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Mercer Men’s Soccer Ranked 2nd in Nation Headed into Northeast District Championship


West Windsor, N.J. -- Mercer County Community College’s (MCCC’s) men’s soccer team captured the Region 19 Championship on Oct. 31 with a 3-1 win over Rowan College at Burlington.  With the win, the Vikings advance to the Northeast District Championship, to be hosted by MCCC this Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 7 and 8.  The Vikings face ASA College at 10 a.m. on Nov. 7.  If they win, they will play the winner of Massasoit vs. Monroe in the Northeast District Championship on Sunday at 11 a.m.

This year, both the winner of the Northeast District and the runner-up will advance to nationals, so the Vikings are just one win away from their first trip back to the NJCAA Division I National Soccer Tournament – and a chance at the national title – since 2008.  (The Vikings last won the national championship in 2004.)

The Vikings are currently 18-0-2 and ranked second in the nation in the NJCAA Division I Men’s Soccer national poll.  One of the Vikings’ two ties came in a 1-1 game against ASA on Sept. 19.  The other Vikings tie was against Rowan College at Burlington. 

In the Region 19 Championship game, the Vikings were led by the Region 19 Championship Offensive MVP, sophomore Obinna Iloka (Hamilton, NJ/Nottingham), who scored the first goal of the game and added an assist.  Region 19's Player of the Year, sophomore Marco Rossi (Sao Paulo, Brazil/Sao Bernardo Do Campo), scored the second goal of the game off an assist from Iloka late in the first half. 

Sophomore Harin Lopez (Trenton, NJ/Trenton Central) helped seal the win with a second half goal off an assist from sophomore Valdo Jean-Baptiste (Trenton, NJ/Daylight/Twilight). 

The Vikings defense was stellar, limiting the Barons to just two shots on goal, including a goal with less than two minutes remaining in the game.  First Team Region 19 defender, sophomore David Udijohn (Hamilton, NJ/Notre Dame,) continued to anchor the defense and freshman Emiliano Fama (Doral, FL/Penn Foster) was named the Region 19 Championship Defensive MVP. Sophomore Kellen Groover continued to be solid in goal.

The Vikings understand that ASA will be a tough test on Saturday, but are heading into the game on a wave of momentum. The last time the Vikings earned a top NJCAA ranking was third place nationally in 2008 when they went to nationals. The Vikings also have the unusual chance to capture the Northeast District title on their home turf, as the host site of the District Championship rotates each year between Regions 3, 15, 19 and 21.

Fans are invited to come out and cheer on this talented Vikings team. Game updates will be posted to the Athletics Department's Facebook page here.

The team proudly displays the Region 19 plaque, which they earned after defeating Burlington on Saturday. (See video footage here.)
Obinna Iloka, left, and Harin Lopez celebrate Lopez's goal, which sealed the win. Iloka scored the first goal and had an assist on the second goal, scored by Marco Rossi.
Solid defense is another of the Vikings' considerable strengths.


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