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Cal Poly Visits No. 6 Santa Clara on Friday, Hosts Cal Baptist Sunday

Cal Poly Visits No. 6 Santa Clara on Friday, Hosts Cal Baptist Sunday

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — The Cal Poly women's soccer team will conclude non-conference play with a pair of games this weekend, first finishing a five-match road stretch before returning home. The Mustangs will visit No. 6 Santa Clara for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff Friday, followed by hosting Cal Baptist at Alex G. Spanos Stadium at 1 p.m. Sunday.

Santa Clara (7-1-1), which is coming off a 1-1 draw at top-ranked Stanford, moved up a spot in Tuesday's Top 25 poll.

Maddy Gonzalez has scored a team-high four goals for the Broncos, who advanced to the Sweet 16 of last year's NCAA Tournament, while Maria Sanchez has distributed six assists (sixth-most across the country) to go with her trio of goals.

Melissa Lowder maintains a 0.93 GAA along with a save percentage of .830 for SCU, the third straight ranked opponent Cal Poly has faced. A WCC TV feed will be broadcast from Buck Shaw Field at Stevens Stadium on Sept. 21.

Cal Baptist, which moved to the WAC prior to the start of this year, is off to a 5-1-1 start in its first season as a member of Division I.

Part of Week of Welcome around campus, Sept. 23 is also a Youth Day at Spanos Stadium, with free admission for kids 13-and-under.

Desarae Felix has tallied a team-high four goals in 2018 for the Lancers, while Rebecca Romero has three assists. In goal, CBU's Romy Salvador owns an .846 save percentage to go with a 0.41 GAA.

The Mustangs (0-6-3) are coming off back-to-back Pac-12 road matchups, falling at No. 1 Stanford 3-0 and 4-1 at No. 16 Washington State. Sophomore Grace Park tallied her first collegiate goal at Washington State, blasting a strike from 25 yards out in the 53rd minute. Senior Ashley Kirchick assisted on Park's goal, the eighth assist of her career.

BARRY CLIMBING IN THE RECORD BOOK: Cal Poly senior defender Chelsea Barry has moved up in the Mustang record book in two categories. Selected to the Big West Preseason All-Conference Team, Barry begins this week having made 63 starts in her career, moving to No. 16 in school history last weekend.

Additionally, with her assist to sophomore Georgina Stiegeler against Utah Valley on Sept. 2, she reached a career total of 10 while playing mostly in the back line, tying for No. 15 on Cal Poly's all-time assists leaderboard. Barry, who earned All-West Region third-team honors in 2017, has seen a team-leading 828 minutes on the season.

FRESHMEN FACTOR: A duo of first-year Mustangs combined to give Cal Poly a 2-1 lead against Utah Valley on Sept. 2, when Clare Murphy played a ball out wide to Brooke Rubinstein, who beat the keeper to the far post from the right edge of the box. The Murphy-Rubinstein connection wasn't the first instance of freshmen making an immediate impact this fall, as 11 of the 12 newcomers from this year's recruiting class have already combined for 74 appearances.

Included in that group, seven freshmen have combined to start 39 times.

Among the freshmen starters, Ava McCray has placed six of her eight total shots on goal; Mackenzie George (one of 24 players called to attend the USWNT U-19 camp in May) has landed six attempts on frame; Megan Hansen has an assist; and Monserrat Hernandez Marquez and Emily Talmi have accounted for 34 of the squad's 47 corner kicks (lining up 13 and 21 apiece). One of Talmi's corners set up Michaela Olney's 38th-minute goal at Gonzaga Sept. 7, earning her first collegiate assist.

JOHNSON AMONG BIG WEST LEADERS: Mustang junior forward Jessica Johnson starts the week No. 4 in the Big West in shots-on-goal per game, averaging 1.4. An All-Big West Freshman honoree in 2016, Johnson is taking 3.1 total shots per match, for an on-target percentage of .440.

Johnson scored her eighth career goal in the 1-1 draw at Seattle U on Sept. 9, equalizing for the Mustangs in the 87th minute. Tallied with 3:09 to play until the end of regulation, her tying goal ranks as the fifth-latest equalizer in program history.

BROWN ALSO ON CONFERENCE, SCHOOL HISTORY LEADERBOARDS: Cal Poly junior goalkeeper Sophia Brown leads the Big West Conference in saves with 51. She's No. 2 in the per-game category, averaging 5.7 a match.

Additionally, Brown now ranks No. 4 in school history for career saves with 214.

CONFERENCE PLAY STARTS SEPT. 28: Big West action commences Friday, Sept. 28 in Spanos Stadium against CSUN.

The top four schools in the conference's regular-season standings qualify for the Big West Tournament, scheduled for Nov. 1 (semifinals) and Nov. 4 (the championship match). The Big West table awards 3 points per win and 1 per draw.

Defending regular-season champion UC Irvine will host the tournament provided the Anteaters make the four-team field. If, however, UCI doesn't qualify, hosting rights would then go to this year's No. 1 seed, a new format for 2018.

CAL POLY ADDED TO ESPN3 FOR OCT. 21: Cal Poly's matchup at Cal State Fullerton on Sunday, Oct. 21 has been added to the WatchESPN lineup. The game against the Titans, defending Big West Tournament champions, is set for a 2 p.m. kickoff. WatchESPN telecasts are available on all connected devices.

FOLLOW THE MUSTANGS: Mustang tickets are available at GoPoly.com, by calling (805) 756-4849 or by visiting the sidewalk window at the on-campus Performing Arts Center from 12 noon to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

All Sunday games at Alex G. Spanos Stadium are Youth Days, with free admission for kids 13-and-under. This fall's additional Youth Days are vs. UC Davis (Sept. 30 at 12 noon) and UC Santa Barbara (Oct. 28 for a 2 p.m. Blue-Green Rivalry Senior Day).

Families are also encouraged to sign up for the Mustang Kids Club ($10 per child 8th grade or under), as over $300 in benefits include ongoing free admission to all 2018-19 regular-season soccer, volleyball, wrestling & women's basketball events along with select football, men's basketball and baseball games; plus invitations to exclusive events; opportunities to be an honorary captain at Mustang home games; a birthday card from Musty; free gelato at SLO Sweets every month (along with birthday scavenger hunts) and a T-Shirt.

Cal Poly students always get into games for free, and are also invited to join the Stang Gang. Stang Gang, Cal Poly's student fan group, features several rewards for a $10 one-time lifetime registration fee, including prizes from sponsors such as Adidas, Amazon, SLO Sweets, Woodstock's Pizza, Eureka! Burger, Splash Café and Frank's Famous Hot Dogs, a member T-Shirt, and more upon reaching point levels by checking in at games.

Links to follow Mustang games live throughout the season can be found above, on the schedule page or via the GoPoly Front Row app.

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Photos © Owen Main