SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Junior forward Ahinga Selemani and junior midfielder Kevin Feucht each added goals to their impressive 2016 tallies to lead UC Santa Barbara to a 2-1 win over Blue-Green rival Cal Poly in Saturday night's rain-drenched contest at Alex G. Spanos Stadium.
With the win, UCSB (8-5-2, 4-0-2) remained unbeaten in conference play and maintained their five-point lead over UC Davis at the top of the Big West North Division. The Gauchos will clinch a spot in the Big West Tournament with their next victory, and paired with UC Riverside's 1-0 loss to Cal State Fullerton, UCSB is now the sole undefeated team in the Big West.
Struggling Cal Poly dropped to 3-8-2 overall while remaining in the North basement with just four points in league action.
Despite the inclement weather, the UCSB-Cal Poly matchup drew a crowd of 11,075, the sixth straight year that the Mustangs have sold out the Blue-Green game at Spanos.
Cal Poly was the first team on the board on Saturday via a 30th minute goal from Christian Enriquez, as the midfielder uncorked a shot from about 20 yards out after making a run through the midfield.
The home team's lead was very short-lived however, as Selemani found an equalizer less than three minutes later to score in his fourth straight game, the second Gaucho this season with a four-game goal streak (Feucht) and the third in the past two seasons (Nick DePuy).
The Ann Arbor, Mich. native took advantage of a Cal Poly defensive lapse in the penalty area to bring the score level, stealing the ball from a trio of Mustangs defenders who had failed to clear an Andy Perez cross into the box. All alone in the left side of the box, Selemani finished low to the keeper's left.
With the rain coming down and the physical play going up, neither team generated many opportunities until Feucht found paydirt in the 63rd.
After building out of the back, DePuy found Feucht in the middle of the park. The German quickly picked out Dalton Pando to his left for a 1-2 opportunity, but Pando's return pass to the streaking Feucht came up empty because Feucht was dragged down just inside the box, leading to the Gauchos' third penalty kick of the year.
Feucht drilled his shot low to the left, and Cal Poly keeper Eric Kam guessed incorrectly as UCSB went ahead.
The score gave Feucht his team and Big-West leading ninth goal of the year.
UCSB goalie Titouan Le Roux, who made four saves on the night, led a defensive effort down the stretch that prevented the Mustangs from evening the scoreline.
DePuy was a bit unlucky to not get on the scoresheet, as his far post header off a long Feucht free kick in the second half banged off the underside of the crossbar.
Next up, UCSB will travel to UC Davis in a battle for North supremacy on Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. Next Saturday, the Gauchos will welcome the Mustangs to Harder for the return game in the Blue-Green rivalry, a showdown that will be televised live by FOX Sports Prime Ticket. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:00 p.m.