Nationally ranked Ocelots fall short in Region XII final
By Nick Misiak
The nationally ranked Womens Soccer team’s season came to an abrupt end on Sunday, Nov. 2 when they suffered a 1-0 loss against Owens CC in the NJCAA Region XII Championships held at host Delta College.
For the fourth straight year, Schoolcraft won the MCCAA crown, but failed to advance past the Regional Final. A win would have punched the Ocelots ticket to the NJCAA National Tournament held in Melbourne, Florida.
In a high paced and intense game, the Ocelots dominated possession of the ball and held Owens to only three shots all game. Despite getting off 15 shots, Schoolcraft was unable to capitalize on their multiple scoring opportunities. Freshman Shae van Gassen was able to fire off eight of the 15 Schoolcraft shots, but only hit the net three times, limiting the effectiveness of the Ocelots main offensive weapon.
Owens’ goal came at 66:08 of the second half when Dominique Cruz received a pass from Haley Malaczewski and snuck the ball past Schoolcraft freshman goalkeeper, Kaitlyn Dangelaier.
“It is a big disappointment that our season came to an end the way it did,” Deepak Shivraman, who has been head coach for eight years. “We played really well all weekend, but sometimes the better team walks away without the win.”
The Ocelots had scoring opportunities up until the final buzzer, but it seemed that lady luck eluded Schoolcraft, as the team was unable to respond and score a tying goal.
Several Ocelots received honors and were named to the NJCAA Region XII First and Second Teams. Players earning First Team honors were freshmen Shae van Gassen and goalkeeper Kaitlyn Dangelmaier as well as sophomore midfielder Jessica Parry. Players earning Second Team honors were freshmen defenders Lacey Chanady and Cynthia Konan.
The loss not only marks the end of the Ocelots season but also the end of seven sophomore’s careers at Schoolcraft. These sophomores include Taylor Breault, Hannah Hasbrouck, Lexie Cano, Tiffany Gales, Chaune Rael-Whitsitt, Remy Houttekier and Jessica Parry.
“I have mixed emotions because I have a lot of pride in our players and our team, but I am really upset that our fantastic sophomores have to end the season this way. They simply deserved better,” said Shivraman.
Despite the loss of the sophomores, Schoolcraft still has a core nucleus intact going into the 2015 season including Shae van Gassen, the leading scorer this season.
While it is tough to see this season end for a talented group of sophomores, a resilient and now battle tested group of freshmen players will return next year, and another opportunity to pursue a National title is expected.