By Fredy Ramirez
Men’s soccer suffered a crushing 1-0 loss to the University of Charleston on a bizarre own goal by senior goalkeeper Jason Trejos in the final five minutes of the NCAA Tournament Final Four on Nov. 30.
After beating the top two teams in the nation earlier in the tournament, they fell to No. 3 Charleston.
Trejos blocked an initial shot, but the ball squirmed a few feet away from him.
As he reached back for the ball, he knocked the ball into the goal with three minutes left in regulation.
“The mistake came at a crucial time in the game by a goalie that had been unbelievable,” coach Adam Reeves said.
The Broncos seemed nervous at the start of the game as the Golden Eagles applied pressure early and often.
The Bronco backline held strong and weathered the storm as the offense settled in.
The teams exchanged blows, but none created a real opportunity until the 33rd minute.
Charleston threatened from a corner kick and managed to get the ball into the box.
The Golden Eagles managed a clear shot toward the net after a frenzy of shots.
Sophomore defender Angel Cova cleared the ball off the line from his position at the back post.
The Broncos retaliated with an opportunity of their own as junior midfielder Jimmie Villalobos missed a one on one opportunity.
The Golden Eagles answered back with an attack that ended with a brilliant save by Trejos to close out the first half.
“They sat on us for long stretches of the game, but we were able to settle in and create some half chances,” Reeves said.
The second half picked up where the first left off; CPP and Charleston applied pressure on the other’s defense.
The Golden Eagles narrowly won the offensive exchange in the second half, but the Broncos failed to capitalize on the best opportunity of the half.
Senior midfielder Jose Garcia broke away from the Charleston defense, but failed to steer his shot into the net as it rolled harmlessly to the keeper.
The Broncos looked fatigued in the last 15 minutes of regulation and all signs pointed toward extra time.
The own goal proved to be the difference.
Cal Poly Pomona seemed deflated with only three minutes left to score against a defense that only allowed eight goals all season.
At the final whistle, players sat on the turf knowing their best effort came up just short.
The Broncos finished the season with a 17-6-1 record overall and a 9-3 conference record.
The team became West Region Champions for the second time in three years and reshaped how the nation perceives Cal Poly Pomona soccer.
Seniors Sergi Monso, Nadeer Ghantous and Luis Najera Jr. all received All-American honors from a handful of national soccer associations.
These included the United Soccer Coaches and the Division II Conference Commissioner’s Association.
In addition, Reeves, who is still the acting head coach, and his staff earned West Regional Staff of the Year in Division II.
“We have to move forward looking back at these beautiful moments,” Reeves said.
“They achieved two final four appearances in four years and changed how Cal Poly Pomona soccer is perceived nationally.”
Courtesy of Zeno Ferguson
Jose Garcia failed to convert the team’s best chance to take the lead in the second half against the University of Charleston
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