NORTHRIDGE, Calif. – Sophomore forward Matt LaGrassa provided the Cal Poly men’s soccer program an early lead at No. 4 Cal State Northridge on Sunday evening, but the Matadors scored three times without reply to send the Mustangs to a 3-1 defeat.
Sophomore goalkeeper Wade Hamilton registered three saves for Cal Poly (8-6-0, 1-3-0), which outshot Cal State Northridge (11-2-0, 3-1-0), 14-13. However, Cal State Northridge – the second-highest ranked opponent Cal Poly had faced in 20 Division I seasons – posted its second successive win against the Mustangs at Matador Field by scoring two second-half goals.
Freshman forward John Chronopoulos registered Cal Poly’s first shot on target in the fourth minute, but it was LaGrassa who broke the scoreless deadlock on 18 minutes, regaining possession from a Mustang turnover and firing past sophomore goalkeeper Adam Hobbs into the top left corner of the Matador net.
Cal State Northridge, however, required just four-and-a-half minutes to find the equalizer as junior Sagi Lev-Ari took a pass from fellow forward Edwin Rivas and hit his 10th goal of 2013 into the upper right side of the Mustang net.
LaGrassa forced a 28th-minute save and senior midfielder George Malki was turned away in the 35th and 37th minutes for Cal Poly, which elicited six saves on the night from Hobbs.
The Mustangs enjoyed the first on-target attempt of the second half as sophomore winger Chase Minter was halted by Hobbs in the 57th, but Cal State Northridge broke the tie 31 seconds later as sophomore midfielder David Turcios hit a ball over the top for senior forward Beto Velasquez, who bested Hamilton in a one-on-one attempt.
Cal State Northridge then went up 3-1 in the 65th minute, as Turcios picked out Lev-Ari with the Matadors on a three-on-one breakaway against Hamilton. Lev-Ari cemented the final scoreline by scoring on an open Mustang net.
The Mustangs enjoyed one final chance to break through against Hobbs, but Malki was stopped in the 88th minute.
Cal Poly concludes a three-match road trip and opens play against Big West Conference North Division opposition when visiting Sacramento State on Saturday, Oct. 19.