Men’s soccer fall in second round of NCAA tourney

By Christian Ulrich, Nov. 22, 2022

On Nov. 12, the Cal Poly Pomona men’s soccer team fell to Colorado State University Pueblo in the second round of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II Men’s Soccer Tournament, with a final score of 2-1.

Matt O’Sullivan, head coach for the Broncos, gave his thoughts on the Broncos loss.

“When the team does the things that myself and the coaching staff ask them to do, we are very good, but we don’t do that enough,” said O’Sullivan. “Moving forward, we have to be able to do those things, and we pitted out in the game. We didn’t play aggressive enough, and they found us out a bit in the end.”

Courtesy of CPP Athletics

The Broncos jumped right out of the gate with a goal from midfielder Max Laguna 22 seconds in, assisted by midfielder Mads Frederiksen, giving the Broncos the early lead. Forward Paul Roger Henschke made a strong impact in the first half.

Henschke made his presence known in just about every skirmish, fighting for loose balls, staying with the ball and playing physically. Efforts from Henschke and the Broncos shut out CSU Pueblo in the first half, allowing only four shots and ultimately leading into the second half 1-0.

Things changed for both clubs in the second half as Laguna spoke about what made CSU Pueblo so tough in the end.

“CSU Pueblo maintained their style of play after we went up 1-0,” said Laguna. “They became tough as they executed their set pieces and when balls got into our box,” said Laguna.

CSU Pueblo tied things up with a goal from defender Dylan Zavatini, his only goal of the season, but none at a more important time. Zavatini got ahead of the Bronco defense and managed to get his head on the ball, putting it into the back of the net in the 59th minute.

CSU Pueblo played just as hard on defense in the second half, allowing just two shots the entire period, shutting down the Broncos offense.

In the 73rd minute, CSU Pueblo slipped into the Broncos’ zone once again, causing a collision between CPP goaltender C.J. Walker and Reggie Nicolas, forward for CSU Pueblo. Walker received a yellow card, resulting in a penalty kick for CSU Pueblo.

Gabriel Campora, forward for CSU Pueblo, stepped in for the penalty kick and sent one off his right foot to the back of the net, putting CSU Pueblo up 2-1.

Walker spoke on what it was like playing for the Broncos this season.

“It was a season with many ups and downs for the team, and I personally learned a lot about myself and developed as a player,” said Walker. “It’s a very hard pill to swallow especially because our seniors deserve a better ending than this. Through the whole season the brotherhood and togetherness never wavered, and I’m very proud of this team for that,” said Walker.

CSU Pueblo held on for the next 17 minutes, allowing no goals to finish off the Broncos and advancing to the third round of the NCAA Division II Men’s Soccer Tournament.

O’Sullivan added that the team dealt with a lot of adversity, especially later in the season with injuries and illnesses: problems that can make a long season even tougher.

O’Sullivan concluded with admiration for his players, adding that he is proud of their growth as human beings and as leaders throughout the year.

O’Sullivan ended his fourth season with an overall 35-13-13 record and will return with the Broncos looking for a title next fall.

For more information, visit the CPP men’s soccer website.

Feature image courtesy of CPP Athletics

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