Soccer Team Finishes Third Nationally
What a difference a few
seconds can make. With the score deadlocked 1-1 in the Nov. 21 national
semifinal game between MCCC and San Jacinto College, San Jacinto
scored with just 28 seconds remaining. And the Vikings' hopes for
a national title were quashed. Mercer was trailing 1-0 at halftime,
but evened the score with a goal by freshman forward Amit Abudmad
midway through the second half. Mercer had a chance to go ahead,
but missed a penalty kick. According to Head Coach Charlie Inverso,
who had been hoping to bring home Mercer's ninth NJCAA Division
I title, the Vikings dominated the game but were unable to find
the goal in the critical minutes as the clock wound down.
soccer team before leaving for the
NJCAA tournament in Arizona
the previous day's quarterfinal against CCBC-Essex (MD), the Vikings cruised
to a 4-1 victory with goals from Abudmad, who put Mercer on the scoreboard
with a penalty kick at the 13:00 mark, followed by a goal from midfielder
Frank Tweneboa and two from forward Luke Stedmond, who was assisted on
both of his goals by midfielder Rob Cabrera. Mercer outshot CCBC-Essex
15-3. Mercer's 3-2 loss to Essex in late September was the team's only
regular season defeat, so the victory was especially satisfying.
Mercer finished the tournament by playing for third place, beating Garden
City (KS) 5-4 on Nov. 23. Luke Stedmond scored twice, and forward David
Brown and midfielders Roy Vissers and Ido Legity each added a goal. This
was the ninth consecutive year that the Vikings have participated in the
Getting to the nationals was a focused, well-balanced effort by the team
as a whole. Going into the post-season with a record of 15-1, the Vikings
won their Region 19 final against Essex CC (NJ) 6-1 on Nov. 1. Vissers
had four goals, with Abudmad and Stedmond adding two. Vissers, who totaled
20 goals during the regular season, was named the Offensive Player of
the Game and Chuck Svenson was named Defensive Player. The win marked
Mercer's eighth straight regional title.
The men continued their impressive post-season performance with two decisive
wins during the Northeast District Tournament, held at Mercer Nov. 7-9.
First, Mercer defeated Massasoit CC 5-1 in the semifinal round with three
goals by Cabrera and additional goals by Abudmad and Legity. The following
day the Vikings won a hard fought match against Bryant & Stratton
by a score of 2-0. Abudmad scored in the first half and then added another
goal with just two minutes left in the game.
Coach Inverso, now in his 23rd season with the Vikings, is proud of his
team. With eight freshmen playing key roles, the team gelled quickly and
made significant improvements during the course of the season. With 420
victories under his belt, Inverso has surpassed the legendary Pete Sorber
of St. Louis Community College at Florissant Valley, and currently has
the second best soccer record in NJCAA Division 1 history. The Vikings
end their season 20-2.
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