By Nick Vasquez and Matthew DeForest, Sept. 21, 2021
On Sept. 15, the Cal Poly Pomona men’s soccer team defeated the number five ranked Azusa Pacific University men’s team. This win comes after a slow start to the preseason in which the Broncos sat at 1-2-1 after losing to Biola University last week.
While the 3-2 score indicated a close game, Head Coach Matt O’Sullivan believed the underlying skill and strategy on the field told a different story.
“The first 30 minutes is the best I have seen us play all season. It’s probably the best 30 minutes I have seen any of my teams play since I started coaching,” said O’Sullivan.
The CPP men’s team displayed dominant ball control throughout the game, especially in the first period where, according to CCAA stat track software, the Broncos maintained a 56% possession rate. Presented with plenty of opportunities to score, the Broncos outshot the APU Cougars by five goal-scoring attempts.
The first goal for CPP was scored in the 10th minute of the game by sophomore forward Paul Henschke.
“We have to believe in our strengths. If we play our style, we are one of the best teams in the region,” said Henschke, who is the team’s leading scorer with five goals so far this season.
Nearing the end of the first-half of the game, the APU Cougars scored two quick goals, taking a 2-1 lead at the end of the first period.
However, the Broncos swiftly tied the game 2-2 when midfielder Eduardo Faria scored the team’s second goal 59 minutes into the game. This was followed by a third, long goal by Midfielder Max Laguna.
The Broncos sealed their victory by the end of the second half, despite being out-shot 10-6.
“I felt as a coach that we could go and dominate them and that’s really what happened,” said O’Sullivan. “We went straight toe to toe with them.”
The win marks APU’s first regular season loss since September 2018 and the first time the Broncos have beat a top five ranked opponent since November 2018.
“Obviously, it was a good matchup. They are one of the best teams in the region, but we know we are as well even though, so far, our record hasn’t shown it,” said junior forward Oscar Griehsel Facey, a top scorer for the team.
In their first five games, CPP has out-scored their opponents 12-10 and has out-shot their opponents 80-51. This is a typical statistic for the team, as the Broncos outshot their opponents 343-213 during their last full season in 2019.
The Broncos play one more home game against CSULA on Sept. 25 before they start CCAA play against Sonoma State on Friday, Oct. 1.
According to Henschke, the team is determined to excel this season.
“Our goal is to win the National Championship, that is the reason we’re here,” said Henschke.