Men’s soccer continues to dominate
BY JAMES PAXSON
The Schoolcraft Men’s Soccer team continues to run circles around the competition, adding up victory after victory. As of Sept. 16, the team is now 4-0-1 and sits on top of the Michigan Community College Athletic Association standings. The team also remains ranked seventh in the nation for the second straight week in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division II men’s soccer poll.
With back-to-back games scheduled for Sept. 13 and 14, the Ocelots endurance and tenacity was certainly tested.
On Friday, Sept. 13, Schoolcraft traveled to host Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, Ohio. The team continued to utilize their offensive attack shutting out the Tri-C with a 6-0 win. Sophomore Victor Contreras put the Ocelots on the board at 09:22 mark, with an assist by sophomore Jon Quintana to make it 1-0. The Ocelots continued to push and found the back of the net again with a goal by with sophomore forward Connor Rutz and Quintana with the assist at 21:01 making it 2-0.
Just over a minute later at 22:14, Schoolcraft capitalized on Cuyahoga mistakes giving Quintana a free kick in which he scored, making it 3-0. Quintana wasn’t done yet and found the back of the net for his second goal of the half at 38:44 with the assist by Victor Contreras. Schoolcraft finished the first half with a hefty 4-0 lead on Tri-C.
Cuyahoga had its work cut out to catch up to the 4-0 lead going into the second half. Unfortunately they were no match for the Ocelots. Sophomore midfielder Davide Di Poce scored being assisted by sophomore forward Costa Wells and freshmen forward Youssef Barakat, extending the lead to 5-0 at the 76:08 mark. Just over a minute later, freshmen midfielder Johnny Garcia scored on a header making it, 6-0, with an assist from Barakat at 77:44 and clinching the win.
“After yesterday’s game, we have a really good connection, and the whole team is confident going into these challenging games,” said Quintana.
Just over 24 hours later, the Ocelots were back on the pitch going against visiting Lake Michigan College on a chilly Saturday afternoon. The team gave Lake Michigan a run for their money from start to finish. “The guys are really starting to come together, [and] I think they understand that for us to be a higher level team that they have to think about how they’re going to do things in collective groups,” head coach Rick Larson said.
Within 15 minutes of play, freshman defender Ian Walker scored a goal at 15:16, assisted by Quintana. Quintana then followed up the incredible play with a goal at 29:40 minutes, assisted by sophomore midfielder Jeff Drzyzga. Lake Michigan continued to put up a fight against the Ocelot’s strong defense, but still trailed at halftime 2-1.
The Ocelots did not take long to continue putting numbers on the board though. Five minutes into the second half sophomore captain and midfielder Billy Werthman scored on a free kick at 51:56, widening the lead to 3-1. The Ocelots fourth goal was scored just three minutes later by freshman forward David Tetaj at 54:32, assisted by Contreras.
“One thing that helped us in this game was building momentum on the last game; winning 6-0 gives the team a huge hope to win many games,” said Quintana.
Even with a 4-1 lead, the Ocelots slow their game down. At the 67:09 minute mark, Drzyzga scored his second goal assisted by sophomore defender Leopoldo Arevalo. Just ten minutes after assisting the previous goal, Quintana scored again at 76:11 with an assist by Werthman to win the game 6-1.
“We have been shooting the ball well and communicating great to ensure good team victories, I am positive we will win more games with this mentality,” said sophomore goaltender Andres Hernandez.
The Ocelots have proven that any team they play will have to put up a strong fight on the road to the national title. “I have stepped up my game to where we are on this great winning streak that won’t seem to end,” said Contreras. His mentality and skills on the field has also reflected on his teammates as they continue to win games.
For more stats, schedules and the roster, visit www.MCCAA. org.