By Christian Manoukian & Fredy Ramirez
Men’s soccer defeated hosts and No. 2 seed Point Loma Nazarene University 1-0 in the second round of the NCAA Division II Tournament Saturday, securing a third straight trip to the West Region title game.
The Sea Lions dominated most of the game, but the Broncos took advantage of their opportunities.
“Their press was very organized and very good,” head coach Adam Reeves said in a post-game press conference.
“We had a very difficult time in the first half and we withstood it.”
Point Loma’s offense forced the ball down field the first half but failed to finish thanks to the Broncos’ defense.
The game started slow, as both teams felt each other out for the first 10 minutes.
The Sea Lions pushed the ball down the field and nearly scored if not for senior goalkeeper Jason Trejos.
Trejos deflected the ball enough to make it go wide left, resulting in a corner kick for Point Loma.
The Sea Lions threatened again, placing the corner kick in the box resulting in three shots for the Sea Lions’ offense.
The Broncos’ defense held strong as they kicked the ball out of the box.
The Broncos’ offense showed signs of life at the end of the first half.
Sophomore midfielder Jordan Jackmon fired a cross that flashed past the goal line to the back post where junior midfielder Jimmie Villalobos nearly scored the first goal of the game. He just missed as his shot hit the top of the crossbar.
The first half ended 0-0.
Point Loma had seven corner kicks in the first half.
Unlike Point Loma, the Broncos took advantage of the first set piece opportunity in the second half.
In the 61st minute, CPP played a short corner that forced Point Loma to push up higher.
The ball came to senior forward Sergi Monso who floated the ball to the back post where junior defender Nadeer Ghantous waited, all alone, two yards from the goal line.
Ghantous headed to ball and then crashed into the post putting CPP up 1-0.
“It is not my job to score usually. It is a bonus for me,” Ghantous said in a press conference.
“This time of the season, playoffs, the most important thing is to get the W and move on.”
The Sea Lions did not go down without a fight.
Point Loma came within inches of scoring twice in the last 30 minutes of play.
Another amazing stop by Trejos prevented the equalizer as he just barely punched the ball away.
The Sea Lion’s offense made the Broncos’ defense work hard all game, but as time expired, the final score favored the Broncos. At the final whistle, nearly all of Point Loma’s players sunk to the ground as CPP’s bench stormed the field.
CPP earned a place in the second round by edging out No. 3 seed Simon Fraser University.
The Broncos beat Simon Fraser for the second straight year in a tight 2-1 game in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday.
The game featured a blistering opening exchange, with both teams trading goals, before settling into a more controlled tempo which lasted until the 85th minute.
Five minutes from overtime, senior midfielder Dante Medina cut in from the left flank and scored the go-ahead goal that sent CPP through to the second round of the NCAA tournament.
“We came off two really disappointing weeks, so to work so hard against a good Simon Fraser team, the feeling is fantastic,” Reeves said.
“When you fight for so long and so hard throughout the 90 minutes, and we just needed one moment of brilliance from one of our seniors, that’s special.”
This is the second consecutive season that the Broncos have upset Simon Fraser in the tournament.
The Broncos and the Clan met in the West Regional semifinals last year, where Cal Poly Pomona won 4-3 on penalty kicks after the teams played out a scoreless draw.
CPP stunned Simon Fraser when they took the lead just three minutes into the game.
Senior midfielder Matthew Perez sent a driven pass into the path of Villalobos, who fired a low shot past two Clan defenders into the bottom right corner.
It was his eighth goal of the season.
CPP would have hoped that the intense early pressure would leave Simon Fraser shell-shocked, but the team from British Columbia got back on level terms just over a minute later.
A Simon Fraser free kick from just outside the box was deflected off the wall and fumbled by Trejos.
In the melee that ensued, the ball was touched into the net by a Broncos’ player, resulting in an own goal and dragging Simon Fraser back into the match.
“The two early goals, in a way, made both the teams nervous because they didn’t want to make another mistake to cost the game, so it became a very tactical, measured game after the first few minutes,” Reeves said.
The contest settled into the pattern that Reeves described, with both teams attempting to play a measured and rhythmic possession game, trying to conjure up intricate combinations of passes that would unlock the opposition defense.
Both teams struggled to settle into any real passing rhythm, frequently giving the ball away or overplaying passes leading to an open, end-to-end game that saw both teams have chances to score the go-ahead goal on the counterattack.
Simon Fraser initially seemed to be the more dangerous of the two teams on the counter, frequently intercepting errant balls from Broncos’ players in the center of the field and streaming down CPP’s flanks to cut in and fire on goal.
Simon Fraser’s junior winger Mamadi Camara gave the CPP left flank problems with his pace down the line and his tendency to cut inside, freeing him up for crosses or shots on goal.
Late in the second half, freshman forward Matteo Polisi came inches away from getting on the end of one of Camara’s crosses and breaking the deadlock.
It was ultimately CPP who took advantage of a Simon Fraser lapse in concentration to score.
A giveaway in Simon Fraser’s attacking third from junior midfielder Brendan Shaw was quickly sent forward by Monso down the left flank for Medina to chase.
Picking up the ball, Medina drew two defenders toward him before slicing the ball back onto his right foot just inside the penalty box.
He drove a shot into the lower left corner past senior goalkeeper Miguel Hof, sending the CPP bench into raptures with what turned out to be the game-winning goal for the Broncos.
The all important goal was Medina’s third of the season.
CPP will play the undefeated California Baptist University (16-0-2) this Thursday in the West Regional Championship game.
CPP last played the Lancers in a 2015 preseason game winning 3-2 in overtime.
Cal Baptist beat Cal State Dominguez Hills 5-0 to advance to the third round and is ranked No. 1 in the West Region and No. 2 in the latest United Soccer Coaches Division II national ranking.
Courtesy of CPP Sports Information
The Broncos have reached the NCAA Tournament third round the last three years
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