CRANFORD – On Sunday, Nov. 15, in Herkimer, New York, the Union County College men’s soccer team battled Richland College to claim the National Junior College Athletic Association Division III, National Championship. The Owls defeated Richland College, of Dallas, Texas, by a score of 1-0.
At the half, there still was no score, but Richland had outshot UCC 5 to 1. However, it was Kemar Richards one goal in the second half proved to be the game-winning goal. A solid defense was lead by freshman goalkeeper Shelson Dorleans who kept the Thunder Ducks out of the Owl’s goal for the rest of the game. Union completed their season with an 11 game winning streak, including six straight play-off victories.
The Men’s soccer team has advanced to the national championship for four of the last seven seasons. The Owls lost to Richland in the 2003 championship game and in the 2007 semi-finals. Head coach Alex Louis said, “The team was determined to be national champs this season after coming so close in the past.” This is the first national championship win for the soccer team and for any UCC team.
At the end of the tournament, UCC goalkeeper Shelson Dorleans was named the Tournament MVP. Kemar Richards, who scored UCC’s winning goal, along with sophomore Patrick Osei-Frimpong and freshman Michael Opong, were all named to the All-Tournament Team. Coach Alex Louis was named the National Championship All-Tournament Coach.
The Owls path to the national championship tournament began with their defeat of County College of Morris on Oct. 28, and becoming the NJCAA Division III, Region XIX Champions. The Owls won the game by a score of 3-1. This is the first time since 2007 that the team has won the Region XIX Championship.
On Nov. 7, the UCC Owls went on to win the District 4 championship game in Largo, Maryland. The team played Prince George Community College and won by a score of 2-1, to take the title of District 4 Champions. This game avenged a September 6th loss to Prince George by a score of 3-1. UCC’s record at that time in September was no wins and two losses.
By becoming the District 4 Champions, the Owls then advanced to the national tournament held in Herkimer, New York this past weekend. On Saturday, Nov. 14, the team played and defeated Nassau Community College by a score of 2-1. This win allowed the Owls to advance to the final game and be named the National Champions.
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