Men’s Soccer Makes Third Postseason Run
For the third consecutive time since the program’s resurrection in 2014, the Pacific Tigers Men’s Soccer Team made a second-round postseason run in the NCAA Men’s Soccer Tournament.
The Tigers finished the regular season with a 12-5-2 record, earning their third postseason bid in their fifth season since their return to Division I competition. While initially set to host the first round against UC Riverside at home, poor air quality forced the game to be moved to Fresno on the campus of Fresno Pacific University. The Tigers would go on to defeat the UC Riverside Highlanders 1-0, advancing to the second round for the third consecutive time in the postseason off of a 23rd minute goal from junior Anthony Orendain.
When asked about the Tigers ability to adapt to the quick and sudden change in home field, head coach Ryan Jorden said that, “I thought the guys were unbelievable, I thought they did great with it, it was just a bummer to lose the home game, and it probably affected us somewhat with regards to our recovery preparation for the next match.”
The Tigers would then head to Durham, North Carolina to face off against the sixth-seeded Duke Blue Devils in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Despite a valiant effort, a 65th minute goal from the Blue Devils would end the Tigers’ season in the second round of the NCAA tournament, again falling short of the tournament’s Sweet Sixteen. Freddy Alcala ‘19, held hope for the team’s future chances in advancing further in the NCAA tournament, saying that “It’s not like we got blown out, whether it was in penalty kicks or by one goal, which was a mistake, it’s just the team being fully committed to everything and working hard all the time in order to win the next time around.”
Coach Jorden stated, “This year, if you look at the stat line, they were pretty even across the game, we hit the crossbar, we had some chances that we should have scored. Bottom line, if you score in the game, you win and we just didn’t do it. If you look at our past three postseason games, we haven’t scored a goal.”
Despite the disappointment stemming from the second-round exit from the NCAA tournament, there is definitely a sense of optimism for the team’s future as well as a lack of regret over the 2018 season. “I think the good thing for our guys is that I won’t make excuses, they certainly won’t make any excuses, you play the hand you’re dealt…I think that’s why we’ve had the success that we’ve had,” explains Coach Jorden. “I think the first step is continuing to maintain and do well and the second step is getting a little bit better and having a little bit more x factor that tilts things the odds a little bit more in your favor.” “[The continued success] shows that we have a good program…there were highs and lows, good and bad feelings about the season, for the most part, [we’re] pretty happy,” says Ancala.