Men’s soccer draws against No. 3 Chico State

By Cesar Rivas, Oct. 10, 2023

Fresh off two victories in its opening matches of the regular season, Cal Poly Pomona’s men’s soccer battled against Chico State Oct. 6 at Kellogg Stadium with the action-packed match culminating in a 2-2 draw.

Both sides looked to remain undefeated as they sought to prove themselves as some of the highest-ranked Division II teams in the nation, with the Broncos and Wildcats ranked No. 9 and No. 3 respectively before the match.

“It was tough,” said forward Paul Roger Henschke. “It was a back and forward game.”

The Broncos were first on the attack, building out through the backline to forwards Mads Frederiksen and Henschke. In the seventh minute, midfielder Woody Angell crossed the ball to the back post to find Frederiksen, whose shot Wildcat goalkeeper Emanuel Padilla collected.

The Broncos jumped out to an early lead when Cesar Ruvalcaba flicked a right-footed cross from Melvyn Perez Cortez. The pass met Henschke, who scored the first goal of the contest in the ninth minute.

“It was a great play on the left side,” said Henschke. “I was just trying to protect the ball. I turned around and scored.”

The offensive pressure continued from the Broncos, when an inswinging cross from Max Laguna toward Henschke a minute later went just wide of the net.

While the Broncos maintained possession of the ball for the majority of the first half, Chico State threatened CPP in thethird. In the 20th minute, CPP defender Fin Jackson cleared a dangerous ball away, resulting in a throw-in. Chico State defender Justin Ricketts headed the long throw-in toward CPP’s net goal, but goalkeeper Luke Garciduenas stretched and made the save.

Another scoring opportunity came for the Broncos in the 26th minute when Frederiksen crossed the ball into the box for Henschke, who tried to extend for the strike but ultimately could not reach the ball in time.

In the 30th minute, the Wildcats equalized off a set piece the Broncos’ defense poorly cleared, leading to a shot from just outside the 18-yard box from defender Preston Moll.

“When we score first, we tend to go back into our shell, like we’ve done something,” said head coach Matt O’Sullivan. “I think it’s important not to do that.”

The Broncos finished the first half strong with a shot from midfielder Mike Moser in the 42nd minute that just curled past the post.

“We were a little rusty for the first half,” said O’Sullivan. “We didn’t do the things we wanted to do, but we had great spells.”

By the end of the half, both sides recorded four shots and scored one goal each.

Paul Roger Henschke leads the CCAA in assists and is third in goals with 6 in 10 matches. | Courtesy of CPP Athletics

The second half started with more consistent attacks toward the Wildcats’ defense. Within the first minute, defender Jasper Winslow and Frederiksen passed back and forth down the left wing, leading to a shot from Frederiksen that ended wide.

Another chance came in the 50th minute when Laguna dribbled around Chico State defenders and aimed for the bottom corner of the net, but Padilla saved it. Ruvalcaba forced another save from Padilla in the 52nd minute with a shot from outside the box.

A set piece opportunity came in the 70th minute for the Broncos just outside the box. Kevin Hernandez’s shot went slightly over the crossbar for a goal kick.

The onslaught of chances continued for the Broncos, but they could not capitalize on any of the opportunities until the 78th minute. The Broncos built up their attack along the left wing. Lena passed the ball to Henschke in Chico State’s box, Henschke slid the ball to Jakob Singh, and Singh finally broke through for the go-ahead-goal.

“It was a great ball from Sam, and I was just trying to slip it through, and Jakob was standing where a striker is supposed to be, and he put it over the line,” said Henschke.

There was no time to celebrate as the Wildcats found the equalizer less than 20 seconds later. Miles Rice headed an arching cross put into the box from the left side  toward the goal. While Garciduenas deflected the first shot, the ball fell straight to Wildcat forward Vasilios Syrengelas who brought the match level 2-2.

“The goal we gave away is just too soft to give away right after we scored,” said O’Sullivan.

Searching for the winner, the Broncos’ had their best chance in the final few minutes of the match. Henschke crossed the ball from the left side to Ruvalcaba at the top of the box whose shot took a deflection and just went over the bar for a corner. Hernandez took it from that corner, and Ruvalcaba rose above the Wildcats’ defense for the header that would have gone in, but a Wildcat defender cleared the ball off the line.

After 90 intense minutes, the match ended in a 2-2 draw. The Broncos outshot the Wildcats 19-6, with 8 shots on goal.

Following the draw against Chico State, the Broncos further lengthened their undefeated run with an impressive 8-0 home victory over Stanislaus State Sunday, Oct. 8.

Feature image courtesy of CPP Athletics

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