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Cal Poly Opens Big West Play versus UC Davis, at UC Riverside

Cal Poly Opens Big West Play versus UC Davis, at UC Riverside

COMPLETE WEEKLY PREVIEW (pdf)

SAN LUIS OBISPO – Unbeaten in five of its previous seven games, the Cal Poly men's soccer program opens its 19th year of Big West Conference action when hosting UC Davis inside Alex G. Spanos Stadium on Wednesday, Oct. 9 and visiting UC Riverside on Saturday, Oct. 12. Kickoff time both evenings is 7 p.m. for Cal Poly (4-4-1), which plays three of its initial four Big West matches at home. Including a 1-1 draw at UC Davis last season, Cal Poly has won eight of its previous 11 Big West openers and is 8-7-3 all-time in Big West-opening matches. Winners of three straight, UC Davis (6-3-1) leads the Big West in fewest goal allowed (nine). UC Riverside (5-4-2), which visits UC Irvine in its Wednesday Big West opener, enters the week having dropped three straight games. The Highlanders rank last among Big West programs with just 12 goals scored. UC Davis and UC Riverside contested last season's Big West Tournament championship game with the Highlanders prevailing on penalties after a scoreless regulation, 4-2.

FOLLOW CAL POLY THIS WEEK: Zachary Anderson-Yoxsimer (@Zach_And_Yox) returns to the mic to provide play-by-play for Wednesday's matchup versus UC Davis for GoPoly.com … video and live stats from Wednesday's game will be available via GoPoly.com, as will live stats from Saturday's matchup at UC Riverside.

CAL POLY VERSUS UC DAVIS: The Mustangs are unbeaten in four of their previous five meetings with UC Davis after earning a 1-1 road draw last season versus the then-No. 16 Aggies. UC Davis, however, won the last matchup at Spanos Stadium, 2-1 (Oct. 25, 2017), and leads the Division I series, 13-12-3.

CAL POLY VERSUS UC RIVERSIDE: The Mustangs return to UC Riverside for the first time since dropping a 1-0 decision on Oct. 1, 2017 (a matchup in which Cal Poly limited the Highlanders to just two shots on goal – one a saved penalty, the other the rebounded goal). Despite 10 saves from Mustang junior goalkeeper Carlos Arce-Hurtado, UC Riverside won last year's meeting at Cal Poly in double-overtime, 1-0 (Oct. 6). Cal Poly leads the Division I series, 16-9-1.

PEREZ AMONG THE NATION'S GOAL-SCORING ELITE: Having scored seven times in Cal Poly's last seven matches, junior midfielder Emmanuel Perez enters Wednesday's meeting with UC Davis ranked third among NCAA Division I players in game-winning goals (four), 21st in total goals (seven) and goals per game (0.78), 26th in points per game (1.78) and 39th in shot accuracy (56.5 percent). Perez's most recent strike was the 92nd-minute, game-wining goal during a 2-1 home victory against No. 24 Loyola Marymount (Sept. 26). Perez, who scored twice during wins against Gonzaga (Sept. 15) and Westmont (Sept. 19), ranks fourth in program history with three multi-goal matches.

DE LEON'S CAREER YEAR: With goals in two of Cal Poly's last six games – including an 80th-minute strike at UC Santa Barbara (Oct. 5) – junior forward Angel De Leon ranks second in Cal Poly's lineup alongside Spencer Held in scoring. De Leon, whose only other Cal Poly goal came as a freshman in 2017, also produced the game-winning assist for Emmanuel Perez in a 2-1 home win versus No. 24 Loyola Marymount (Sept. 26).

HELD TO A HIGHER STANDARD: An offseason graduate transfer from California, forward Spencer Held became the first Mustang with a multi-goal goal effort this season after scoring the opening two during a 3-0 triumph versus Fresno Pacific (Sept. 10). One of three Mustangs to start all nine matches, Held ranks second in Cal Poly's lineup with 19 shot attempts.

ALONSO'S HELPING HAND: Senior captain Diego Alonso ranks sixth among Big West players with three assists after setting up Emmanuel Perez's second goal during a 3-1 win against Gonzaga (Sept. 15) and earning two more assists to fuel a 3-0 victory versus Westmont (Sept. 19). He also scored his first goal of 2019 to open Cal Poly's 2-1, overtime home win versus No. 24 Loyola Marymount (Sept. 26). Cal Poly's active appearances leader with 48 caps, Alonso also ranks 11th in program history with 10 career assists.

HOME IS WHERE THE WINS ARE: Cal Poly enters its Oct. 9 matchup versus UC Davis unbeaten in 27 of its last 35 home matches at Alex G. Spanos Stadium. Overall, Cal Poly is 70-28-16 since the venue's 2007 opening. During the last 13 seasons, the Mustangs have recorded 36 shutout victories at home while Cal Poly's goalkeepers have kept 43 clean sheets. Additionally, Cal Poly has drawn 1,000-plus spectators during 76 of 114 (66.7 percent) matches at Spanos Stadium and sold out the 11,075-capacity complex nine times.

SPANOS STADIUM – WHERE ATTENDANCE RECORDS ARE RETIRED: Fourteen of the top 58 (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 23 of the top 58 (39.7 percent) best-attended regular season matches in collegiate soccer history. Below is a listing of the best-attended matches in NCAA regular season history.