By Jonathan Santiago, Sept. 13, 2022
Cal Poly Pomona’s women’s soccer team defeated Regis University amid rain in Colorado, claiming their first victory of the year
Head coach Jay Mason shared his thoughts on the night’s hard-earned victory against their foe and inclement conditions.
“We had a tough opponent in rain, wind and cool temperatures. The theme of the day for us was to make sure that they were committed to working for each other and I was really happy with the win. And I think it gives some of the younger players a little bit of confidence knowing they can compete against a good program,” said Mason.
CPP wasted no time attacking their opposition straight from kickoff. This intensity proved too much for Regis to handle, as the Broncos opened the scoring just one minute into the match.
Forward Tara Oper delivered a dangerous ball which the Regis keeper failed to handle, allowing midfielder Marisa Salazar to slot the loose ball into the net.
Salazar spoke on establishing an early lead and capitalizing off the opponent’s defensive breakdown.
Right off the bat we just wanted to press really quickly,” said Salazar. “When Tara crossed it, the keeper and the defender did not communicate well, so nobody was stepping to the ball. So, when I saw that nobody was stepping for it, that was my chance to poke it in.”
The Broncos did not take their foot off the gas, continuing to press Regis and earning a corner in the 11th minute. This set piece saw a well-placed ball go just wide of goal.
The Broncos were comfortable on the ball throughout the remainder of the first half, dealing with the occasional threat of Regis’ offensive Regis relentlessly pressed to close the first half, but the Broncos were up to task, retaining their 1-0 halftime lead.
Away from the familiar sunshine of California, coach Mason cited the importance of executing the proper strategy during the worsening weather in the latter half.
“For a California team, it was something that they don’t necessarily get to experience. We focused on the details, making sure we got ourselves behind the ball and taking that extra touch,” said Mason.
Despite the heavy rain that was falling onto the turf, the Broncos continued to press and threaten the Regis defense throughout the second half.
In the 59th minute, CPP got their third corner of the match. Salazar struck the corner, but the Regis goalkeeper claimed it and kicked off a threatening counterattack.
Salazar was given the first yellow card of the match for fouling a Regis player during the subsequent build up. The referee played the advantage for Regis who sent in a cross that sailed over the crossbar for a goal kick.
The Broncos charged right back down the pitch, as Oper would display her speed down the right-wing blitzing past the Regis defense. After driving past the back line, Oper sent a perfectly weighted, low-driven cross into the path of forward Allyssa Larkin who put away the Broncos’ second goal of the night in the 61st minute.
Oper, who provided the assists for both goals, spoke on the openings she was able to exploit in the Regis defense
“In our game prep, we saw that against other teams [Regis] would leave their wide spaces open, so we used that to our advantage,” said Oper. “Working with those combinations out wide and getting in behind really helped us out a lot.”
Regis began to pick up the pressure as they were then down by two goals. But the Broncos’ defense proved its strength, as they were able to see out the remainder of the match, keeping a clean sheet.
As the full-time whistle sounded, cheers erupted from the Broncos’ bench as the team and fans celebrated their first win of the season.
With the Broncos back to winning ways, they face Azusa Pacific University on Sept. 17 at Kellogg Stadium. This match can be livestreamed via the California Collegiate Athletic Association network and Bronco Athletics website.
Feature Image Courtesy of CPP Athletics.