Ocelots stay undefeated despite rough start
By Jimmie Paxon
Schoolcraft’s men’s soccer team moved up four spots to number five in the first regular season NJCAA Division I men’s soccer poll. The Ocelots, who were ninth in the pre-season poll, are 2-0-1 on the season and 1-0-0 in MCCAA (Michigan Community College Athletic Association) play.
The Ocelots went into the elite matchup undefeated after claiming their first two victories against South Suburban on Aug. 22 and Lake Michigan on Aug. 29. After a highly competitive match facing Cincinnati State on Aug. 30, the men refused to allow Cincinnati to steal a win on their home field, earning a tied match, 3-3.
The Ocelots looked focused and determined, unleashing a fierce defense against Cincinnati in the first half. Schoolcraft freshmen defender, Kebba Sanneh and sophomore defender, Joe Georgic seized Cincinnati with a strong defense.
Cincinnati’s offensive attempts could not get the ball past the brick wall duo of Ocelot defenders Sanneh and Geogic. As the clock counted down to the end of the first half, Cincinnati was the first to strike with a breakaway goal, pushing ahead of the Ocelots 1-0 .
The return of the second half displayed a much more aggressive Ocelots; however, early in the half, Cincinnati snuck past the men adding a point to the board, 2-0.
The intensity in the second half continued to spread as sophomore midfielder, David Di Poce put the first point on the board for the Ocelots with 13 minutes left in the game, 2-1.
With five minutes to go, the Ocelots caught up to Cincinnati after a well strategized corner kick by sophomore defender, Billy Werthman, launching the ball in the back of the net tying the game 2-2.
The non-stop action kept spectators and coaches on the edge as Cincinnati took charge two minutes after the Ocelots tied the game, responding with another point, 3-2 Cincinnati.
As seconds counted down to the buzzer, freshman forward, Aidan Shennan lined up a long foot shot, landing the ball to the back of the net saving the Ocelots from defeat. “The goal in the last 2 seconds was one of the best goals I have ever seen; definitely something you don’t see every day,” said Werthman.
“We raced to get a throw in going and the ball bounced free and because Aidan is such a great finisher he made a clean kick and that was all it took.” said Schoolcraft head coach, Rick Larson. The sensational goal saved the Ocelots from defeat and forced a ten minute overtime period. Both teams had good shots, but both goalies were on there a game. Freshman goalie, Jose Jimenez made incredible saves in both overtime periods preventing Cincinnati from taking the win.
The game ended in a 3-3 tie with lots of improvements that the Ocelots are looking to create opportunities on. “If we put the ball in the box to create more shots we should score more goals,” said Georgic.
The Ocelots will return to the field on Sept. 11 when they travel to Cleveland to face Cuyahoga College.
Visit www.mccaa.org, for schedule, stats and standings.