With the scene of yet another historic Blue-Green rivalry at Alex G. Spanos Stadium the backdrop, junior midfielder Diego Alonso gave the raucous home crowd just reason to erupt in celebration when he chipped in a long-distance goal in the 64th minute to give Cal Poly a 1-0 victory over Central Coast adversary UC Santa Barbara on Sunday night.
Complete with the traditional tortilla-throwing, the crowd of 11,075 was the 14th largest in NCAA history, the largest of 2018, the eighth consecutive season that Cal Poly’s matchup against UC Santa Barbara at Spanos Stadium has sold out and the Mustang program’s ninth total home sellout.
The 13 combined matches between Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara during the past seven years are the 13 highest attended collegiate soccer games in the United States, outranking every NCAA Championship and College Cup contest since the beginning of the 2012 season.
Alonso’s winning effort deflected off a Santa Barbara defender and over the arms of goalkeeper Ben Roach, tucking just under the crossbar. Fans stormed the field when the referee blew the final whistle, marking another chapter in the country’s best college rivalry in what happened to be a non-conference matchup for the first time in 19 seasons — it was 19th time in the last 22 meetings between the two teams that a game was decided by a single goal or drawn.
Senior goalkeeper Simon Boehme chalked up three saves for Cal Poly (4-4-1), which saw Alonso notch just his second career goal in 34 appearances. It was senior defender Nick Carroll — making just his fourth appearance of the season — who earned the assist after taking a pass from senior midfielder Jose Rivera and centering for Alonso.
Boehme, who produced his first save in the 37th minute and two more in the 59th and 60th, preserved his sixth career shutout by tipping a loose ball over the cross bar two minutes from full time.
Cal Poly (4-4-1) opens Big West action with a 3 p.m. matchup at No. 17 UC Davis on Wednesday.