It’s only been a few months, and the Cal Poly men’s soccer team has done little more than intrasquad scrimmages, but the Mustangs are already invigorated by new head coach Steve Sampson.
They’re eagerly anticipating some exhibition matches later this spring to show exactly what Sampson’s stamp on the program will be.
“We’re just all extremely excited to get into spring and start seeing what it produces on the field,” returning senior midfielder Chase Minter said. “It’s different playing others teams, other competition, other players than it is playing your own teammates, guys who know you, know your in and outs, know your habits.
“The things he’s brought have taken all the things that we’ve learned and really kind of revolutionized what we’ve been doing to really kind of take us to that next level. I’m thoroughly excited to see what that turns out to be.”
Minter is in Anaheim today for the Big West Conference Scholar-Athletes of the Year banquet. The graphic communication major and reigning Big West Midfielder of the Year is representing Cal Poly along with junior distance runner Ashley Windsor.
Minter said it is an honor to work with Sampson, the former U.S. men’s national team head coach who has also won titles in the MLS and led Santa Clara to an NCAA championship.
The Mustangs are currently conducting offseason training camp and will play their offseason exhibition opener at home April 3 at 7 p.m. against Cal State Monterey Bay, and Minter said under Sampson’s tutelage, Cal Poly is building upon the possession style brought to San Luis Obispo by former head coach and Sampson protégé Paul Holocher.
Sampson is stressing scoring.
“His key thing that he’s always said is you’re going to find us in behind defenses more often,” Minter said. “You’re not going to see us necessarily going to complete 30 passes before we go to goal.
“We’re going to still play a very attractive, very sophisticated style, but it’s going to be one that’s constantly goal dangerous. It’s one that’s going to be centered around creative changes, going forward, expressing creativity, things like that, and I think it’s all going to come to the fold once we get some outside competition.”
Fiegener joins Kastl at national championship
Cal Poly freshman 184-pounder Nick Fiegener was awarded an at-large selection to the NCAA Division I wrestling championships, which are scheduled to open March 19 in St. Louis.
Fiegener will join Mustangs 174-pound senior Dominic Kastl, who qualified for the nationals with a second-place finish in the Pac-12 Championship on March 1 at Oregon State.
Fiegener, a graduate of Folsom High, was 24-15 in his first season, including a pair of falls. Eight of Fiegener’s wins were by major decision and he posted an 11-7 mark in dual meets.
Fiegener is one of just six at-large selections at 184 pounds.
TRACK AND FIELD
Cal Poly ends March with lone home meet
The Mustangs men’s and women’s track and field teams are gearing up for their lone home event of the season, the Cal Poly/ ShareSLO Invitational, which will be held all day on campus March 28.
The invitational is usually notable for appearances by distinguished Cal Poly alumni like multi-time multi-event U.S. champion Sharon Day-Monroe and former Olympic gold medal-winning discus thrower Stephanie Brown Trafton.
Trafton said recently she will be competing at the event in her bid to return from the birth of her first child.
Even though it is early in the season, the meet is also significant for current Mustangs like Windsor, a psychology major from Langley, British Columbia, who was one of four Cal Poly women to reach the NCAA West Regional last year.
“It’s our home track,” Windsor said. “It’s our home turf. We spend a lot of time traveling to our competitions. And it’s one of the few times where we get to show our school, ‘Hey, this is what we do; this is how we represent you’ and I think it’s our opportunity to bring school spirit.
“We want to be peaking around regionals and conference, but we always look to show our best and to make it a good time for the people that come out to watch us because we’re never going to leave anything on the track. We’re going to put it all out there and do our best every time, early season or postseason.”
Cal Poly recruiting class ranked in top 25
The Tennis Recruiting Network ranked the Cal Poly men’s tennis team’s incoming recruiting class 23rd in the nation.
The four-player class includes Sreyas Kolachalam of Stine 360 Tennis Academy in Fresno, Rafa Lenhard of Advantage Tennis Academy in Irvine, Josh Ortlip of Woodbridge Tennis Academy and recent signee Aiku Shintani of Rancho Bernardo High.
Ranked as California’s No. 29 player (No. 143 nationally), Shintani is also a San Diego Union-Tribune All-Academic Team selection.