By Brandon Cummings and Daniel Tapia, Sept. 6, 2022
On Sept. 1, Cal Poly Pomona’s women’s soccer suffered a 1-0 defeat to nationally ranked Point Loma Nazarene University, putting the Bronco’s current win-loss record at 0-3.
Though the Broncos fell short, head coach Jay Mason was still proud of the team’s performance.
“Our competitive fight was much improved from the Cal State L.A. game, which I was happy about. We started with a lot of freshmen, so I was proud of how we responded to that challenge,” said Mason. “Point Loma is a nationally ranked team for a reason. We created some chances, but we need to build some composure so we do not find ourselves creating fouls and penalty kicks.”
Starting the game with an aggressive offense, the Broncos came close to scoring multiple times with forward Tara Oper leading the calvary.
Just two minutes into the game, forward Alyssa Larkin sent a demanding strike slightly over the bar. Two minutes later, forward Tara Oper attempted a contested shot towards the middle of goal, ending in a save.
Heading into the 17th minute, the Broncos’ momentum shifted when Point Loma scored its first goal off a penalty kick.
Playing from behind for a second straight game, the Broncos rallied back.
Midfielder Liberty Ortiz won a free kick right outside the box in the 39th minute. Ortiz saw the chance to shoot that came inches away from tying the game, hitting top woodwork. Ortiz shared her thoughts on the team’s performance.
“We just need to stay positive; we are going on the road this next week to play a good team, so we all need to just stick together, not be divided, and just come together so we can win,” Ortiz said.
The Broncos closed the first half without another scoring threat, heading to halftime trailing 1-0.
In the second half, the Broncos came out determined, knowing that two goals were the deciding factor in this game.
Consistently going downfield three minutes into the second half, the Broncos were threatened yet again when midfielder Jessica Llamas received a pass from Ortiz. Llamas controlled the pass and delivered a shot, but it was too wide and went over the goal.
Ten minutes after, the Broncos had a golden opportunity to even the score when forward Ryan Grace received a pass down the right side of the pitch with nothing but green grass ahead. Unfortunately, the offside ruling negated the attack, making this the third offside of the game for the Broncos.
Minutes later, Oper intercepted a pass and sprinted down field, maneuvering her way through multiple defenders. Oper eventually found herself in front of the goal with a clear shot, but Point Loma’s keeper made an amazing save to stop Oper from scoring her first goal of the season.
“I was just hungry to score because we’re on a two-game losing streak right now,” said Oper. “I want to win, so I want to be first to the ball and put it in the back of the net.”
With less than ten minutes to go in the game, the Broncos found themselves with another opportunity to even up the score. Midfielder Nicole Thompson won a fifty-fifty ball in the middle of the field and pushed tempo up the pitch with Oper on her left.
Thompson threaded the needle to give Oper a chance to score, but the opposing keeper made another great save that led to a Bronco corner kick.
That was the last of the Broncos’ opportunities as they were not able to generate another scoring possibility past their nationally ranked foe.
With this tough loss, the Broncos now face a challenging road to Colorado, where the playing environment is different. Mason gives his thoughts on how the team will prepare.
“They’ve got to look forward to the challenge. I think that Colorado can present multiple challenges like the altitude and the style of play,” said Mason. “I think this will be good for the team because they’ll be isolated together and keep them together. We’re looking forward for the next chance to get this first win.”
Itching to get their first taste of victory, the Broncos will regardless have to wait eight days, as their next contest comes in Denver when they face Regis University on Friday, Sept. 9. The game can be livestreamed via the Broncos Athletic website and the CCAA Network.
Feature Image by Daniel Tapia.
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