Men’s Soccer clinches a playoff berth in the NJCAA Region XII
BY JAMES PAXSON
The Schoolcraft’s Men’s Soccer team clinched a playoff berth (a secured spot in the playoffs ahead of the season’s conclusion) in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) after a much needed win against Muskegon Community College on Oct. 11 at home. The Ocelots are now 10-2- 1 overall, 5-2-0 in the Michigan Community College Athletic Association (MCCAA) conference and 9-2-1in Region XII play.
The determination of the team has shown on the field during the last two games, as the men are bouncing back from a rough stretch of eligibility issues that changed the lineup. They are now hungrier and more optimistic about the remainder of the regular season.
“We have a lot of talent on this team; we just need to work harder than before to make sure it is not wasted,” said sophomore captain and midfielder Jon Quintana.
As the game started, Muskegon took first bite and scored a quick goal by the Jayhawk’s Jake Rajewski, assisted by Jesus Corona to make the score 1-0 at the 10:25 mark. With accurate passing, Schoolcraft looked like the team earlier in the season that won six straight games instead of the team struggling against a team standing low in the conference.
Schoolcraft got on the board with a goal by freshmen forward Aidan Shennan who assisted sophomore forward Victor Contreras at the 16:41 mark. Muskegon countered and added one more goal to the board before halftime scored by the Jayhawk’s Chaise Schuiteman, ending the half at 2-1, Muskegon.
When play resumed for the second half, with just two minutes in, sophomore captain and defender Billy Werthman made a spectacular pass to freshman midfielder Youssef Barakat who tied the game at the 47:05 mark.
Freshman forward David Tetaj shot one in the net at the 55:29 mark, assisted by Contreras. Only three minutes after at the 58:41 mark, Werthman also fired one in, once again assisted by Contreras.
Within a 12 minute span of time, the Ocelots went from nearly suffering another loss to winning by two goals. Defense was the difference in the second half for the Ocelots, and with Schoolcraft’s late insurance goal, making it a 5-2 victory. The win clinches a playoff berth for the Ocelots in the NJCAA Region XII tournament.
“[I am] very thrilled and excited to see what my team can accomplish in the future,” said head coach Rick Larson.
The Ocelots have been unstoppable much of this season and are gaining ground once again, so when it comes to game plans and strategies, the team relies on consistency.
“Our game plan has not changed one bit. Our plan is to keep doing what we are doing and execute better,” said Werthman.
As the men continue to work hard, Schoolcraft is looking forward to obtaining their next goal of a National Tournament berth.
For more information about schedules, stats and rosters visit www.MCCAA.org.