West Windsor, N.J. -- Mercer County Community College’s (MCCC’s) men’s and women’s soccer teams will both compete in the championship games for Region 19 this Saturday, Oct. 31. The big games will be be played at the MCCC Soccer Stadium. The women, who are the no. 4 seed, will face the no. 2 seed, Sussex County College, at 11 a.m. The men, who are the no. 2 seed, will face no. 1-seeded Rowan College at Burlington at 1:30 p.m.
The men’s team is currently 17-0-2 and is fifth in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division I rankings. One of the Vikings’ two ties was against Rowan at Burlington. In that game, the Vikings’ top two offensive players, sophomores Marco Rossi and Obinna Iloka, were injured and did not play.
Rossi, who last week was named the Region 19 Player of the Year, returned to play in the region semifinal game last Saturday and had a goal and three assists in the Vikings’ 8-1 win over Essex CC. All-Region sophomore Shiekh Bangura added two goals and sophomores Anthony Tweh and Yannick Ntone each added a goal and assist. In addition to the Vikings’ stellar offense, their defense has been strong all season, led by All-Region sophomore defender David Udijohn and All-Region sophomore goalkeeper Kellen Groover.
At 10-6, the women’s team upset the top seed, Rowan College at Burlington, 1-0 last Saturday to advance to the championship. Sophomore and All-Region forward Melanie Sachs scored the lone goal of the game off an assist from All-Region sophomore Dana Davies. The Vikings lost to Sussex in the regular season 3-1.
The women have been led by First Team All-Region sophomore midfielder Samantha Barlow, who was named no. 5 on the NJCAA Region 19's top players list. The Vikings defense had their best performance in the semifinal win, limiting the Burlington Barons to just seven shots on goal. The Vikings defense was led by sophomore Sloane Hughes, who returned to the lineup after an injury and All-Region 19 defender Danielle Schneck. Freshman goalkeeper Lesly Gonzalez also returned from injury and had seven saves in the semifinal shutout.
The winners of the Region 19 title games advance to the Northeast District Championship. (If the Mercer men win, that tournament will be held on the college's home field next weekend.) The district winner advances to the NJCAA National Championship, to be played this year in Axton, Va. (men) and Melbourne, Fla. (women).
To view a video recapping great regular season play by both Vikings teams, click here.
|Danielle Schneck has been solid on defense for the women.
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