Men’s soccer ends preseason unbeaten after 1-0 win over San Bernardino

By Daniel Duque and Sydney Fedinec, Oct. 3, 2023

Cal Poly Pomona’s men’s soccer team gained an early lead and defeated No. 23 Cal State San Bernardino Saturday, Sept. 23, with a 1-0 shutout victory, closing out the Broncos’ undefeated preseason.

Broncos head coach Matt O’Sullivan reflected positively on the game by comparing it to a conference match and discussed the team’s performance.

“Every little ball, loose ball, second ball, it is just a battle,” said O’Sullivan.  “I’m really proud of our team for starting the game really well and then to be able to bunker down and play in a play-off environment is tough and intensive.”

The Broncos took the early lead one minute and 20 seconds into the game after defender Cesar Ruvalcaba sent the ball down the right touchline. Forward Mads Frederiksen retrieved and crossed the ball into San Bernardino’s box, which forward Paul Roger Henschke tapped into the net giving the lead to the Broncos.

After the Broncos scored, the Cal State San Bernardino Coyotes adjusted the game plan by balancing lines and pressuring CPP, while both teams competed for possession of the ball and created opportunities to score.

Despite the early lead, the team still struggled to fully gain control of the match.

“We had a hard time getting out of their pressure,” said Frederiksen. “Something we have to get better at is playing in the middle of the pitch and wait for the right opportunities.”

A right-wing cross from Frederiksen in the 21st minute sliced just a few feet above the goal. The Yotes had the opportunity to equalize through defender Travis Babineau in the 34th minute, but Bronco goalkeeper Luke Garciduenas saved his shot.

CPP and Cal State San Bernardino kept attacking each other, but neither team created goal-scoring opportunities for the remainder of the half except for a 36th minute goal by Frederiksen, recalled due to offside, which could have been the second for the Broncos.

After an intense first half, both teams were tied with three shots on goal each.

Courtesy of CPP Athletics

With the score still level, the Broncos and Yotes kept battling for possession during the second half. However, CPP had more opportunities to extend the lead.

Frederiksen and Henschke approached the opponent’s box from the right-wing in the 47th minute, but the Yotes’ defense deflected Frederiksen’s shot, resulting in a corner kick.

Eight minutes later CPP had the clearest opportunity to lead by two. Following an arching corner kick from Bronco midfielder Max Laguna, defender Fin Jackson headed the ball toward the Yotes’ net, but the ball hit the crossbar, and the opposing defense cleared it.

CPP had multiple approaches to Cal State San Bernardino’s penalty area throughout the half, but most of the attempts resulted in corner kicks due to the effectiveness of the Yotes’ defense.

Toward the final 10 minutes of the game, offensive productivity from both teams slowed. Following a foul on CPP’s Woody Angell in the 87th minute, Yote forward Nicklaus Sullivan received a red card, and after a scuffle between players from both teams, referee Steven Cardozo delivered a yellow card to each squad.

The Broncos defended their lead and ended the game ahead on shots 12 to six and on corner kicks six to three. With the 1-0 shutout victory, CPP concluded an undefeated preseason run with a 4-0-2 record as the regular season kicks off.

Henschke, who scored the early goal to overcome the Yotes and accumulated a total of four goals in six games throughout the preseason, expressed his enthusiasm ahead of the regular season.

“I’m looking forward to it because our goal is to win the conference,” said Henschke. “I’m looking forward to playing my last conference, and I hope we are going to be successful.”

Additionally, he stressed despite the Yotes’ physical play, it didn’t let the Broncos affect their winning mentality as contact is a part of the game.

“If you don’t let that get into your head, you can focus and be able to deal with it,” said Henschke.

The Broncos will face real challenges once the CCAA regular season kicks off, and they will have the chance to improve on the lessons learned during the preseason games.

“Group morale is great, we haven’t lost a game,” said O’Sullivan. “It’s good, but one step at a time. We haven’t achieved anything. We just have to calm down and set one game at a time.”

Feature image courtesy of CPP Athletics

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