By David Wilson
Sergi Monso’s team leading 18th goal and ninth assist of the season was the difference in soccer’s 2-0 win on the road against San Francisco State over the weekend in California Collegiate Athletic Association play.
After two road games last week, acting head coach Adam Reeves was “extremely nervous” about the matchup against the Gators.
“Their backs are a little bit up against the wall trying to get into the CCAA Tournament so they were going to throw everything at us,” Reeves said. “We were able to rest throughout the week. I think we got the guys prepared. We saw some areas in San Francisco’s shape and team that we thought we could take advantage of.”
The Broncos led 1-0 at halftime and quickly put the game out of reach with a flowing team goal finished off by senior midfielder Dante Medina just seven minutes into the second half that doubled Cal Poly Pomona’s lead.
Medina came off the bench at the end of the first half and started the second half at left midfield.
“Coming off the bench you just view the game, and you see the spaces available,” Medina said. “San Francisco gave a lot of gaps on the weak side, so those are my chances to run into.”
After winning the ball back in San Francisco’s half, junior midfielder Jimmie Villalobos spotted the run of Monso who had drifted from his center forward position out wide right.
The perfectly weighted ball put Monso through on goal. However, instead of trying to score his second goal, he squared the ball across the box to a wide-open Medina who easily slotted the ball home from close range.
“We forced them one way, and they all shifted, which left me alone on the left side,” Medina said. “When Sergi (Monso) got the ball and I saw him take on the first player the center defender went toward Sergi, I felt my chance to just run, and I knew Sergi was going to play me the ball.”
In the first half, CPP started on the front foot.
At one point, the Broncos earned five corner kicks in a row but were unable to manufacture a clear scoring opportunity.
The Broncos best chance came 17 minutes in when senior midfielder Luis Najera Jr. slalomed his way past three Gator defenders before being tackled just as he entered the penalty box.
The ball broke free for Monso who tried to round the onrushing keeper but went down looking for a penalty.
He was greeted with a yellow card from the referee for simulation instead.
The breakthrough came in the 26th minute as San Francisco began getting more of the ball.
The Broncos won the ball back on their own side of the field and broke the other way with senior midfielder Jose Garcia leading the charge.
Garcia played a ball down the line for an overlapping Villalobos to run on to.
Instead of playing the ball across the area, Villalobos cut the ball back to Garcia whose left footed shot was tipped onto the crossbar by San Francisco goalkeeper Peter Swinkels.
Swinkels’s heroics were in vain as Monso was first to react to the rebound tucking of the ball in the front post.
Monso, who lined up as a center forward, floated in different areas of the field to find the ball, creating a rotation among the attacking midfielders.
“We have a front three with him, Jimmie Villalobos and Jose Garcia that work extremely well together, and they understand each other’s movements,” Reeves said. “I don’t need to put them into a system, I’m going to make the system fit who we are.”
Leading 2-0, CPP closed out the game securing its first shutout since Oct. 6.
Despite the winning streak, CPP conceded five goals in the last five games heading into the weekend that included giving up two goals each against Chico and Stanislaus State last weekend.
According to Reeves, the team “watched a lot of video” the week leading up to the game to understand what the team was doing right and wrong as a unit.
“It’s a collective effort from Sergi that’s playing up top, all the way back to the keeper and that was the difference today,” Reeves said. “I told the guys before the game, ‘there’s one stat that I care about most and that’s a shutout.'”
Reeves credited the ten seniors on the team for the Broncos impressive 5-1 away record and being able to count on them rather than changing tactics or style of play.
CPP returns home for Senior Night this Friday against Cal State San Bernardino in the last game of the regular season.
“We’re all looking for one thing, and right now that one thing is the league championship,” Medina said.
Courtesy of CPP Sports Information
Medina came off the bench to score the second goal of the game
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