IRVINE – Junior forward Jared Pressley (above) became the eighth different Mustang to find the back of the opposition net in 2017, but the Cal Poly men's soccer program couldn't bridge an early two-goal deficit and dropped a 3-1 decision to UC Irvine inside Anteater Stadium on Thursday afternoon.
Junior goalkeeper Simon Boehme produced two saves for Cal Poly (5-6-0, 1-2-0), but two goals from UC Irvine midfielder Ivan Canales inside the opening 12 minutes helped relegate the Mustangs to a second straight Big West Conference defeat. Cal Poly outshot the Anteaters 12-11 and produced six corner kick opportunities to UC Irvine's two.
With Thursday's defeat, Cal Poly stayed in fourth place in the Big West Conference North Division standings. The remaining three North Division programs play later Thursday evening.
The Mustangs close a two-match road trip and action versus Big West South Division opposition at CSUN on Saturday, Oct. 7. Kickoff is 7 p.m.
Cal Poly found itself trailing after just 98 seconds on Thursday after forward Jose Ortiz dribbled into the Mustang penalty area and laid a short pass off for Canales, who rolled a shot past Boehme and into the left corner of the net.
UC Irvine then doubled its lead on 12 minutes as midfielder Erick Gallinar dribbled to the end line and squared a pass back in front of goal for midfielder Giovanni Godoy, who found Canales for his second strike of the afternoon.
Freshman defender Andrew Forth cleared a third Canales attempt off the goal line in the 16th and Boehme recorded his first save in 22nd.
Offensively, Cal Poly placed three of its first four shot attempts on frame before breaking through in the 39th. Dribbling up midfield, sophomore Christian Enriquez slid a pass toward his left for Pressley, who scored his fourth career goal with a shot into the right corner.
Cal Poly, however, saw its deficit slip to two goals once more in the 62nd minute as Godoy produced a goal from the left side of Boehme's net.
The Mustangs enjoyed multiple chances down the stretch to trim their deficit, but senior forward Tyler Savitsky struck the post in the 67th before Enriquez blistered a shot off the gloves of UC Irvine goalkeeper Alex Waldron in the 72nd.