National contenders suffer first loss of season
By Austin Vicars
On Sept. 26, the then sixth ranked Ocelots suffered their first defeat of the season as fifteenth ranked Ancilla shut out Schoolcraft 2-0. It was Schoolcraft’s first regular season loss, as well as their first conference loss of the season.
Ancilla opened the scoring late in the first half, and added an early second half goal off of a free kick to silence the Ocelots high energy attack. The best scoring chance for Schoolcraft came just minutes after Ancilla’s second goal, when a shot by freshman Victor Contreras dinged off the post.
The Ocelots late push for a comeback was silenced by opposing goaltender Samuel Lopez, who made two saves in the last five minutes of the game to keep the Ocelots off the scoreboard.
Despite having 16 shots, the Ocelots were only able to get the ball on net five times throughout the game.
Ancilla played extremely aggressive throughout the game as well, compiling 26 fouls and five yellow cards in the process.
The loss dropped the Ocelots to a record of 8-1, and out of first place in the MCCAA standings.
On Sept. 24, the Ocelots took on nationally ranked Owens CC. Owens was Schoolcraft’s most formidable foe yet, and the Ocelots were able to escape with a 1-0 win.
The game started off with an aggressive offensive attack for the Ocelots, who stayed on the prowl for a majority of the first twenty minutes. Despite maintaining possession and control, Schoolcraft couldn’t net a goal. About halfway through the first half, Owens had a great scoring chance that could have swung the momentum in their favor, but failed to capitalize, leaving the game at a scoreless contest thirty minutes in. After gathering themselves, the Ocelots came up with a great chance at netting a goal, but the Owens goalie made a great save.
With several failed scoring opportunities for both teams, it looked as if he first half may end scoreless, but Schoolcraft’s persistent offensive attack finally paid off with five minutes left in the half, as Jeff Drzyzga scored his first goal of the season. Drzyzga managed to get the ball after Podolski and the Owens goalie both went up for the ball in the air. Upon gaining possession, Drzyzga sailed the ball through the air with his left foot that bounced the ball off the post and into the goal.
The goal gave Schoolcraft a 1-0 lead over Owens heading into halftime. Throughout the second half, Schoolcraft was able to hold off a strong Owens attack to seal the victory.
After a 4-0 start, the Mens Soccer team looked to get a revenge victory at home over rival, Cincinnati State, on Sept. 13, as Cincinnati ousted the Ocelots in the MCCAA tournament last season.
The action started immediately against Cincinnati State with two goals scored in the first 3:30 of the game by freshman Victor Contreras and sophomore Alex Podolski. Freshmen forward Costa Wells assisted both of the early goals. Despite the early action, the game’s score remained unchanged the rest of the game, which resulted in a 2-0 Ocelot victory.
Only a day after the Cincinnati State game, the Ocelots took on Cuyahoga at home. Schoolcraft’s defense had another strong showing against Cuyahoga, not allowing a single goal. Schoolcraft won 4-0 thanks to Adam Antosh, Nate Bergeson, Bobby Mason and Wells hitting the net with goals.
With a few games under their belt, the Ocelots have come together as a team.
“The team is more together now, and close to a family,” freshmen left back Gino D’Orazio said.
Despite dropping their first game of the season against Ancilla, the Ocelots are still in the mix for a National tournament berth. Not only is Schoolcraft one of the top teams in state currently, but they are also considered to be one of the best teams in the country according to the recent National Junior College Athletic Association polls.
Schoolcraft, now ranked tenth in the nation and second in the conference, looks to rebound with strong performances at Jackson on Oct. 8 and at Cuyahoga on Oct.10. The Ocelots will then return home on Oct. 12 to face Ancilla once more at 1 p.m.