Gators chomp their way to playoffs


Tariq Pulskamp (#19) heads the ball into the goal against Humboldt State at Cox Stadium in San Francisco on Wednesday, October 25, 2017. Pulskamp scored his 5th goal of the season. (Mitchell Mylius/Golden Gate Xpress)

San Francisco State won their last game of the regular season on Saturday, celebrating Senior Day, to pull their way into the playoff season for the first time since 1978.

After the only goal in the game, set by junior midfielder/defender Ayden Bowers’ header from the right side of the box, the Gators cemented their role in the postseason playoffs.

“It was for sure a team effort,” said Bowers. “My goal, yeah, put us in but our keeper, Peter Swinkels, had two amazing saves. Goose [Nigus Solomon] played me a great ball to score so I definitely thought it was a team effort.”

The team perspective took priority rather than individual stats to boost the Gators’ historic record.

Players from both teams celebrated Senior Day to honor the seniors who will be graduating soon. The Gators commemorated midfielder Andy Altamirano, midfielder KJ Ahlo, forward Sam Gebremiche, midfielder/forward Nigus Solomon, forward Ranier Plantinos, defender/midfielder Jesse Rodriguez and midfielder/forward Jonny Villeda.

Feliciano Cardenas #12 jumps to head the ball into the goal against Humboldt State at Cox Stadium in San Francisco on Wednesday, October 25, 2017. (Mitchell Mylius/Golden Gate Xpress)This important game that garnered the Gators a spot on the postseason will see these seniors and the rest of the men’s soccer team play their best in La Jolla, Cali. for the first round of the California Collegiate Athletic Association championship

The Gators’ playoff-entering overall record for this season was 11-4-2. This is the second season for head coach Javier Ayala-Hil, who last year had an overall record of 9-6-2.

Out of the six coaches that the SF State’s men’s soccer team has seen, Ayala-Hil is the first to take his dominant team to the CCAA’s playoffs. In 1978, Luis Sagastume took his 11-3 record team to the NCAA II finals, in which they lost against Seattle Pacific University.

Junior midfielder/defender Nigus Solomon shared his thoughts for the upcoming game on Halloween night.

“It’s a big game, nervous jitters here and there. We know what’s at stake here: making history,” he said. “We’ll be a little nervous, but once the game gets going, we’ll shape up and hit the ground running.”

The playoffs will start on Tuesday, Oct. 31 at 7 p.m., with our Gators facing off against the UC San Diego Tritons.