Cal Poly Pomona women’s soccer team finished second in the California Collegiate Athletic Association tournament in Monterey Bay, falling to Cal State San Marcos in the grand finals.
The Broncos faced Cal Poly Humboldt in the semifinal of the tournament Nov. 10 after receiving a first round bye. A strong defensive display saw them to a 1-0 win.
Humboldt created several half-chances in the opening 10 minutes, none of which posed any serious threat to goalkeeper and All-CCAA Second Team selection Bella Hara.
In the 19th minute, CPP opened the scoring when sophomore defender Giselle Samayoa picked the ball up near the half-way line and carried it to the edge of the opposing 18-yard box. She then unleashed a shot into the left side netting, leaving Humboldt goalie Carson Thomson-Terrel frozen.
“I’ve gotten the ball there a couple times, and I have shot it from that angle, so I thought I could just beat the player in front of me and then maybe cross it,” Samayoa said. “But then I saw the goalie was off their line a little bit, so I just took a shot and hoped it went in.”
Samayoa’s first-ever collegiate goal energized the Broncos. They controlled the game for the remainder of the half, not letting their opposition register a shot during that time.
“Getting the first goal in the match was really important because it kind of set the tone and got in their head a little bit, especially in a semifinal,” Samayoa said. “It gave us a boost too and helped us to keep the ball in their half.”
The second half, however, was a different story. Facing elimination, Humboldt tried everything to get back in the game. The Lumberjacks’ best chance of the evening came in the 49th minute, when forward and CCAA Newcomer of the Year Emilia Long flashed the ball past the far post.
The Lumberjacks outshot the Broncos 11-3 during the second half but were unable to score as CPP punched its ticket to the CCAA tournament final for the first time since 2001.
“Against teams that are physical and athletic and can break you down if you give them space, I think for us it’s about disrupting that rhythm they can get into which leads to momentum,” said CPP head coach and CCAA Coach of the Year Jay Mason. “That’s something our group prides themself on. We knew we needed to stay compact; we didn’t really need to chase the game. The girls did a really good job, they stuck together. They bent in moments but didn’t break.”
The Cal State San Marcos Cougars beat Cal State Los Angeles 1-0 earlier that day to solidify their spot in the final Nov. 12.
The Broncos dominated the opening 15 minutes of the final, but San Marcos struck first with the only goal of the match in the 18th minute through sophomore midfielder and All-CCAA Second Team selection Nani Kia’aina with a shot into the top left corner.
CPP continued to keep the pressure on throughout the half, only allowing one other shot. Its best chance came in the 42nd minute when midfielder Nicolle Villarreal slipped in freshman defender Georgia Rink, who forced a save down to Cougar goalkeeper Allison Marcure’s left.
Both teams pushed for a goal in the second half, calling one another’s goalkeepers into action. Despite the eventful second half, neither team found a goal, and the Broncos bowed out of the tournament.
Defender Bridget Carbonneau expressed her dejection following the result but was quick to mention she looks forward to seeing how the program progresses after a historic season.
“I really wish we would have won on Sunday, but we really left everything out on the field,” Carbonneau said. “I’m really proud of everyone, and I’m excited to see where they go next season.”
The Broncos finished the season with an overall record of 11-5-3 and a conference record of 8-2-1, good enough to bring them their first ever regular season CCAA championship.
“We’re really proud of the group and how they carry themselves every single day,” Mason said. “They had to deal with some adversity throughout the season, whether it was sickness, injuries, maybe a below par performance where they expected more out of it, but I think for them to achieve it and set some history, put their names on that. I think it’s important for them to understand how special that is and how difficult that is to do in one of the top conferences in the country.”
Feature image courtesy of the California Collegiate Athletic Association