Ocelots dominate to start season, post 3-0-0 record
By Natalie Shirvanian
Determination was revealed from the women’s soccer team on the field, as they jumped 11 spots in the first regular season poll on Sept. 2. The Ocelots were previously ranked 20th in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) pre-season poll. Currently the team stands at 3-0-0 overall and 2-0-0 in the Michigan Community College Athletic Association (MCCAA). The team has outscored their opponents 26-0 in just the first three games.
The Ocelots took a big bite out of the competition during their season opener in Jackson on August 26, winning 15-0. Sophomore forward Shae van Gassen, who was named NJCAA Division I women’s soccer player of the week for games played between August 20th and August 30th, scored two goals and two assists. Additionally sophomore midfielder Emily Mulcahy, scored four goals in the second half.
Despite the lopsided victory, Schoolcraft kept focused and worked on bettering their game for the next match.
Ocelots clip Red Hawks
Three days later on August 29, the Ocelots returned to the pitch to face host Lake Michigan College. With a strong offensive punch the team clipped the Red Hawks, 9-0. Forwards Shae van Gassen, who scored four goals and one assist and freshman Samantha Alatto who scored two goals led the Ocelots.
On August 30, the Ocelots played host to the Surge of Cincinnati State. The women combined both an aggressive offense and a strong defense with communication across the field on both sides of the ball. van Gassen knew the dynamic of this game was going to be different, “Defensively we really had to adjust, because we did not have too much action the last two games.”
As the game kicked off, the Ocelots played strategically, keeping the ball mainly on Cincinnati’s defensive end. With 23 minutes left in the first half, freshmen forward, Devon Powers put up quite a fight as she attempted to get the ball into the net but came up short.
The Ocelots continued to press hard until finally freshman forward Samantha Alatto found the back of the net with seven minutes left in the first half, putting the Ocelots up 1-0. Another scoring opportunity presented itself when a penalty was called against the Surge with two minutes left in the half. Forward van Gassen took the penalty kick for the Ocelots and capitalized giving the Ocelots a 2-0 lead going into the half and never looked back.
During the second half, Schoolcraft continued playing a resilient defensive and offensive game pressuring the Surge defense. Cincinnati State’s goalkeeper Kelsie Lee was the difference maker for the Surge following the Ocelots offensive pressure and making several key saves on the net.
“We’re going to have to change the pace of our game all the time,” commented van Gassen after the game.
Despite playing three games in five nights the team looked well rested taking on many challenges, and defeating them.
First year, head coach David Carver said, “We pushed them through pre-season, and this was actually our seventh day between training and playing.”
Although the challenges of training and playing may be tiresome, the determination from the team shows. Coach Carver stated, “Our attacking style and our ability to play behind the other team’s backline and create multiple goal scoring opportunities is what I think has allowed us to score many goals.”
The Ocelots remain ready and focused to continue the season with more success. Schoolcraft’s next match will be at home against Lake Michigan on Sept. 12 at 1 p.m.
Visit www.mccaa.org for the full season schedule, stats and roster.