West Windsor, N.J. - Mercer County Community College (MCCC) men’s soccer’s earned its highest ranking of the season on Tuesday, Sept. 17, placing fifth in the National Junior College Athletic Association’s Weekly poll.
The driving force behind the ranking was an 11-0 shutout victory over Hagerstown Community College. Six Vikings scored that game, including Eiichi Yamaguchi, who netted a hat trick. Joao Almeida, Daiki Nagata and Yuriy Kryskiv also contributed two goals apiece.
More broadly, the ranking is the culmination of an 8-0 start to the 2019 campaign. In that span, the Vikings have allowed just seven goals. Starting goalkeeper Takumi Muraji has been instrumental in defending Mercer’s back line, allowing just three goals while making 16 saves thus far, while reserve goalie Eial Marzouk made seven saves in his single appearance so far.
“Our guys entered the season with a great deal of trust in one another,” said Head Coach Widmarc Dalce. “We’re performing well offensively, but our defense deserves a lot of credit, too.”
Sophomore and team co-captain Simone Libreri has led Mercer’s efforts defensively, assisted by Sophomore Yuhei Matsushita and Freshman Kotaro Koga and Kazuki Nagano. Together, the group has also added five goals and six assists of their own.
“Right now, everything is clicking,” Dalce said. “But we are not satisfied. There is still a long way to go until October.”
Mercer men’s soccer will defend its undefeated record at home on Wednesday, Sept. 18, at 4:00 p.m. against NJCAA Region 19 rival Harcum.