MCCC Staff and Volunteers Earn Top Marks
As Hosts of National Soccer Tournament


West Windsor, N.J. - While the best news would have been another national title for our very own Vikings men's soccer team, another story unfolded during the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division I Soccer Championship, hosted by the college Nov. 18-22. Approximately 300 players and supporters from eight teams from across the nation traveled to Mercer County. They stayed at two local hotels and ate at local restaurants.

"We enjoyed our guests," said Athletics Director John Simone. "They were a friendly, spirited group of people who love soccer and were very appreciative of our hospitality."

He notes there was a larger than expected crowd, despite Mercer not participating in the tournament. "We had many coaches from four-year colleges scouting at the games, as well as local soccer fans," he said. The 500 tournament programs initially printed were all were gone by 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, the start of the very first tournament game. More were quickly provided by the MCCC Print Shop.

Staff joined in the effort in all kinds of ways, according to Athletic Trainer Lisa Camillone. "Everyone put on their Sunday best," she said. "Facilities and security staff couldn't have been more supportive. They were everywhere, excellent, and friendly." Camillone reports that staff from around the college volunteered their time to man the ticket and t-shirt booths.

Volunteers included Liz Bondurant, Kristin Callahan, Bruce Chorba, Eileen Curristine, Martha Czop, Hector Dimas, Tim Fitzpatrick, Jackie Franz, Michael Glass, Raquel Hernandez, Amy Immordino, Laurene Jones, Al Leister, Peggy Livingston and Nancy Sobala. Jim Franklin and Peter Horne served as hosts for visiting teams, along with five other community members, who advised visitors on navigating the region.

Students also played an important role. Five soccer players kept game statistics, while members of the baseball team served as ball runners on the sidelines. Radio student Matt Nelson announced the quarterfinal game for Barton Community College that was streamed live to Kansas via the Internet, while Television students taped the semifinal and championship games for the MCCC cable network.

The news from the tournament flowed flawlessly, thanks to volunteer sports writer Craig Haley, who posted game recaps within minutes of each game's finish, and Mike Dill, who posted professional quality photos of the action. Web designer Tim Fitzpatrick created a new design for the Athletics website prior to the tournament, giving the site a polished, professional look.

The event was also a long overdue opportunity to honor the 1963 men's soccer team, the first ever to win a national title for Mercer. Two team members have passed away and two went unfound, but 12 came from different parts of the country to participate in a halftime ceremony on Nov. 19 with their coach Stan Dlugosz, who beamed like a proud father. Their accomplishments from that very special season were recounted as team members were presented with a plaque that will hang in the PE Building. Co-captains Jim Dill, an All-American forward, and Ron Hoch, sweeper, recalled the title win as a highlight of their lives. Both men earned soccer scholarships to play at the University of Maryland and have now retired from long careers in law enforcement.

Simone reports that the Conference Center laid out a beautiful buffet for the group banquet, held on Nov. 18. "There were about 150 attendees and the Conference Center staff handled it all really well," he said. "Coaches told me it was the best ever." As part of the banquet, the NJCAA inducted former players and coaches into its Hall of Fame. Two MCCC players, Stern John and Kante Daoude, were among the honorees.


Athletics staff members worked tirelessly to make the tournament a success. Pictured, front row from left, are Lisa Camillone and Erin Cahill; back row from left, Ryan Zegarski, Matt Wolski, Mike DeAngelis and Director John Simone.
Television students filmed the semifinal and final games for airing on the college's cable network.
At a ceremony on Nov. 19, Mercer recognized its first national champs, the 1963 Vikings, coached by Stan Dlugosz, far left.
Sports writer Craig Haley covered every game, providing recaps for the college website and in-depth articles for local newspapers. Here he interviews a goal scorer from Georgia Perimeter after the team's quarterfinal win over Essex CC.
Selling tournament tee shirts and sweatshirts were, from left, Raquel Hernandez, Andrea Camillone and Mike DeAngelis.
MCCC staff members manned the press booth at the soccer complex, while Essex fans cheered for their team.

For recaps of all tournament games, click here.

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