The PLNU men’s soccer team turned in their best season in recent memory. For the first time in the six-year tenure of Coach Phil Wolf, the men’s soccer team qualified for the postseason, but their campaign came to an unfortunate end with a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Cal Poly Pomona. However, the 2017 season was a record-breaking one for PLNU, finishing second in the PacWest conference with a regular-season record of 14-2-2.
“The team has got a different spirit about it,” Coach Wolf said. “I think you have to attribute that to the intangible factor, whether it’s the competitive spirit or how unified they are. There’s something very unique about this group.”
Their 14 wins ties the most wins for a team in program history. After losing their first two games, the Sea Lions went unbeaten for the remainder of the season, stretching a school-record sixteen games in total.
“Multiple times this year, we found ways to win,” Wolf said. “Last few years, I think our team was maybe as good as the team this year but couldn’t quite find ways to win games. This group has done a great job.”
The team posted a streak of 842 consecutive minutes without allowing a goal during the season, led by goalkeeper Wiktor Lasota, who received the distinction of PacWest Goalkeeper of the Year for his efforts. The team had the 17th best goals against average in the country, a credit to Lasota but also the team as a whole.
Along with Lasota, seven other players from the team earned All-PacWest honors. On the second team were Eduardo Gallardo, who led the team in goals with nine, and Jacob Eisenberg. Indiana Fuller, Tim Siegfried, Mitch Wheelon, Fabian Lueders and Matias Rodriguez received third-team distinctions.
“Making the NCAA tournament is huge for our program,” Wolf said. “We’ve built it from ground floor in my six years here… I’m happy for the opportunity for our guys.”
In a competitive and back-and-forth contest last Saturday, PLNU fell to Cal Poly Pomona. Wolf knew they were facing a very good team, and the Broncos proved to be exactly that. Each team had their share of chances, but Cal Poly Pomona ultimately broke the deadlock in the 61st minute; PLNU was unable to respond, and their season came to a close.
The team may not have ended as they hoped, but only one team gets to end the season happily. In the end, they produced what was quite possibly the best season in program history, and the success of the team this season could help the program continue to succeed in the future.