Men’s Soccer clinch Region 12 tournament berth
By James Paxson, Sports Editor
The Men’s soccer team has found the rhythm they have been looking for by not having a defeat in three weeks. The Ocelots tied Cincinnati State on the afternoon of Oct. 9, 2-2. Even though the result ended in a tie, the boys still clinched a berth in the Region 12 Michigan Community College Athletic Association (MCCAA) Tournament. The team is very excited to be in the postseason and hope to continue to keep the momentum as the post season arrives in a few weeks.
“I put pressure on the guys to treat this game like a tournament game and I think they received that message well. My goal is to correct these errors in preparation for playoffs,” said Head Coach Rick Larson.
Playoff clinching tie
On a cold windy afternoon of Sunday Oct. 9, the men’s soccer team prepared to take on regional rival the Cincinnati State Technical and Community College Surge on home turf. Nearly a month prior on September 18, the Ocelots lost to host Cincinnati State 2 -1. Schoolcraft sophomore forward Connor Rutz scored the lone goal for the Ocelots, near the end of the game and the comeback attempt was not in time after struggling for most of competition.
The game started with Schoolcraft making a huge effort to get on the board by keeping the ball in the opponent’s zone. The game plan worked with sophomore forward Jacob Rosen scoring an unassisted goal at the five minute mark. This was Rosen’s fifth goal of the season giving him the second most goals scored on the team.
Within the next ten minutes, The Ocelots kept the immaculate passing in the offensive zone and kept finding great scoring chances. At the eleven minute mark, freshman midfielder Hector Morales made a pass to an open sophomore defender Hector Aguirre to score his first goal of the season and take the lead, 2-0. The first half ended with Schoolcraft dominating on defense and limiting Cincinnati to only four shots on goal with no major scoring chances. The half ended with the Ocelots up 2-0.
“We came out strong in the beginning. I was still pleased with how the team performed,” said sophomore goalie, Cameron Gwinn.
Momentum was moving towards a redemption win for Ocelots in the second half as the score stayed 2-0. Both defenses continued to battle to prevent the other team from not hitting the back of the net.
The last 20 minutes of the game took a turn that had Cincinnati State getting the offensive breaks they needed.
At the 76 minute mark Cincinnati State scored a well strategized goal by forward Zane Ross that put momentum back in the Surges’s offense making it 2-1. The momentum continued five minutes later with the Ocelots giving up another goal to Cincinnati States forward Ramiesh McKnight. At the end of 90 minutes both teams were deadlocked at a 2-2 tie heading into overtime.
In the first overtime The Ocelots put pressure on Cincinnati’s defense by taking a lot of shots and keeping possession of the ball in the Surges zone. Cincinnati’s defense kept pressing and would not let Schoolcraft get many quality scoring chances, as most shots were aimed away from the net. Although there was lots of offensive strategy by both the teams, the first overtime ended with no definite winner.
The second overtime started with both teams playing very defensive to ensure no one would give up a goal. With no team scoring a winning goal in the second overtime the game ended in a tie.
“Although we tied, I was happy with how our team performed today. Cincinnati State is a great team and they put up a good fight,” said sophomore forward, Kebba Saneh.
The rest of the regular season leading up to the Region 12 Tournament will have some key division games to help Schoolcraft battle to be the number one seed over Ancilla College. The remaining two matches will be against Lakeland CC on Oct. 22 and one against Lake Michigan CC at home on Oct. 23 to end the regular season. For team rosters, scores and a look at the team schedule go to the mccaa.org.