Cal Poly

Cal Poly women’s soccer ends three-game skid with 2-0 win over UC Irvine

For the final time in their college careers, senior members of the Cal Poly women’s soccer team enjoyed one last victory under the lights at Alex G. Spanos Stadium.

Senior Elise Krieghoff and sophomore McKenize Flood each scored to help the Mustangs snap a three-game losing streak and defeat visiting UC Irvine 2-0 in a Big West Conference match Friday night.

A strong crowd of 2,067 turned out to watch Cal Poly play its final night game of the regular season. The Mustangs improved to 6-6-5 overall and 2-4 against conference opponents heading into Sunday’s noon match against UC Riverside.

Cal Poly closes out the regular season Nov. 1 against Big West-leading Cal State Fullerton, which holds a six-point lead over the Mustangs in the conference standings.

“At this point our chances of getting into the (Big West) tournament are slim,” said senior goalkeeper Alyssa Giannetti, who made five saves in Friday’s victory. “We’ve got to win our next two games and see how things play out. But we’re just going to do what we can and see how it turns out.”

With Cal Poly struggling to score in conference play, Krieghoff did what she’s done her entire career: deliver timely goals. She scored off a free kick from 23 yards out in the 30th minute to end the Mustangs’ scoreless drought of more than 179 minutes, going back to the 31st minute against CSUN on Oct 11.

Krieghoff has scored 52 goals in her career and led the Big West in scoring three consecutive seasons, though that streak likely won’t reach a fourth year. Cal State Fullerton’s Rebecca Wilson has scored a conference-best 15 goals this season, and Krieghoff, who missed two games because of an injury, has scored six times in 15 games.

With the dynamic Krieghoff leading the way, the Mustangs were voted as the preseason favorite to win the Big West and brought back six all-conference performers from last year’s 10-9-1 campaign. However, things haven’t quite gone to plan this fall under 24th-year head coach Alex Crozier.

After winning three consecutive nonconference games in mid-September, Cal Poly has won only twice in its past nine matches. Before Friday, the lone victory during that time was a 7-2 rout of Hawaii on Oct. 4, with three draws and four losses on either side of it.

“I think right now we put ourselves in a hole, so it’s just one game at a time,” Crozier said. “Control what you can control, then we’ll just see what happens.”

Knowing Cal Poly’s postseason chances were getting narrower by the day, Krieghoff and the nine-member senior class helped the Mustangs regroup during a rare seven-day break in between games.

“We’ve had so much time to think about, how do I want my season to end as a senior?” Krieghoff said. “What do I want to leave here as a legacy? I know that’s going through a lot of senior’s heads.”

Cal Poly added to its lead in the 58th minute when Flood scored her second of the season. The sophomore reserve forward finished a pass ahead from freshman Chelsea Barry and snuck a shot passed UC Irvine goalkeeper Corey Tobin.

The Mustangs held a 17-9 advantage in shots and a 7-5 lead in shots on goal. Krieghoff contributed seven of those shots, three of them on target. Crozier said the Mustangs’ attack “did a good job of just connecting our passes” and didn’t try to do too much against the Anteaters.

That’s a formula Cal Poly hopes will get it back into the playoff conversation.

“All we’re doing is focusing on Sunday,” Krieghoff said. “Riverside is a great team.”