SAN LUIS OBISPO – Freshman midfielder Joseph Bolous scored his second career goal in the 12th minute and junior midfielder Matt LaGrassa added his second of 2014 in the 70th as the Cal Poly men’s soccer team survived a late goal from San Francisco to record a 2-1 triumph on Friday evening at Alex G. Spanos Stadium.
Junior goalkeeper Wade Hamilton recorded six saves for Cal Poly (5-1-1), which pushed its unbeaten run to six straight matches and improved to 4-0-0 at Spanos Stadium this season. In front of 6,856 supporters – the ninth largest men’s soccer crowd figure in Spanos Stadium history – sophomore forward John Chronopoulos and junior midfielder Kip Colvey added assists for the Mustangs.
“We had a commitment to defend tonight and we made the most of the chances that were given to us,” interim head coach Phil Ruskin said. “Most importantly, there’s a belief in our guys that they want to put in the work to get a result.”
Cal Poly senior midfielder Steve Palacios forced San Francisco senior goalkeeper Chase Hauser into an early save before Bolous broke the deadlock on 12 minutes, putting in a rebound following a saved attempt by Chronopoulos.
Cal Poly forced Hauser into two more saves during the period, but in was San Francisco putting the Mustangs under pressure in the second half. Hamilton, the reigning NSCAA National Player of the Week honoree, chalked up three saves during a five-minute stretch early in the second half to preserve Cal Poly’s lead.
“Wade won that award last week, but tonight he earned it. The last couple of games have been team shutouts,” said Ruskin of his squad, which entered Friday’s match having not allowed a goal in three successive contests. “Tonight, Wade was asked to make multiple big saves. USF’s goal was not as concerning because of the three or four goals Wade kept out. He was the man of the match, no doubt.”
Cal Poly doubled its lead in the 70th with Colvey putting in a cross from the right edge of the penalty area for LaGrassa, who headed the pass inside the post.
Hamilton pushed a goalless streak to 425 successive minutes before San Francisco found its goal in the 87th with senior defender David Romney playing in junior midfielder Joshua Smith, who scored on a one-versus-one opportunity.
Cal Poly, which opened a five-match home stand Friday, continues action against Pacific on Sunday, Sept. 21 at 1 p.m.
“We need to continue to get better on both sides of the ball,” added Ruskin. “There were moments when we gave away the ball and caused our own problems. We need to work on being a balanced team that takes care of the ball and is relentless in winning it back.”