By J.R. Eskilson, Top Drawer Soccer
The first meeting of the season between these teams was a sellout at Cal Poly's Spanos Stadium. Over 11,000 packed into the cement and metal bleachers for a 1-1 draw that helped UCSB clinch the Big West North Division title.
The return fixture offers a bit less in terms of standings or pomp, but rivalries have a way of building the narrative on their own. UCSB head coach Tim Vom Steeg told the Santa Barbara News Press last week that he would like to see his group close out the season with three wins from the final four games. That task got much more difficult with the news that senior center back Peter Schmetz, who was having an excellent season, will miss the next three weeks due to injury.
Cal Poly rolls into Isla Vista with the attention focused on postseason seeding for the Big West Tournament. The Mustangs have been inconsistent this season, but when the attack is on, it is scary good. Cal Poly leads the nation in goals scored with 41 – a program record. Senior Mackenzie Pridham has been the main threat with 13 goals on the season – he is three off the program record, which was set by Clay Harty in 1995.
Last time these teams met at Harder Stadium, Cal Poly stunned the crowd with a win in overtime. UCSB still remembers the sting from that result. This is a different (and more complete) team from the Gauchos, so expect a different result.
Prediction: UCSB 2-1 Cal Poly
Original article here.
Tickets are still available for this pivotal match. To get yours today, call 805-893 UCSB or click here. The game will also be televised live by Fox Sports Prime Ticket.