The CPP men’s soccer team is set to compete for the West Region title after defeating both Fresno Pacific and nationally ranked Simon Fraser in Seattle last weekend.

The Broncos were given a second opportunity to take on the Fresno Pacific Sunbirds on Thursday afternoon, as they faced them earlier in the season and lost 2-1.

“You put almost everything on level terms, you are on a neutral field in the NCAA tournament, and the result is the result against a very good team,” head coach Adam Reeves said. “I’m three plus months now into working with this group, rather than less than three weeks the first time we played them.”

Goalkeeper Jakob Hansen posted two shutouts against Fresno Pacific and No. 4 ranked Simon Fraser in the NCAA tournament in Seattle. (Courtesy of Geoff Vlcek)

In the 23rd minute, forward Eduard Lucas slammed one in the net to get the team started and score his first goal of the season.

The Broncos came on strong in the second half as midfielder Jimmie Villalobos found the back of the net in the 80th minute.

Not long after in the 84th minute, midfielder Eduardo Faria topped it off with another goal.

The final score was 3-0.

“Being a group and staying together is the thing that worked the best because we had some very hard moments in the game where they were pushing and pushing but the togetherness and team spirit we had was very good for our favor,” Lucas said.

Goalkeeper Jakob Hansen kept the Sunbirds out of the net and made a total of 10 saves to get the shutout.

“I think we played the roles that our coach set up for us really well and I think our two center backs, Jason [Ramos] and Nadeer [Ghantous], had one of the best games they have had defensively,” Hansen said.

Defender Nadeer Ghantous right, played all 187 minutes in the first two rounds of the NCAA tournamnet as the Broncos did not concede a goal. (Coutesy of Geoff Vlcek)

The Broncos’ win advanced them to the second round, which took place on Saturday night, also in Seattle.

Their opponent was nationally ranked No. 1 seed, Simon Fraser.

This was also another opportunity for the Broncos to redeem themselves as they fell to Simon Fraser 3-0 in the preseason.

“[Simon Fraser] was great at possession, maybe the best team we’ve seen all year,” Reeves said.

“I thought they were better than the first time we played them.”

It was a hard-fought battle with Simon Fraser dominating possession for most of the match.

However, the Broncos stayed together and played smart, tough soccer to keep the game scoreless in regulation.

After 90 minutes of demanding soccer on both sides, the game headed into the first overtime period.

“I was feeling very confident because this year we handled overtime periods exceptionally well, but we knew it was going to be difficult due to the circumstances of the game because it is win or go home,” Lucas said.

With time ticking down in the first overtime, Eduardo Faria slipped through the back line to the right of the goal and crossed the ball back to Lucas, who punched it in to win the match.

The Broncos bolted onto the field in celebration and swarmed Lucas, who had just scored his second goal of the weekend.

“It is unbelievable. My whole time at CPP I have never played forward, so it felt very good to score today,” Lucas said.

“It was incredible, I don’t know how to describe it.”

Hansen made a total of five saves to notch another shutout, his second of the tournament.

“Very few opportunities really threatened us; I didn’t think they played close enough to our back line to really put Jason and Nadeer under too much stress,” Reeves said.

“They had much more possessions than we did, which is usually not the case.”

Azusa Pacific upset Cal State Los Angeles on Saturday, to advance to the West Region title match as well.

The Broncos will head to Azusa to compete in their fourth straight West Region title game on Thursday at 7 p.m. against Azusa Pacific.

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