The CSUN men’s soccer team (9-7-5) lost 1-0 to Pacific Thursday evening at Matador Soccer Field in the First Round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament. Tariq Branche broke a scoreless tie in the 77th minute with his first career goal to lift the visiting Tigers over the Matadors and send Pacific to fifth-seeded Stanford on Sunday. Kevin Marquez made four saves for the Matadors, including a penalty kick save with his feet, and Juan Fernando Samayoa had the Matadors’ best chance on the evening, but the Big West South Division and Tournament Champions saw their season come to a close with the loss.
With the teams scoreless and less than 15 minutes to play, Branche one-timed a pass from Tyson Fox just out of the reach of Marquez to break the deadlock. The Matadors pressed for an equalizer and nearly had one moments later, but Emmanuel Usen Jr.‘s shot sailed just right of the post and out for a goal kick.
The match represented the final contest for six CSUN seniors: Hickman, Marquez, Samayoa, Gabe Robinson, Shane Steffes and Richard Martinez. Hickman was the Big West Defender of the Year and Robinson earned Honorable Mention All-Big West honors this season.
CSUN won the Big West South Division and then captured the Big West Tournament Championship in dramatic fashion, staging a comeback that culminated in a double-over time goal. In his 18th season in charge of CSUN, Terry Davila won his sixth Big West Conference Coach of the Year award.