The Richland College men’s soccer team, the 2018 national champions, traveled to Herkimer, NY, this past weekend to participate in the 2019 NJCAA Division III Men’s Soccer Championship. Despite cold and sometimes snowy weather conditions throughout the weekend, the Thunderducks prevailed and competed in the championship game Nov. 17 against home team Herkimer College, emerging victorious with a 2-1 victory and an eighth national championship.
This title is the first for Richland College head coach Raul Herrera, a former assistant coach who stepped into the role midseason when former head coach Sean Worley retired. Herrera is also a Richland College alumnus and was the starting goalkeeper on the 2006 national championship team.
The championship game started with an opening score by Toi Yamaoka, assisted by forward Takayoshi Wyatt. The score stayed 1-0 until the 76th minute of the game, when Herkimer player Mupenzi Irakiza had a game-tying score. Despite the Herkimer Generals dominating play for the final 15 minutes of the game, the Thunderducks scored on a successful penalty kick by Alvara Tudanca with just two seconds left, clinching the title and ending the season undefeated, with an overall record of 18-0-1.
The championship tournament began Thursday, Nov. 14, with Richland winning 4-0 against Sussex County Community College in the quarterfinals. During the semifinal round Nov. 15, Richland cruised to a 5-0 victory against Genesee Community College, which secured their spot in the title game. This was the third time that Richland and Herkimer have competed against each other for the national championship.
Richland defender Mariano Fazio was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, and Wyatt was named Most Valuable Offensive Player. Herrera received Coach of the Tournament honors. In addition, Richland players Sergio Baena and Henry Sach were named to the All-Tournament Team.
Richland College has won the men’s soccer national championship in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2018 and now 2019. A ring ceremony to honor the 2019 team will be scheduled this coming spring.
For a recap of the 2019 championship, visit https://www.njcaa.org/sports/msoc/2019-20/div3/national_championship/championship_recap. Additional information about the Richland College men’s soccer team is available at https://www.richlandcollege.edu/sliferlc/athletics/mensoccer/pages/default.aspx.
The Richland College men’s and women’s soccer teams won their respective National Junior College Athletic Association Division III National Championships last weekend, marking only the third time in NJCAA Division III history that a school has won the men’s and women’s national titles in the same year–records also held by Richland College in 2004 and 2006.
The men’s team traveled to Herkimer, NY, where they defeated Sussex 4-0 on Nov. 8, Genesee 7-3 on Nov. 9 and Nassau 6-1 on Nov. 11. This final win gave the men’s team their seventh national title. Their final 6-1 score against Nassau was also the largest margin of victory in a Division III championship match in NJCAA history.
The women’s team traveled to Rockford, Ill., where they defeated Holyoke 9-0 on Nov. 8, Brookdale 5-1 on Nov. 9 and Delta 1-0 on Nov. 11. This is the women’s team’s fourth national title.
Mohamed Sesay, men’s forward, was named the Tournament MVP after scoring five goals and recording an assist during the span of three games. Sesay and Mariano Fazio, defender, and Lucio Martinez, midfielder, earned spots on the All-Tournament Team. In addition, Coach Sean Worley was named Coach of the Tournament.
Miranda Ibarra, women’s defender, was named Tournament MVP, Eva Mulligan was named Offensive MVP and Dynastee Cain was named Defensive MVP. Additionally, forward Asia Revelry was named to the All-Tournament Team and Coach Scott Toups was named Coach of the Tournament.
Both Richland College men’s and women’s soccer teams have winning reputations and have traveled across the country to play in exhibition and postseason games in places like California, Kansas, New York, Chicago, New Jersey and Missouri. The men’s team has seven national championships from 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2016 and 2018. For more information, visit www.richlandcollege.edu/sliferlc/athletics/mensoccer/pages/default.aspx. The women’s team has four national championships from 2004, 2006, 2009 and 2018. For more information, visit www.richlandcollege.edu/sliferlc/athletics/womensoccer/pages/default.aspx.