The men’s soccer team traveled to La Jolla on Friday evening and shut out the UC San Diego Tritons 2-0 to win its third game in a row.
The first half saw the Broncos and Tritons locked in a defensive battle as both sides struggled to score. Then, with two minutes left in the half, the Broncos were able to break through, as senior midfielder Jimmie Villalobos received the ball from junior defender Garrett Jansen and blasted it into the back of the net to give the Broncos a 1-0 lead.
“Garrett whipped the ball in. It went over the defenders, then went inside the box. I just hit the ball and luckily it went in,” Villalobos said.
Villalobos has been dominating on the field this season. Friday’s goal marked his seventh of the year and he is currently the second-leading scorer in the California Collegiate Athletic Association’s (CCAA) 2019 Division II conference. He is also fifth for most shots on goal.
While Villalobos has had a successful season thus far, he owes it to his teammates for getting him the ball in great positions to score.
“He has qualities that you just can’t teach, like his calmness in front of the goal,” head coach Matt O’Sullivan said. “I think he has a lot of gifts to his game but he said it last week, his teammates have put him in great opportunities.”
In the second half, the Tritons pressed the attack and racked up a total of nine shots, but were unable to score on the Broncos’ impressive defense.
“I thought we controlled the game through possession,” O’Sullivan said. “Defensively, I thought we were outstanding. From the start of the season to now, I think we have been a lot more resilient.”
With the score still only 1-0, the Broncos continued to put pressure on the Tritons. And in the 75th minute, they advanced their lead to 2-0, as sophomore forward Gabriel Castillo notched his first goal of the season with an assist by Villalobos.
“It was my first goal of the season,” Castillo said. “They played a long ball to Jimmie. The defender tried to close Jimmie out, which left me open. He gave me a ball across and it was kind of a tap in for me. It took us a while to get going. (UC) San Diego is a good team and they come out strong. But once we got going, it was easy for us to break them down and get where we needed to be.”
That would wrap up the scoring for both sides as the Broncos increased their winning streak to three games.
The Broncos had one day off before heading to Cal State San Marcos to face off against the Cougars on Sunday afternoon.
“Each game has a little twist to it. (Cal State) San Marcos offers a different look for us than (UC) San Diego,” O’Sullivan said. “(Cal State San Marcos is) a very good team and have had some very good results so far. So we are looking to go into that game and get one thing and that is to win it.”
Sunday’s game was scoreless for the first half. The Cougars were ahead with four shots on goal while the Broncos trailed with only one.
In the second half, the Cougars took the lead, scoring in the 52nd minute. However, Villalobos scored the equalizer in the 75th minute.
With the score still tied 1-1 at the end of regulation, the two teams headed to overtime.
After two scoreless overtime periods, the game ended in a draw.
The Broncos’ overall record now stands at 3-3-2, with a conference record of 2-0-1.
The Broncos will head north this week as they take on Chico State at 7 p.m. Friday at the University Soccer Stadium and Stanislaus State at 11:30 a.m. Sunday at Warrior Stadium.
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