Third time’s the charm for the men’s soccer team as the men were crowned the California Collegiate Athletic Association’s (CCAA) tournament champions on Sunday in La Jolla.
The Broncos kicked off their tournament Friday in La Jolla, as they defeated the UC San Diego Tritons 1-0 in the semifinals of the CCAA Championship Tournament.
The Broncos received a first-round bye in the tournament, while the Tritons had to beat San Francisco State earlier in the week to secure their spot in the semifinals.
It didn’t take long for the Broncos to take their lead over the Tritons, as senior midfielder Jimmie Villalobos sank his 18th goal of the season in the third minute, after an assist from senior midfielder Cyro Oliveira.
“We had been practicing this play for quite a while now,” Villalobos said. “He put it over the defenders and it went into the box. I saw it and just hit it with my left foot.”
The Broncos spent the remainder of the game placing continuous pressure on the Tritons’ defense, while also focusing on keeping the Tritons’ offense at bay.
The Tritons ended the night with a total of 11 shots, four of which were on goal. The Broncos were ahead in shots with 13, seven on goal.
“Our guys are disappointed we didn’t score more goals,” head coach Matt O’Sullivan said. “We created a lot of chances, we just didn’t finish them. I am delighted in the way we created chances, but I think we did fantastic in defending. I’m thrilled with the result and the performance.”
Broncos’ goalkeeper Jordan Aldama made four saves to land him his fifth shutout of the season.
“There was a lot of work for the guys in front of me to do, they did most of the defending. When I happened to be called upon, thankfully, I was there to perform,” Aldama said. “Most of the credit defending (Friday) goes to them, they were the ones winning balls in the air, making challenges and blocking shots.”
Immediately following the Broncos’ match, Cal State San Bernardino and the No. 1 seed, Cal State L.A., took to the field to determine who the Broncos would face in the finals.
After a scoreless 86 minutes, the Cal State L.A. Golden Eagles found the back of the net. With two minutes remaining in the match, they solidified their victory with another goal to win the game 2-0.
The Broncos and Golden Eagles have faced off in the CCAA Finals for the last two seasons, both resulting in wins for the Eagles.
“I was just talking to other players, who have also been here for the past two years, and I said, ‘Third time’s the charm.’ We are going to face a tough opponent but at the end of the day, it is who wants it more,” Villalobos said.
On Sunday, the Broncos took an early lead after a successful penalty kick by Oliveira seconds before the half.
With 10 minutes remaining in regulation, the Golden Eagles scored the equalizer.
The game remained tied until the end of regulation, sending the teams to overtime.
After two overtime periods, the game went to penalty kicks.
With one missed shot by the Golden Eagles, senior defender Jason Ramos was left with the deciding kick.
After one deep breath, Ramos blasted the ball past the Golden Eagles’ goalkeeper to outscore the Golden Eagles 5-4 in penalty kicks.
The Broncos swarmed the field in celebration as it was their first time winning the tournament since 2015.
Last Thursday, it was announced that five Broncos were awarded All-CCAA honors.
Junior midfielder Eduardo Faria, Ramos and Villalobos all earned First Team honors, while Aldama and Oliveira earned Second Team honors.
Villalobos was also named the 2019 CCAA Men’s Soccer Offensive Player of the Year.
The Broncos have now earned an automatic spot in the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Division II Championship Tournament.
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