The Cal Poly men’s soccer team scored early and late in a dominant performance at sixth-ranked UCLA and ended up with a 3-0 victory over the Bruins, the highest ranked team the Mustangs have ever beaten.
“It’s a great win,” Cal Poly head coach Paul Holocher said, “but it’s something that we know we deserve and we’ve been working towards. It really was a good soccer clinic tonight against a very good team. Hopefully, they give us some respect and put us in the top 20. If not, not a problem. We’ll keep doing what we do.”
Sophomore winger Chase Minter scored his first goal of the season in the 11th minute, and senior forward Mackenzie Pridham struck for his third of the year less than 15 minutes later to give the Mustangs (2-1-0) a two-score halftime lead.
Junior midfielder Steve Palacios assisted Minter, and redshirt freshman forward John Chronopoulos set up Pridham’s goal.
Senior midfielder George Malki found senior forward Chris Bernardi in the 84th minute to score the final goal of the game, during which Holocher said Cal Poly controlled possession.
The Mustangs had six shots on goal, doubling up the total of the Bruins (1-1-1), and Cal Poly sophomore goalkeeper Wade Hamilton had all three saves.
Holocher installed a possession style, modeled directly from Spanish powerhouse FC Barcelona, and feels confident in the Mustangs’ execution of it this season.
Their only loss came 3-0 to No. 2 Creighton, but Holocher was happy with the play in that match, if not the result.
Against UCLA, “Three different guys scored, different guys get assists,” Holocher said. “We work a lot of our ball recovery and working hard defensively. We want to dominate possession of the ball. These are supposedly the best teams in the country, and we’re on their home fields and dominating possession, and that’s a very special thing.”