four Big West matches take place inside Spanos Stadium, starting with a Wednesday, Oct. 9 dual against 2018 conference tournament finalist UC Davis (11-4-5, 3-3-1).
Cal Poly's Big West road opener occurs on Saturday, Oct. 12 at 2018 Big West Tournament champion UC Riverside (7-10-3, 4-2-1), which edged UC Davis on penalties last fall to capture the program's first conference title. The Highlanders then fell at Pacific, 1-0, in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Championship.
The Mustangs return home to host Cal State Fullerton (7-6-8, 2-3-2) on Wednesday, Oct. 16 and CSUN (9-8-1, 3-3-1) on Sunday, Oct. 20 before visiting Sacramento State (4-11-2, 2-5-0) on Wednesday, Oct. 23 and defending Big West regular season champion UC Irvine (11-6-4, 5-1-1) on Saturday, Oct. 26. UC Irvine reached the second round of the 2018 NCAA Championship, first ousting Grand Canyon on penalties following a 1-1 draw before falling at ninth-seeded Stanford, 2-0.
Cal Poly completes the regular season on Saturday, Nov. 2 inside Spanos Stadium versus UC Santa Barbara at 5 p.m. Cal Poly prevailed in last year's Blue-Green rivalry home game, 1-0, behind a 64th-minute goal from junior midfielder Diego Alonso.
NOV. 6-DEC. 15 (POSTSEASON)
The top two programs in the Big West standings receive byes for the Wednesday, Nov. 6 opening round of the conference tournament before hosting semifinal matchups on Saturday, Nov. 9. The Saturday, Nov. 16 Big West Tournament championship match will be played at the highest remaining seed.
First-round action for the 2019 NCAA Championship is Thursday, Nov. 21 with second- and third-round play scheduled for, respectively, Sunday, Nov. 24 and Sunday, Dec. 1. The four quarterfinal matchups will take place Dec. 6-8. The 2018 College Cup will be hosted at Cary, N.C. on Friday, Dec. 13 and Sunday, Dec. 15.