It had the making of a Hollywood ending: A sub-.500 team winning a championship with three penalty kick shootout wins without even scoring a goal during the run.
However, top seeded Cal Poly Pomona altered Cal State Stanislaus' happy script Sunday night as the Broncos were the ones taking the match via the penalty kick shootout to win the program's first CCAA championship.
In this CCAA tournament, Cal State Stanislaus was the team which advanced to the title match by virtue of dominating the penalty kick shootouts. The Warriors had won its first round match at UC San Diego with a 5-4 win in PKs after a scoreless match. In Friday's semifinals, another scoreless game, the Warriors edged Cal State L.A., 4-2, in the shootout.
But on Sunday, Cal Poly Pomona went 3-for-3 while goalkeeper Fernando Pablo Quevedo stopped two Stanislaus tries — the first attempt hit the left upper V — to improve to 17-1-2 overall. The 8th ranked Pomona side will find out where it will be seeded in the NCAA tournament Monday afternoon at 4:30 p.m.
The heavy underdog Warriors, playing on home pitch, gave it all they had after playing more minutes than any other team during this tournament and out-played the highly ranked team in the second half.
"We were trying to end the game (in the second half), because as you well know, they had seen us in PKs the night before," Stanislaus head coach Dana Taylor said. "We told the guys they were going to throw up hand signals which way we were going to go.
"It's so difficult for these guys. They already had the pressure of the PK and knowing the opponent knows where you are going to go, the goal became extremely small," added Taylor.
Gavino, who tried to change his shot to fake out Queveo, hit the cross bar to start the shootout giving Pomona the advantage. Quevedo was able to stop shots by Gerardo Cazares and Brady Taylor as the Warriors were blanked in the shootout. On the other side, Armando Ochoa, Daniel Garcia and Daniel Asor converted their chances for the 3-0 PK win.
"Give Stanislaus credit, they out-played us in the second half," said Cal Poly Pomona head coach Yossi Raz, who knew the Warriors' tendencies in the shootout from scouting and was letting Quevedo know which way to dive.
Daniel Garcia gave the Broncos a 1-0 lead in the 14th minute — which was the Warriors' first goal allowed in 241-plus minutes dating back to the regular season finale. Garcia, who assisted on two goals in Friday's Pomona win over Cal State Dominguez Hills, was named the tournament's most outstanding offensive player.
But the second half belonged to the Warriors as they put on the strong attack with many opportunities.
"The guys really responded in the second half. Gavino here led the charge. When he came out on fire and caught on and everyone worked hard. His great cross led to the great finish. It was brilliant the way we came back."
That cross from Gavino, after he stole the control of the ball in front of the team bench, found Ramiro Ceja in front-center of the net. Ceja's header bounced past Quevedo for the equalizer at 54:05.
Brady Taylor, Josue Barajas, Gavino, Ceja and Clint Long were all named to the CCAA All-Tournament team.
The 2014 Stanislaus men's team overcame tough odds to qualify for the CCAA tournament after some ups and downs during the season. They ended the season 6-8-6 overall and was just one more PK shootout win away from their second conference title in three seasons.