The men’s soccer team saw its season come to an end Saturday night after being defeated 1-0 by the Cal State San Bernardino Coyotes at Kellogg Stadium.
The stands were overflowing with more than 600 fans, causing some to stand on the sidelines as the two local rivals competed in the second round of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II men’s soccer tournament.
It didn’t take long for the Coyotes to score the only goal of the match as their senior forward Brandon Sangbarani received a high ball in the box and headed it in to take the lead in the seventh minute of play.
“We do a lot of corners, where if it goes too far, we bring it in,” Sangbarani said. “We have never really done it right but the one time we did it right, I was just in the right spot.”
The Broncos fought until the last seconds of the match. Despite having 23 shots, 10 of which were on goal, the Broncos were unable to find their way past the Coyotes’ goalkeeper Jacob Huber, who had 10 saves.
“I was probably the most nervous person on the field,” Huber said. “I knew what I had to do and my defenders helped me out a lot.”
The Coyotes ended the night with only four shots, one of which was on goal. They will now advance to the third round of the tournament, where they will take on the No. 8 seeded Colorado School of Mines in Los Angeles.
“I couldn’t have asked for much more than what we got from our players, other than going in the back of the net,” head coach Matt O’Sullivan said. “I still strongly believe we are the best team in the country to be quite honest, I know it sounds a bit strange. We just didn’t finish our chances tonight and that’s soccer, it is the beauty of the sport.
“Most importantly, I am super proud of every one of our players that played this year,” O’Sullivan said. “The top of that list is the seniors — they have been incredible.”
Despite winning the California Collegiate Athletic Association Championship Tournament and making it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, the Broncos had a slow start to the season, winning only one of their five preseason matchups.
“Obviously we didn’t start the best in the beginning of the season,” senior defender Jason Ramos said. “As a captain, I try to bring out the best of the players every day at practice and try to get better. We can all say we stuck to the process and we were the better team today, we just didn’t get the result.”
The Broncos had 11 seniors on this year’s team and it was a bittersweet way to end their collegiate careers and say their final farewells at Kellogg Stadium.
“I progressed throughout the years,” senior defender Ori Kenett said.“I saw it from the bench, from inside the field and from outside the field. I can be proud of what the team has achieved throughout the years. We have built something that is hopefully going to stay for many years to come. Teams from all over the country know that, so we can be proud of what we do here. I’m proud.”
The Broncos ended their impressive run with a conference record of 10-1-1 and an overall record of 12-5-3.
“These guys are going to leave college soccer as seniors, but they are going to have learned the valuable lessons in life,” O’Sullivan said.“Never quit, never give up, stick together and play as a team. I think they can use all those things in life and that is why we are here, to develop young men. Everybody got better and I can’t ask for anything more from them.”