#23 Cal Poly beats Air Force 5-1 in men's soccer Friday night

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Mackenzie Pridham scored three goals and Ari Lassiter added a goal and two assists to lead the 23rd- ranked Cal Poly men’s soccer team to a 5-1 victory over Air Force Friday night at Cadet Soccer Stadium. The Mustangs improved to 7-2 this season, while Air Force fell to 0-8.

Cal Poly jumped on the scoreboard early when Chase Minter took a pass from Lassiter and fired a shot past Falcon keeper Joey Speshock just 1:36 into the contest. Speshock got the second start of his career for the Falcons after freshman Jake Schenk fell ill earlier in the day.

Pridham notched the first of his three goals and the game-winner in the 12th minute to give the Mustangs a 2-0 lead. Mike Hocker started the play by beating an Air Force defender down the right sideline and turned towards the net at the end line. He then found Pridham, who placed a shot past Speshock from close range.

Air Force cut the lead in half when junior Zachary Modly notched his first goal of the season in the 14th minute after taking a pass from freshman Blake Elder, sliding past a Mustang defender and beating goalie Wade Hamilton from the top of the box. The goal was AFA’s first since Brian Klazura scored three minutes into the first game of the season against St. Mary’s College and it marked Elder’s first career point.

Cal Poly’s 2-1 halftime lead quickly became 4-1 as Pridham scored in the 49th and 56th minutes to put the game out of reach. Kip Colver assisted on the first one and Lassiter got his second assist of the night on the second. Lassiter then scored a goal of his own to make it 5-1 with a shot from the right side that went right through Speshock’s hands and trickled into the net.

The Mustangs outshot Air Force 18-11 in total shots and 8-5 in shots on goal. Pridham led all players with six shots, while Modly had a team-high four and freshman Ryan Ward attempted three for the Falcons.

Air Force opens play in the Western Athletic Conference next Saturday, Oct. 5 against Grand Canyon University at Cadet Soccer Stadium beginning at 7 p.m.