Cal Poly made history this week, reaching the NCAA Division II national championship game for the first time in program history.
But the dream of winning a title ended Saturday afternoon in Pensacola, Fla. The Broncos were defeated 4-0 by unbeaten Pfeiffer in the national final at the Ashton Brosnaham Soccer Complex. The Broncos end the year at 17-3-3, tying a record for most wins in a season and gaining valuable experience that will bode well for the future of the program.
“We gave everything we had but lost to a very good team,” Cal Poly head coach Yossi Raz said. “We had a long and successful season. But we will rest our minds, our bodies and get back to the drawing board. We’ll try to get back here again next year.”
The Broncos fell behind 2-0 less than five minutes into the game and never recovered. Still, they continue to play the way that got them this far right up until the time on the scoreboard hit zero.
“It was a great experience getting this far,” senior forward Alexander Turkson said. “Our mentality never changed for this game. We tried to play our style, our way, and came up a little short. That’s how soccer is sometimes. You get hit early and feel like you are chasing the game. But we had a good year. I’m thankful for the opportunity.”
Senior midfielder Michael Torres had similar thoughts as he talked about the season that was in the post-game press conference.
“At the beginning of the year, our goal was to get to the CCAA tournament and the NCAA tournament,” Torres said. “To make it all the way is incredible. I’m proud of the effort we gave as a team. We came up short but we accomplished a lot.”
Raz is proud of what his team accomplished as well. Every team dreams of playing for the title when the season begins but only two are fortunate enough to do it. For the Broncos to be one of those two teams is a big step forward for the program as a whole.
“It’s exciting to be one of only two teams to play the last day of the season,” Raz said. “A lot of teams started the journey a long time ago, but only two get the pleasure of playing for the national title. I’m very thankful for the players we have here, the leadership they showed and the great athletic department and university we have supporting us. We’re disappointed we came up a little short but it was a great season and we’ll strive to get back here again.”