Women’s Soccer poised for National Championship berth
BY NATALIE SHIRVANIAN
All season, the Women’s Soccer team has brought the challenge to their opponents, as they clinched the Michigan Community College Athletic Association Championship on Oct. 11after defeating Muskegon Community College; however, the team suffered their first loss this season against the defending NJCAA Division I women’s soccer National Champions, Monroe College (Bronx, NY) on Oct. 17 at Owens College’s soccer field in Perrysburg, Ohio, 2-1.
The now 15th ranked Ocelots had anticipated the match up against Monroe College all season, looking forward to the challenge against the Mustangs.
“We were leading until the last ten minutes, so it was a great feeling. We played really well first half and dominated,” said sophomore captain and forward Shae van Gassen.
The ladies did exactly that in the first half, as van Gassen scored for the Ocelots at the 11:57 mark with a penalty kick, 1-0 Schoolcraft.
The Ocelots pressed hard and played strong defensively against the Mustangs the entire first half and carrying over into the second half. With less than ten minutes left in the game, Monroe’s Aline Delima put one on the board at the 83:18 mark, tying the game 1-1. A penalty kick at the 85:57 mark again by Monroe’s Delima did not help the Ocelots with less than five minutes of play making the score, 2-1 Monroe.
“That was the best game we’ve ever played,” said sophomore midfielder Erin McDonald.
Competing against Monroe allowed the Ocelots to experience a tough, championship caliber team.
“We’ve been having a really good season. We’ve been very confident, and this was a really good opportunity for us to see where we fit nationally,” said head coach Dave Carver. “I was extremely impressed in the way we carried ourselves throughout the game. I think there were periods of the game when the other team had a lot of ball, but we did very well to stay composed, disciplined, defend when it was time to defend and find moments to create our own chances.”
Following a tough loss against the Mustangs, a big win of 3-0 against Cincinnati State Technical and Community College on Oct. 18 gave the Ocelots a perfect 14-0-0 record in the Region and clinched the number one seed in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region XII Tournament.
Schoolcraft has outscored their opponents 96-3 over the 15 matches played this season, placing them third overall in the NJCAA for highest scoring team.
“Going into championship games we just have to keep doing what we are doing: score on teams fast and shut them down in the first 15 minutes of the game,” said van Gassen.
The Ocelots are looking forward to going into Region XII Tournament on Oct. 31 at 12 p.m. at the Wyoming Recreation Center in Cincinnati. The team will face the fourth seed in the region, planning on bringing their confidence, talents and skills to make it to the NJCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Championship starting Nov. 16 and going through the 21 at Titan Stadium in Melbourne, FL. For more information about stats, schedules & rosters, visit MCCAA.org.