#36 Cal Poly Men's Soccer 2013 Preview

Cal Poly Mustangs

Overall Rank: #36
Conference Rank: #2 Big West
#36 Cal Poly Men's Soccer 2013 Preview
Cal Poly Team Page


The “Green Army”, better known as the legions of soccer fans who support the Cal Poly program, could not lift its favorite team into the NCAA tournament. The Mustangs got off to a 6-2-1 start but stumbled down the stretch and missed out on a Big West championship. Cal State Northridge put an end to the Mustang season in the conference semifinals. The team should find more focus this year thanks to a roster that is one year older and more experienced, but the Big West will be fairly tough once again.

2012 Record: 11-7-1, 6-3-1
2012 Postseason: None
Coach: Paul Holocher

The good news for Cal Poly revolves around the return of senior forward Mackenzie Pridham, who had 11 goals during the season. Six of those goals were game winners, demonstrating an ability to come through in the clutch. Midfielder George Malki also returns for another year, as does forward Chris Bernardi. Three of the top four scorers are back, so that should help Cal Poly gain some traction on offense. The team’s goals-against average of 1.04 ranked 68th in the nation out of 202 schools, suggesting a fairly strong but not overpowering defense. A smart thing the Mustangs did was play two goalkeepers last year, with sophomore Wade Hamilton taking over goalie duties because sophomore keeper Chase Hauser transferred to the University of San Francisco.

There aren’t too many glaring holes on this team. Chris Gaschen is the only top scorer not back from Cal Poly’s top four, but he was more known for his assists with seven total than his goals. Because there aren’t two keepers with significant experience like Hauser and Hamilton last season, the team could be in a little trouble if Hamilton gets hurt. Still, the Mustangs have several keepers on the roster so it looks like Cal Poly came prepared for just such an emergency. One team weakness that stood out a year ago was a glaring weakness in goal scoring. There were eight 1-0 games last year, and the team went 5-3 in those contests. Eight games where no goals or one goal were scored… that needs to change.

Final Projection:
Cal Poly certainly isn’t shying away from the tough competition. Two of the first three games on the schedule are against Creighton and UCLA, which figure to be top programs this fall. If the Mustangs can get past that rough stretch things should improve from there. The Big West is a weaker conference when it comes to soccer, but it isn’t a slouch either. With three of the top four scorers back and one of the top goalies returning, it should be a decent season for the Mustangs.

Projected Postseason: NCAA

Returning Leaders:
Goals: Mackenzie Pridham, Senior, F, 11
Assists: Mike Hocker, Junior, MF, 5
Shots: Mackenzie Pridham, Senior, F, 59
Saves: Wade Hamilton, Sophomore, GK, 52

Madness Men's Soccer 2013 Recruit Rankings:
#12 Justin Dhillon


See All Men's Soccer Top 44 Team Previews