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Cal Poly to Open 2016 Season at Home With Exhibition and Scrimmage

Cal Poly to Open 2016 Season at Home With Exhibition and Scrimmage

Schedule • Tickets • Roster • Information Guide

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — The Cal Poly women's soccer team will open the 2016 season with two competitions at home, first hosting Westmont for a non-scored exhibition at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 10 before returning to Alex G. Spanos Stadium for a Green vs. White intrasquad scrimmage at 1 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 14.

The regular-season opener will be at Cal (ranked No. 18 in the NSCAA's preseason Top 25 poll) at 4 p.m. Friday, Aug. 19.

The Mustangs, led by 25th-year head coach Alex Crozier (272-159-47 overall), have welcomed 10 newcomers to their group of 23 returning players.

Cal Poly has back its leading goal scorer (with seven) from 2015 in sophomore Caitlyn Kreutz, a Big West Conference All-Freshman Team honoree.

Kreutz, also an all-tournament selection at last year's Virginia Nike Soccer Classic, recently played in two games for the Philippines National Team (including her first federation-level start on July 30, a 2-0 win over Singapore).

Meanwhile among Cal Poly's 10-member senior class, Megan Abutin, Kendra Bonsall and Nicole Wheeler have combined to start 118 career matches between the midfield and back line, where juniors Emily Hansen and Gianna Rosati have started 36 times each over the past two seasons as well.

Now with 20 career assists, Abutin (a national coaches association All-West Region attacker in 2014) is tied for No. 2 in school history in that category and is No. 15 among all current Division I student-athletes. Five more assists would break the school record, set by Kolleen Kassis from 1992-95.

Bonsall and Wheeler were also both all-conference honorable mentions in 2014, and each comes into this season having already been on the pitch for more than 3,000 career minutes as Mustangs.

Hansen, a co-captain this fall along with Wheeler and senior midfielder Breanna Rittmann, was voted the conference's Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 14 last season.

In addition to defender Chelsea Barry (who started 16 of her 19 games as a freshman — four of which were shutouts), fellow sophomore Ashley Kirchick was also an immediate contributor in 2015, as her four assists off the bench tied for the 10th-highest total throughout the Big West.

Kelly Kessloff also played in 10 games as a freshman midfielder, before tallying a team-leading four goals during the spring exhibition season from April 15-May 8. Also among those returning in the attack, senior Cassandra Fäsi scored the squad's final goal of 2015 during her 25th career game, while junior McKenzie Flood (31 matches played since 2014) had two goals and an assist plus six forced saves as a sophomore.

At goalkeeper, four Mustangs are tasked with replacing Alyssa Giannetti, currently a rookie for Arna-Bjørnar FC in Norway.

Now in goal are redshirt sophomore Brittney Viboch (who earned four shutouts during the spring scrimmages), junior Domenique Banta (a former Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Week at Fresno State) and true freshmen Sophia Brown and Rachael Haaland.

Banta is one of two transfers (joining sophomore midfielder Macy Vrabel from Iowa State) the program added alongside a class of eight National Letter of Intent signees.

Giannetti is one of two former school record-setting alumni who went on to a pro career following last season, as forward Elise Krieghoff is also a rookie with the Boston Breakers in the NWSL.

This season's Big West schedule will begin on Sept. 30 at home against Hawai'i. The top four teams in the regular-season conference standings will qualify for the Big West Tournament, to be hosted at Long Beach State on Nov. 3 and 6.

Cal Poly finished tied for second in the Big West standings in 2012 with 20 points (from a 6-1-2 record in conference, 9-7-3 overall), won the regular-season conference championship in 2013 with 21 points (7-1-0, 11-7-1), was second again in 2014 with 15 points (5-3-0, 10-9-1) and eighth in 2015 with six points (2-6-0, 6-8-5).

The 49ers shared the regular-season title a year ago on 18 points along with Cal State Fullerton and UC Santa Barbara — the first time since 2007 there were co-Big West champions and the first time ever there were tri-champions. Cal State Fullerton went on to win the conference tournament for a third straight season.

Admission to both the upcoming exhibition and scrimmage are free (as it remains for Cal Poly students all fall).

For the general public, tickets can be bought at GoPoly.com, by calling (805) 756-4849 or by visiting the sidewalk windows at the on-campus Performing Arts or Rec. centers from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays.