The men’s soccer team fell 4-3 in overtime to No. 5-ranked Azusa Pacific University last Thursday evening.
Last season, the two teams faced off in the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s West Region final, where the Broncos put an end to the Cougars’ season with a 1-0 victory.
On Thursday, the Broncos took an early lead in the eighth minute when senior midfielder Jimmie Villalobos received a pass from fellow senior midfielder Cyro Oliveira and drove it into the back of the net.
“We knew (the Cougars) were going to come out flying,” Villalobos said. “I saw a gap in the middle and made a run; fortunately, I got the ball past their defender. I went one-on-one with their keeper and just placed it to the side and luckily it went in.”
The Cougars responded in the 35th minute, as they got past Bronco sophomore goalkeeper Miguel Bayma to tie up the match. Not long after, in the 41st minute, they scored again to take a 2-1 lead.
The Broncos continued to attack the Cougars’ defense and their efforts were rewarded a minute before the half.
Oliveira delivered his second assist of the night to junior defender Courtland Hawkins, who blasted it into the net for the equalizer and made his first goal as a Bronco.
“I just followed up like we are told to do until the keeper spills it. There I was and I just kept it in,” Hawkins said.
After the first half, the game continued all even until the 67th minute when Hawkins made his first assist of the year to senior forward Jordan Jackmon.
“It’s just hard work and chemistry,” Jackmon said. “(Courtland) and I know what we are expected to do and we just executed tonight.”
Jackmon’s goal gave the Broncos the lead, but with one minute remaining in regulation, the Cougars managed to tie the game up again, sending the two teams into overtime.
Then, just two minutes into the first overtime period, the Cougars managed to put one past Bayma in a one-on-one exchange, resulting in a 4-3 loss for the Broncos.
“I think in terms of courage and effort, they did very well,” head coach Matt O’Sullivan said. “It didn’t look like Cal Poly soccer. The effort was good but the identity needs to come out.”
On Thursday, the Broncos will face off against the Concordia-Irvine Eagles in their home game opener at 7 p.m. at the Kellogg Stadium.
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