Their will be no Christmas card sent to the Cal Poly Pomona Broncos this winter – again.
For the third straight year, the California rival ended the Simon Fraser University Clan men’s soccer season, this time halting a run that saw the Burnaby Mountain-based squad enter as a top-ranked team in the NCAA Div. 2 circuit.
Ranked No. 4 prior to the start of the playoffs after establishing a number of club records, the Great Northwest Athletic Conference regular season champion Clan saw it all come to naught with a 1-0 overtime loss on Saturday in Seattle.
The game’s only goal came six minutes into the first overtime period, when Eduardo Faria set up defender Eduard Lucas, who slipped it past SFU’s Luciano Trasolini for the eventual game winner.
But the game had a few key moments where the Clan, who finished the year with a 17-2-0 record, could have taken the lead in regulation.
Midway through the first half, Matteo Polisi fired a free kick that Pomona netminder Jakob Hansen deflected over the top bar, and just before halftime Marcello Polisi was stymied by the goalie after receiving a stealthy cross from GNAC Player of the Year Mamadi Camara.
The best scoring chance came with just eight minutes left in regulation, when midfielder and Cariboo Hill Secondary alumnus Rahid Rahiem passed to Marcello Polisi, who directed the ball into the box. But Hansen corralled the ball before any SFU forwards could get to it.
The Polisi brothers had a handful of scoring opportunties during the game, as did Camara. It was the first time the team had been blanked this season, as SFU outshot the Broncos 9-6.
They entered the game after earning a first-round bye as regular season champions, while Cal Poly had eliminated Fresno Pacific 3-0 two days earlier.
Despite carrying the conference’s top seed, SFU could not knock off their rivals. The two teams met early in the season in September, with the Clan prevailing 3-0. It exacted some bit of revenge for last fall’s penalty kick loss that bounced SFU from the NCAA tourney. The two teams were ranked nationally to start the season, with Pomona at No. 4, and SFU at 20th.
But a run through league play, which saw them only lose once – in the final game of the regular season – catapulted the Clan to a top-four rating in a poll of United soccer coaches prior to the playoffs, while Cal Poly were not among the top-25.