SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Senior forward Mackenize Pridham equaled the Cal Poly men’s soccer program career goal-scoring record on Saturday night and the Mustangs broke the program’s single season goal record as the hosts closed their 2013 regular season home schedule with a 4-2 victory against Sacramento State.
Senior George Malki added a goal and fellow midfielder Kevin Atkins scored his first as a Mustang as the four-goal spree – which included a 58th-minute own goal on behalf of Sacramento State – took Cal Poly to 41 for the year. The total eclipses the previous program record of 40, set by the 1995 Mustangs.
With the victory, second-place Cal Poly (10-6-2, 3-3-2) moved three points clear of UC Davis (6-8-3, 2-4-2) in the Big West North Division standings (the Aggies managed a 1-1 draw at No. 16 UC Santa Barbara earlier Saturday). The Mustangs visit UC Davis on Wednesday, Nov. 6 with a win providing Cal Poly second place in the division and the right to host a Big West Tournament opening-round match on Nov. 12.
“The win was a great way to clinch a spot in the Big West Tournament,” eighth-year Cal Poly head coach Paul Holocher said. “To do it on senior night, with three seniors scoring goals and everyone contributing was special. We played confidently and with a lot of poise tonight. Sacramento State is a dangerous team so we’re happy to have captured all three points.
“To break the program scoring record is a testament to the team's commitment to our style of play and the quality of our players.”
Pridham, with a 64th-minute strike, equaled the Cal Poly career scoring record of 26 goals, set by Clay Harty (1995-96) and matched by David Zamora (2007-10). Pridham, who also earned an assist on the final goal by Atkins, improved his career point total to 56 and moved into a third-place tie in the career record book alongside Doug Cox (1994-96).
The nation’s second-leading scorer, Pridham’s 13 goals this season are also a career high.
Pridham got Cal Poly’s offense rolling with a shot on frame in the second minute, but it was Malki who found the opener in the 22nd by running on to a cross from freshman winger Ari Lassiter and firing from four yards past Sacramento State senior goalkeeper Cesar Castillo.
The Hornets equalized in the 35th, however, as a free kick from the right edge of the Mustang penalty area by sophomore midfielder Edwin Luna found freshman defender Andrew Gosselin, who buried a shot past Cal Poly freshman goalkeeper Wade Hamilton near the left post.
Cal Poly reclaimed its lead in the 58th as a cross from the right side from Lassiter was redirected into the back of the Hornet net by junior defender Mason McCann.
The Mustangs then went up 3-1 in the 64th through Pridham, who latched on to an upfield pass from Malki and fired from 10 yards past Castillo.
Sacramento State clawed back to within a goal of the Mustang lead five minutes later as freshman defender Preston Davis struck a pass from midfield up to Luna, connected with the back of the Mustang net from 20 yards.
Cal Poly, however, put the match out of reach 38 seconds from full time. Pridham picked up an errant ball on the Hornet side of midfield and charged on to the Sacramento State goal. Castillo charged out and Pridham slid a pass left to Atkins, who scored his first collegiate goal with his first career shot attempt.