N.J. -Throughout the regular season and leading up to the
NJCAA Region 19 title game against Burlington County College
on Oct. 30, MCCC centerback Robin Patton had proven himself
a bedrock of the Vikings defense, according to Head Coach
But Patton picked this very important game to make a key difference
on both defense and offense.
Played at hte NJIT soccer stadium, the contest remained scoreless
through the first half as both teams fought for every possession.
It looked as though the second half might shape up the same
way as the clock ticked down. But, with 20 minutes remaining,
Patton found the Burlington goal on a header and the Vikings
went up 1-0. Patton was assisted by midfielder Dylan Smith.
Then, with almost no time left on the clock, Patton once again
played a decisive role. This time he was in his more familiar
place in front of Mercer's own goal, heading a Burlington
shot safely away to preserve the win.
In goal for the Vikings was Diego Diaz, who replaced goalkeeper
Chris Ball after Ball was injured during Mercer's semi-final
match-up against Essex CC Oct. 25. Since coming into that
game with 31 minutes remaining in regulation, Diaz has risen
to the challenge. With MCCC and Essex deadlocked 2-2 at the
end of double overtime, he stopped a penalty kick a to advance
MCCC to the championship and then earned the 1-0 shutout in
the title game.
Patton was named Defensive MVP and Kadeem Dacres was named
the Offensive MVP. Dacres was also named the Player of the
Year for Region 19.
With the win, Mercer recaptures the Region 19 title after
losing in the final against Essex last year. The Vikings will
head to the Northeast District championship next weekend in
Brockton, MA. In addition to Mercer, the four-team tournament
includes Massasoit CC (Brockton, MA), Monroe CC (Rochester,
NY), and Monroe CC (Bronx, NY).
Mercer will face Monroe (Rochester) on Saturday at 1 p.m.
The Vikings defeated Monroe earlier in the season by a score
of 3-2. The winners of Saturday's games will face off for
the district title on Sunday at 11 a.m.
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