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Cal Poly Hosts UCSB for Blue-Green Rivalry Finale at 2 p.m. Sunday

Cal Poly Hosts UCSB for Blue-Green Rivalry Finale at 2 p.m. Sunday

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — The Cal Poly women's soccer team will host UC Santa Barbara on Sunday afternoon, wrapping up the season with a Blue-Green Rivalry match at Alex G. Spanos Stadium.

Kickoff against the Gauchos is set for 2 p.m., following a pregame ceremony to honor the Mustangs' class of nine graduating seniors. The Oct. 28 clash is also a Youth Day, with free admission for kids 13-and-under.

Shaelan Murison has scored a team-high 10 goals for UC Santa Barbara (11-6-0, 4-2-0), which with 12 points begins the week third in the Big West standings prior to hosting CSUN Thursday night.

Madeline Gibson is next for the Gaucho attack with four goals. In goal for UCSB, Hanna DeWeese has a 0.94 GAA and an .807 save percentage.

The rivals have played to back-to-back 1-1 draws, tying in Isla Vista last year after a stalemate in San Luis Obispo in 2016, placing the all-time series at 15-8-6 in Cal Poly's favor.

The Mustangs are coming off a 2-1 win at Cal State Fullerton on Oct. 21. Cal Poly improved to 2-4-1 in Big West play with the victory (2-12-4 overall).

Starting the week with 7 points in the standings, the Mustangs can max out at 10 possible points, a bar currently held by UC Davis occupying the fourth & final berth to the upcoming Big West Tournament. UC Davis, however, is scheduled to play UC Riverside (beginning the week with 8 points) on Oct. 28 —  thus, mathematically eliminating Cal Poly from the final spot, as a tie or win would bump the Aggies to either 11 or 13 points while a Davis loss, conversely, would instead catapult the Highlanders to 11.

The Mustangs took the lead on the very first shot at CSF two-and-a-half minutes from the opening whistle, as Brooke Rubinstein netted the go-ahead strike by dribbling deep into the right side of the box following a takeaway, before shooting low to her left, beating Titan keeper Allison Poole inside the far post.

Cal Poly doubled its advantage in the 51st minute, as Kelly Kessloff stole an attempted clearance while stationed at the center of the penalty area. After corralling possession, she volleyed a left-footed blast into the right corner from 16 yards away. Mustang junior goalkeeper Sophia Brown made six saves in the victory.

CAL POLY TO GRADUATE A CLASS OF 9: The Mustangs will graduate a class of nine student-athletes spanning five majors, scheduled to be honored at 1:44 p.m. Sunday.

The players set to earn their degrees in the months ahead are: Kinesiology majors Chelsea Barry (a defender from Danville) and Stephanie Magellan (a midfielder from San Jose); Biochemistry's Senna Brennan (a defender out of Huntington Beach); Business majors Lexi Marietti (a defender from Dana Point), Macy Vrabel (a midfielder of San Diego) and Sydney Knauer (a midfielder from San Luis Obispo); Experience Industry Management's Ashley Kirchick (an outside back from San Jose) & Michaela Olney (an attacking mid from Santa Maria); and Environmental Engineering major Kelly Kessloff (a midfielder from Cypress).

KNAUER LEADS ATTACK WITH TRIO OF GOALS: Knauer tallied her team-leading third goal of the season during the 1-0 win over CSUN on Sept. 28. She chipped into an empty net off a rebound 25 yards away, securing the game-winner in the 53rd minute.

Earlier this season, Knauer also scored against San Jose State (upon 34' Aug. 30) and Santa Clara (60' on Sept. 21). Having played 61 games as a Mustang, she now has placed 19 of her 31 total career shots on goal.

BROWN NO. 5 IN BIG WEST SAVE PERCENTAGE: With a save percentage of .815 through seven Big West games, Brown is fifth in the conference in the category. Brown made a career-high 13 saves in earning the mirroring shutout at UCR on Oct. 5 (her second shutout in three games), moving to No. 3 in school history for a career (now with 270 saves).

OVERTIMES APLENTY: The Mustangs have played eight overtime games in 2018 — seven of which have gone to double-OT. Cal Poly opened the season with a scoreless draw against Marquette on Aug. 16, with its other non-conference ties coming versus San Jose State (1-1 on Aug. 30) and Seattle U (also 1-1 on Sept. 9). With the extra time added, Brown enters this week No. 15 in the nation in minutes played: 1,675.

FRESHMEN FACTOR: 11 of the 12 newcomers from this year's recruiting class have combined for 149 appearances.

Included in the group of first-year Mustangs making an immediate impact, eight freshmen have combined to start 86 times.

Among the freshmen starters, Brooke Rubinstein has tallied two goals; Mackenzie George (one of 24 players called to attend the USWNT U-19 camp in May) and Megan Hansen also each have a goal and an assist; Emily Talmi and Clare Murphy have one assist each; and Ava McCray has placed six of her 10 total shots on goal. Additionally, Monserrat Hernandez Marquez and Talmi have accounted for 51 of the squad's 84 corner kicks.

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.

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

Photos © Owen Main / Nathan Nybakke