Gators’ season comes to a close in CCAA semifinals


Feliciano Cardenas (#12) dribbles the ball against Cal Poly Pomona at UC San Diego on Nov. 3, 2017. (SF State Athletics/Brandon Davis)

San Francisco State men’s soccer closed their historic season today at 11 a.m. in the semifinals with a 0-3 loss against Cal Poly Pomona.

The last time the Gators were in the playoffs, the 1978 team made it to the finals of the National Collegiate Athletic Association. This season, the Gators made it to the California Collegiate Athletic Association playoffs for the first time ever.

In the matchup, Pomona’s fast and accurate passes helped them score three over the Gators.

The Pomona Broncos played an aggressive game and pressured the Gators at every little opportunity, allowing the Broncos to shut them down and advance forward to the finals.

Head coach Javier Ayala-Hil, 2017 CCAA Coach of the Year, acknowledged his competitor’s strength and talent after the game.

“[We] tried to make our adjustments throughout this game and at the end of the day you’re playing a very good team and we did our best that we could do,” he said. “We had an opportunity earlier on in the half that could have tied it 1-1 and could have changed things for the second half.”

Jordan Wusstig (#16) rises up to trap the ball against a Cal Poly Pomona defender at UC San Diego on Nov. 3, 2017. (SF State Athletics/Brandon Davis)

The Gators had one hell of a run, scoring a total of 15 goals in the last eight games, or last half, of their regular season.

Senior forward Ranier Plantinos, who scored four of those 15 goals, had a few words to say about the afternoon game and how he thought he did.

“I felt like we created chances, but as coach said, we were unlucky on finishing on our part,” the senior forward said. “I felt like personally I had a few runs that didn’t go my way, but I couldn’t do anything about it.”

SF State looked as if they ran out of steam trying to juggle with Pomona’s offense was dribbling past them.

The Gators had opportunities to pressure the striker but could not execute them, which led the Broncos to score three goals

“Going into it, we know if they get the chance they’re going to finish so we try to capitalize on not giving as many chances as we can, try to capitalize on pressing them when we can and whatnot, and just trying to play our best and defending,” said junior defender Aydan Bowers. “We like to keep the ball and go forward with it, but they’re definitely a handful.”

The Gators were frustrated at how far they had come, but they still made school history, regardless of being defeated in the semifinals.

Aside from learning from their mistakes, the Gators will make sure to celebrate getting into the playoffs, a feat in itself for a team who hasn’t been active in the postseason since 1978.

Ayala-Hil wanted to make it clear that he is proud of what the 2017 Gator team accomplished.

“Every game is a battle, every team is very good, so to get to the point to where we got to this season is an accomplishment in itself,” he said. “I think now we’re just looking to build and just being able to consistently make the tournament, from here on out.”