Cal Poly’s aspirations of making the NCAA men’s soccer tournament will come down to the wire after the Mustangs were eliminated from the Big West Conference tournament Wednesday night in Fullerton.
Freshman forward George Grote scored his first collegiate goal in the 30th minute to give Cal Poly an early lead, but Cal State Fullerton responded with three unanswered goals en route to a 3-1 victory in a semifinal match at Titan Stadium.
Cal Poly (11-4-5), which finished second to UC Santa Barbara in the North Division of the regular season conference standings, will now have to wait to see if it will receive an at-large bid for the 48-team NCAA Tournament. The selections will be release at 10 a.m. next Monday, with the Mustangs hoping to make their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2008.
South Division-champion Cal State Fullerton (12-7-1) advanced to play UC Santa Barbara in the Big West tournament championship game Saturday at Harder Stadium.
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Following Grote’s unassisted goal Wednesday night, the Titans responded six minutes later when Julian Okai evened the score on a penalty kick. Tied at 1-1 to start the second half, sophomore midfielder Diego Sanchez scored twice in an 18-minute stretch to secure Cal State Fullerton’s victory.