SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Now on 4 points in the Big West standings following a win and a draw the past two weekends, Cal Poly looks to climb in the conference table, as the Mustang women's soccer team first travels to face Hawai'i on Thursday night before returning home to host Cal State Fullerton on Sunday afternoon.
Kickoff against the Rainbow Wahine on Oct. 24 is set for 7 p.m. Honolulu Time (a 10 p.m. start in California), televised on Spectrum Sports HI, also webcast through BigWestTV from Waipi'o Peninsula Stadium in O'ahu.
After flying back to the West Coast, the Oct. 27 match against the Titans kicks off at 2 p.m. Admission to the CSF game is free for kids 13-and-under on Mustang Family Weekend & Youth Day.
The top four schools in the regular-season conference table — which awards 3 points per victory and 1 per draw — qualify for the Big West Tournament, with the semifinals scheduled for Nov. 7 and the championship game Nov. 10. This year's regular-season No. 1 seed will host the 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.
Cal Poly (1-2-1 BWC; 4-9-2 overall) comes into the week in sixth place, just 3 points back of fourth, while Hawai'i holds second with 10 points (via 3-0-1; 5-6-2) and Fullerton leads the pack at 11 points (3-0-2; 10-2-3).
The Mustangs topped UC Davis 1-0 on the road on Oct. 13, led by a 51st-minute Nikki Trucco goal off an assist from Brooke Rubinstein, before continuing the road stretch with a 2-2 draw with UC Santa Barbara on Oct. 20. In the tie with UCSB, Rubinstein and Trucco again connected for a goal, staking the Mustangs to a lead in the 25th minute. The latter goal came on a penalty kick from Jordan Patane (71').
������ Hmm, Sounds familiar ... ���� Yup — for the 2nd game in a row, Brooke Rubinstein with a perfect pass to Nikki Trucco for the Goal of the Week!! (Last week in the win at Davis; this time in the tie vs UCSB) �� #RideHigh �� pic.twitter.com/LBPkq1XUGo— Cal Poly W. Soccer (@CPWomensSoccer) October 21, 2019
SCOUTING HAWAI'I: Kayla Ryan leads the Wahine attack with four goals, and Kelci Sumida has added three goals along with one assist up top. Meanwhile Kayla Watanabe, Eliza Ammendolia and Daelenn Tokunaga all have two assists apiece.
Alexis Mata has an .826 save percentage for UH while maintaining a 1.16 GAA.
All-time, Cal Poly is 7-1-1 against Hawai'i, with the loss coming 4-0 in San Luis Obispo last year when UH's Raisa Strom-Okimoto earned a hat trick. The Mustangs' last trip to the islands resulted in a 1-1 stalemate in 2017, with the Cal Poly goal tallied on a header by Emily Hansen.
A LOOK AT CAL ST. FULLERTON: A duo of Titan players have scored nine goals each heading into this week, as Atlanta Primus and Maddie Bennett are both one score shy of 10. In addition, Primus, an England U-19 Team forward, ranks fifth in the country in assists for the year, with 10. Primus has career totals of 22 goals plus 21 assists (tied for No. 7 in Big West history).
Haley Brown has also led the Titan midfield with eight assists. In goal for CSF, Noa Schumacher has a 0.97 GAA and has posted five shutouts next to a .692 save percentage.
The Titans host UCSB on Thursday evening before heading north to finish the weekend.
Cal Poly holds a 15-10-5 advantage all-time against Fullerton, including a 2-1 road victory in 2018. In last year's matchup, Rubinstein got the Mustangs out to a 1-0 lead in the third minute.
LAFAIX UP TO 4 GOALS IN FRESHMAN SEASON: Camille Lafaix now has four goals this season as a freshman from the San Jose Earthquakes Development Academy via Archbishop Mitty.
Earlier this year, Lafaix earned a brace and added an assist on Sept. 15, helping Cal Poly top Idaho State 3-1 in a neutral-field match at Montana. Her performance during the victory over the Bengals marked the first game in which a Mustang has reached five 'points' in the NCAA statistic (one goal equals 2 'points'; an assist equals 1) since Oct. 4, 2015.
BALANCED CONTRIBUTIONS: Eight different Mustangs have scored on the year, led by Lafaix's four goals (and two assists), along with Trucco's three goals and Patane's two. Meanwhile, Megan Hansen, Olivia Ortiz, Kylie Rojas, Sidra Bugsch and Brooke Oleson also have one goal each, while Rubinstein (thrice, tied for No. 6 in the Big West), Madison Demijohn and Emily Talmi have also recorded assists.
Bugsch, Lafaix and Hansen are tied for the team high in starts this fall, each with all 15. Hansen has played the most minutes among the Mustang XI so far this year: 1,215, mostly central to the midfield.
BROWN CLIMBING IN RECORD BOOK: Including her four saves vs. the Gauchos, goalkeeper Sophia Brown begins this week with 341 career saves, No. 2 all-time at Cal Poly. The senior from Pleasanton is 39 back of Alyssa Giannetti's school-record total of 380 saves from 2012-15.
Brown — selected as Big West Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 30 — also ranks No. 5 in conference history for career saves.
SAVE THE DATES: Cal Poly, 146-69-21 all-time at home, begins the week ranking No. 37 nationally in average attendance for 2019 (788). The rest of this season's remaining home slate also features additional giveaways and more community events inside Alex G. Spanos Stadium:
Friday, Nov. 1 vs. UC Irvine (7 p.m.)
Coinciding with the Mustangs' Alumni Weekend, all Cal Poly professors receive free admission on Faculty Appreciation Night.
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.
Photos © Owen Main / Nathan Nybakke / Juventino Ortiz