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Cal Poly Takes Step Toward Big West Tournament with 2-1 Victory

Cal Poly Takes Step Toward Big West Tournament with 2-1 Victory

SAN LUIS OBISPO – Senior defender Björn Sandberg notched his first goal of the season to open the scoring Saturday evening and freshman forward Sebastian Herran (above) produced the match-winning strike with his first collegiate goal as the Cal Poly men's soccer program closed the regular season versus Sacramento State with a 2-1 triumph at Alex G. Spanos Stadium.

With Saturday's victory, Cal Poly (5-9-3, 3-5-2) improved to 11 points in the Big West North Division standings and overtook UC Davis (7-9-2, 3-6-0) – currently on nine points – for third place and conference's final postseason tournament berth. UC Davis, however, still has one match remaining when visiting first-place UC Santa Barbara on Sunday, Oct. 30 at 2 p.m. Only a victory from UC Davis will knock Cal Poly out of the Big West Tournament picture.

Should Cal Poly retain third place, the Mustangs will open Big West Tournament play at Cal State Fullerton with a Saturday, Nov. 5 opening-round match. The Titans, who drew UC Irvine earlier Saturday, finished second in the Big West South Division standings. Assured of second place in the North Division entering play Saturday night, Sacramento State hosts UC Riverside in the remaining Nov. 5 opening-round match.

In Saturday's match, Cal Poly needed all of two minutes, 33 seconds to notch the opening goal with freshman midfielder Christian Enriquez producing an inswinging corner kick for Sandberg, who headed his second Cal Poly goal past Sacramento State goalkeeper James Del Curto.

Sacramento State, however, equalized just 62 seconds after the restart with midfielder Bert Corona driving a 30-yard free kick that bounced in the Mustang penalty area and past Cal Poly junior goalkeeper Eric Kam.

Cal Poly, which outshot the Hornets 15-5, forced three first-half saves from Del Curto and two more in the second half before Herran produced the game-winner in the 71st minute. Taking a feed from senior midfielder Ruben Duran, Herran – with just his second shot on goal of the season – fired past Del Curto from 15 yards away.

The Mustangs kept Sacramento State to one shot attempt in the second half with Kam recording just one save on the evening.

Cal Poly, unbeaten in its final three games of the regular season, finished 4-2-2 at home in 2016.