SAN LUIS OBISPO – Junior midfielder Matt LaGrassa (right) set a victorious tone with a 24th-minute goal as the Cal Poly men's soccer team pushed its winning streak to four successive matches with a 2-0 triumph against Grand Canyon on Thursday evening inside Alex G. Spanos Stadium.
Junior goalkeeper Wade Hamilton added a save to chalk up his second successive shutout for Cal Poly (4-1-0), which didn't allow a Grand Canyon shot on goal for the opening 88 minutes. The Mustangs, whose four-match winning streak is one shy of the program record set in 1994 and matched in 2012 and 2013, outshot Grand Canyon 13-5 on the night and received a Lopes own goal in the 84th minute en route to victory.
"I thought we looked better tonight in the attacking half and created more opportunities than we did against UMass," said interim head coach Phil Ruskin, relating to Sunday's 1-0 win. "I commend our back four and Wade for their second straight shutout. A big factor tonight was our organization and I felt we identified their strikers in a manner that allowed for good pressure and cover. With Kip Colvey and Sean Dhillon, we were good tonight in one-versus-one matchups outside."
The Mustangs were limited to three shot attempts until the 24th minute, when sophomore forward John Chronopoulos picked out LaGrassa with a pass from the right side of the Grand Canyon penalty area. LaGrassa smashed the pass near the left post and past Grand Canyon sophomore goalkeeper Kendyl Day for his second goal of the season.
Cal Poly nearly doubled its lead in the 73rd, but sophomore winger Justin Dhillon – free on goal – saw a lifted attempt pawed down by Day.
Despite the missed chance, Grand Canyon handed Cal Poly its second goal in the 84th as sophomore defender Jordan Slack – looking to clear a Cal Poly crossing attempt – flicked the ball into the top right corner of his own net.
At the opposite end of Spanos Stadium, Hamilton faced just five total shot attempts to improve his goalless streak to 229 consecutive minutes and lower his season goals against average to 1.20.
Cal Poly, which closed a three-match home stand on Thursday, continues action when visiting No. 1 UCLA on Sunday, Sept. 14 in a 5:30 p.m., nationally-televised contest on Pac-12 Network.
"I feel that game will come down to the quality in our midfield," Ruskin said. "We'll need to be sharper in denying some of their play and we'll need to go forward with purpose and ideas."