Sometimes to get by, you need a little help from your friends.
While the threesome of seniors forward Neil Jones, midfielder Memo Arzate and junior forward Drew McAthy have been consuming all the attention from opposing teams, junior forward Matt Bly has been able to sneak through the cracks and make his presence felt as of late.
Bly broke out of his shell in grand fashion Wednesday, or, as he put it, “opened [his] account” by scoring two of the Gauchos’ three goals at Cal Poly to help augment their school record Big West winning streak to 12.
“It took me a while but I guess it came at a good time. [McAthy] and [Jones] have been doing most of the scoring,” Bly said. “If I can come off the bench and give a spark like that, it will do wonders for us.”
Bench production has been crucial for the Gauchos considering the injuries they have had to deal with. Thanks to the swift and extraordinary recovery of senior captain and midfielder David McGill, Bly’s role might soften, but in filling the void, has gained invaluable experience.
“When Dave [McGill] went down, there were definitely some big shoes to fill,” Bly said. “I got to see a lot more playing time and just being out there more I think helped my confidence.”
With Bly rolling and McGill back, the Gauchos appear as solid as ever in the middle, and they will pray that McGill’s ankle will be solid enough to hold up for the rest of the season.
“There was nothing really magical about it. It was pretty much him,” Trainer Bob Annible said. “He’s definitely not at 100 percent yet, but he can still do a lot on [the ankle].”
McGill started the game at San Luis Obispo but only played about 30 minutes. Just being on the field was enough for the Dublin, Ireland native.
“It felt great. It’s a lot easier to be a leader when you’re out there,” McGill said. “There’s not much you can do from the sideline. When you’re out there you can do your job.”
McGill and the Gauchos will continue to try and get the job done this Saturday at Cal State Fullerton. Fullerton is a team that exudes flashes of brilliance at the beginning of the season, but has recently floundered in the Big West, offering a 1-4 conference record, placing them in last place.
“They started out well and had a couple of big wins, but they haven’t been performing as of late,” McGill said. “It’s actually been surprising because it’s always tough to come away with a win there.”