Broncos headed to CCAA Semifinals

Seven minutes into overtime of the last regular season match, senior midfielder Cyro Oliveira netted a golden goal to give the men’s soccer team a 2-1 victory against the Sonoma State Seawolves last Wednesday.

After six straight home games, the Broncos were back on the road to finish out their conference play, ending with a record of 10-1-1.

On Wednesday, both teams battled until the 40th minute when the Broncos were able to take the lead. 

Senior midfielder Jimmie Villalobos was responsible for the goal after an assist from junior defender Garrett Jensen.

“It was pretty hard to get the ball because defensively (the Seawolves) had a lot of players behind the ball,” Villalobos said. “Garrett got the ball on the right side and crossed it over the defenders. I brought it down with my chest, struck it and it went in. I am just thankful as always.”

The goal marked Villalobos’ 17th of the season, as he continues to lead the league in goals scored. 

He is currently four goals ahead of the second-place goal scorer Walmer Martinez from Cal State Monterey Bay, who has 13 goals.

With five minutes remaining in the second half, the Seawolves scored the equalizer, which sent the game to overtime.

In the 97th minute, Villalobos sent Oliveira a pass up the middle, who then knocked it past the Seawolves’ goalkeeper to end the match.

“There was a turnover in the middle of the field and the ball got to Jimmie,” Oliveira said. “I made the run and he gave me the pass, and I proceeded to score.”

Senior midfielder Cyro Oliveira’s golden goal on Wednesday marked his fifth goal of the season.
Grace Mikuriya | The Poly Post

The two teams were  each tied with nine shots, five of which were on goal. Junior Jordan Aldama was in the goal for the Broncos, making a total of three saves to help land the team its victory.

“We had a lot of chances to put the game away a little bit earlier,” head coach Matt O’Sullivan said. “I thought defensively, we did pretty well and didn’t make too many mistakes. Just one little mistake in the box and they scored. We went to overtime and just kept plugging away and we ended up getting the win out of it.”

Despite a slow start to the season, the Broncos’ are now second in the California Collegiate Athletic Association’s (CCAA) Division II standings. Their current overall record is 11-4-2.

“The (team’s) evolution has been brilliant. I am really excited with the group,” O’Sullivan said. “We obviously started very slow in the season, but since that point, we have been fantastic. I can’t say much more about their performance and I couldn’t ask for any more from the guys; they have been incredible.”

Last week, senior defender Ori Kenett was named to the 2019 Academic All-District Men’s Soccer Team. 

The Collegiate Sports Information Directors of America selected this honor and it takes into account both his performance on the field and in the classroom.

Kenett is an international student-athlete from Tel Aviv, Israel, who is currently studying business administration at Cal Poly Pomona.

This is his second consecutive year being honored with this award and he is only the fifth to be recognized in program history.

“It’s a big honor. I had no idea this was coming,” Kenett said. “I heard that nobody has ever received it for two consecutive years. I actually found out when my dad sent me the article — he’s a big Bronco fan. I’m glad I’m able to help the program both on the field and in class.”

After competing almost twice every week since the start of the season, the Broncos received a 9-day gap before their next match. The team secured a first-round bye in the CCAA Championship Tournament, sending them straight to the semifinals, which will take place Friday in La Jolla.

“It will be a good rest for us. We will have time to train, get our bodies underneath us and prepare for the tournament,” Oliveira said.

The Broncos will compete to win the CCAA Championship title, which they won last season. 

The Broncos enter the tournament as the No. 2 seed, right behind Cal State L.A.

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