Tyler Junior College Comes up Roses at Thrilling
NJCAA Soccer Tournament Final


West Windsor, N.J. - Head Coach Steve Clements, of Tyler Junior College, doled out the compliments to Mercer County Community College for the way it hosted the 2009 National Junior College Athletic Association Division I Men's Soccer Championship.

"The folks at Mercer, you can't say enough for them in appreciation for hosting the event. They did an outstanding job without question," said the coach of the Texas squad out of the city known as the "Rose Capital of America."

Tyler players celebrate with MCCC President Patricia C. Donohue.

While Mercer provided the national stage, it was Tyler's undefeated national champions that put on the show at MCCC Stadium. The Apaches won the NJCAA title for the first time to cap the highly successful tournament. The top-seeded, 21-0 squad defeated Iowa Central Community College (Fort Dodge), 5-1, in the first round; Louisburg (N.C.) College, 3-1, in the semifinals; and Georgia Perimeter College (Decatur) in the final, playing through a scoreless regulation and two overtimes before it won on penalty kicks, 5-3.

The key moment of the championship shootout occurred when Tyler goalie Juan Robles made a diving save in the third round to keep the Apaches in front. They converted every attempt in the shootout, with Martin Seiler capping the title by scoring in the fifth round. Defender Shaunovan Wilson, one of the five Tyler players to score in the shootout, was named the tournament's most valuable player.

Ironically, Clements and Georgia Perimeter Head Coach Marc Zagara learned in July that they would be inducted into the NJCAA Soccer Hall of Fame at the national tournament and then wound up squaring off in the title game. Also inducted at the pre-tournament banquet were six former players: Stern John and Daouda Kante of MCCC; Matt Tanzini of Herkimer County (N.Y.) Community College; Kevin Jeffrey and Matt Kirkpatrick of Yavapai College (Prescott, Ariz.); and Matt Spears of State Fair Community College (Sedalia, Mo.).

Georgia Perimeter, the 2005 national champion, was the runner-up for the third time in six years. Schoolcraft College (Livonia, Mich.) was third, Louisburg was fourth, and Yavapai and Essex County College (Newark, N.J.) tied for fifth place. Barton County Community College (Great Bend, Kan.) and Iowa Central were the other two schools in the eight-team event.

The all-tournament team consisted of: Larry Mason, defender, Barton County; Marco Ortiz, goalie, Essex; Tommy Catania, defender, Iowa Central; Josh Mulvany, midfielder, Louisburg; Gabriel Ortiz, forward, Yavapai; Bim Ogunyemi, midfielder, Schoolcraft; Ognen Stemenkovic, defender, Schoolcraft; Dom Dwyer, forward, Tyler; Juan Robles, goalie, Tyler; Rury Alvarez, forward, Georgia Perimeter ; and Jason Andrew, goalie, Georgia Perimeter.

For recaps of all tournament games, click here.

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