SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Cal Poly opens the 2019 women's soccer season this week, as the Mustangs travel to San Jose State and Sacramento State.
The season opener at SJSU kicks off on Thursday at 7 p.m. from Spartan Soccer Complex, before the road trip continues north for a 1 p.m. Sunday kickoff at Hornet Soccer Field.
LAFAIX SCORES TWICE IN PRESEASON: Camille Lafaix, a freshman San Jose Earthquakes Academy grad out of Los Gatos, tallied two goals during the preseason to lead the Mustangs in the attacking third.
Her first goal came in the 81st minute of the 2-1 exhibition win over Westmont on Aug. 9 (assisted by junior Georgina Stiegeler), before scoring again in the 12th minute of her Green side's 4-0 intrasquad scrimmage victory on Aug. 16 (with fellow freshman Madison Demijohn providing the service).
The other goal against Westmont came courtesy of Megan Demijohn (57' off an assist from Olivia Ortiz), while additional strikes during the intrasquad scrimmage were netted by Nikki Trucco (47', again assisted by Ortiz) and Monserrat Hernandez Marquez (50', on a free kick from 20 yards).
SCOUTING SAN JOSE STATE: Jamilecxth Becerra, who scored seven goals in 2017 as a Mountain West All-Newcomer Team selection, added five goals a year ago, when the Spartans won the MWC Tournament.
Kristen Amarikwa, Natasha Harris and Jada Wilson also return to lead the defense, which limited opponents to a goals-against average of just .62 entering NCAAs.
SJSU (9-7-6 overall in 2018) played Saint Mary's in a home exhibition on Aug. 15, resulting in a scoreless draw. The two schools played to a 1-1 tie a year ago in San Luis Obispo on Aug. 30.
A LOOK AT SAC. STATE: Mikayla Reed, a senior midfielder/defender, was selected to the All-Big Sky Second Team for the Hornets in 2018, her third consecutive all-conference nod (including a 2016 BSC Newcomer of the Year award).
Samantha Craig scored for Sacramento State in a scrimmage with Fresno State (a 2-1 exhibition loss) on Aug. 16 off a feed from Erika Sosa. The Hornets (3-13-2 overall in 2018) face their Causeway rival in the season opener, visiting UC Davis on Friday.
The Mustangs and Hornets last met in 2017, a 1-0 Cal Poly home win on Sept. 15.
.@olivia_luciaa & @megandemijohn connect for our first #GoalOfTheWeek in 2019!! �� Come see us on FRIDAY (free @ 7:00pm in Spanos) for the Green vs. White Intrasquad Scrimmage! �� #RideHigh pic.twitter.com/m8huabRxeY— Cal Poly W. Soccer (@CPWomensSoccer) August 13, 2019
BROWN CLIMBING IN THE RECORD BOOK: In goal, senior Sophia Brown heads into 2019 ranking No. 4 in program history with 53 career starts, including 10 shutouts.
Brown's 5.8 saves-per-game average in 2018 led the Big West in addition to ranking No. 28 nationally, while her 13-save effort at UC Riverside on Oct. 5 moved into a tie for No. 3 in school history for a single-game performance.
She starts the season with 276 career saves, entering 2019 No. 3 all-time at Cal Poly.
LONG BEACH LOOKS TO REPEAT: The top four schools in the regular-season conference table — which awards 3 points per victory and 1 per draw — will qualify for the Big West Tournament, with the semifinals scheduled for Nov. 7 and the championship game Nov. 10.
The Mustangs begin Big West play at home, hosting defending conference champion Long Beach State on Oct. 3. LBSU achieved the 'double' in 2018, winning both the regular-season and Big West Tournament titles. Cal Poly finished last year tied for sixth in the conference standings with 8 points at 2-4-2 in league (2-12-5 overall).
This year's regular-season No. 1 seed will host the conference tournament immediately after finishing in first place, a change from in years past where the previous season's regular-season champ won hosting rights for the year ahead.
SAVE THE DATES: This season's home slate features numerous giveaways and community events inside Alex G. Spanos Stadium:
Friday, Sept. 6 vs. Pepperdine (7 p.m.)
Free schedule posters will be handed out to the first 250 fans at the home opener.
Thursday, Sept. 19 vs. Washington (5 p.m.)
As part of Week of Welcome around campus, the match against the Huskies starts a soccer doubleheader at Spanos, as the Mustang men's team will later take on Westmont at 7:30 that evening. The first 200 students will receive free T-shirts.
Sunday, Sept. 29 vs. Seattle U (12 noon)
For Youth Day against the defending WAC Tournament champions, admission is free for kids 13-and-under.
Thursday, Oct. 3 vs. Long Beach State (7 p.m.)
At the conference opener, free scarves will be handed out to the first 250 fans.
Sunday, Oct. 27 vs. Cal State Fullerton (2 p.m.)
Admission is free for kids 13-and-under on Mustang Family Weekend.
Sunday, Nov. 3 vs. UC Riverside (2 p.m.)
Admission is again free for kids 13-and-under as Cal Poly celebrates Senior Day.
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.
Families are 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 2019-20 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, Breakfast Buzz, Eureka Burger, Frank's Famous Hot Dogs, Mr. Pickles, Old San Luis BBQ, SLO Sweets, Splash Café, Visa and Woodstock's Pizza, a member T-shirt, and more upon reaching point levels by checking-in at games.
Links to follow Mustang game broadcasts throughout the season can be found above, on the schedule page or via the GoPoly Front Row app.
Photo © Nathan Nybakke